A BLOGGER, A BOOK CLUB and A FAVORITE INDIE

I remember my first tweets with Jennifer Lawrence of JENN’S BOOKSHELVES.  It was winter, 2010.  A blizzard had slammed into Washington, DC, and Jennifer posted a tweet commenting about the white outside her window.  A longtime resident of the city myself, I tweeted back @jennsbookshelf. We exchanged a few more comments and that was that.

Then The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove was released some six months later, and Jennifer posted a review.  She wrote, “I can’t recommend this book enough to you. If there is one book you  must buy this summer, this should be it. I will forever cherish the gift Gilmore has given to me, through the characters in this book and her overwhelmingly powerful prose.”

Of course, this caught my attention.  And of course, I loved it!  As did my my mother!  I posted a tweet and thanked her for her generous words, and it was only then that the real conversation began – one that has touched on race, prejudice, interracial relationships, children, and yes, the weather!

As a lover of books, it’s not a surprise as to how many book clubs I’ve belonged to over the years.  When Susan asked me to write about my favorite book club experience, it really was hard to limit it to just one. That said, I opted to write about the book club I moderate at my local independent bookstore, One More Page Books.

This book club doesn’t have a fancy name, it’s pretty simple: OMP Book Club.  That’s where the simplicity ends.  At each of our meetings, we have approximately 8-10 members joining us, the perfect size group for a book club discussion, in my opinion.  Our group is very dynamic; we have women of all ages and from all different backgrounds.  Some are single, some married, some widowed, some divorced.  Despite our different backgrounds, we are all able to come together and discuss something we all have in common: the love of books.

In the five months we’ve been together, we’ve discussed some pretty outstanding books, including Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin, Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen, Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt , These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf and Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.

My favorite experience would have to be our first meeting, the one in which we discussed These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf.  I admit, I was impressed with the turnout!  We announced the book club and gave customers just two weeks to pick up and read the book.  I’ll admit it, I prepared myself for failure.  I was certain that it would be just me and Eileen, the store owner, discussing the book.  When eight people showed up, I was floored. Considering the store had only been open for a few months I thought this was a tremendous turnout!

Since then, our book club has continued to grow, not only in size but in the friendships and relationships that have blossomed over the past few months.  It’s great to come to an event at the store and see other book club members in a social setting, or to talk to one another on Facebook or Twitter. It’s a bond that I hope continues to blossom; I am forever thankful to this group of women.  They give me an outlet to share and talk about books that I love. They trust my selection in books and I’m always impressed about the lively discussion we have surrounding each of the books.  They allow me to see other perspectives on the books we discuss, viewpoints I would have never discovered otherwise.

Now that Borders bookstores are closing, now is the time to take advantage of the wealth of independent bookstores many of us have in our community.  It is in these stores that readers are introduced to a completely unique community of readers and have the opportunity to form relationships like the one I have found at One More Page Books.

Posted August 16, 2011 at 7:06 am · 7 comments · Leave a Comment

Comments

  1. Jenn's Bookshelves, August 16th, 2011, 7:11 am

    Susan, Thank you for giving me the opportunity to rave about my book club at my favorite indie bookstore!
  2. bermudaonion (Kathy), August 16th, 2011, 7:27 am

    Wonderful post - Jenn is certainly passionate about books and One More Page!
  3. Erika Robuck, August 16th, 2011, 11:31 am

    This is such a sweet post about book clubs and indie book stores. I love to read about people with a genuine love of books. Great post! And your book sounds fantastic, Susan!
  4. Shonda, August 16th, 2011, 5:46 pm

    I am a book club member and agree with Jenn. I've been looking for a book club for awhile and was thrilled when I heard One More Page Books chose These Things Hidden for their first selection. I love that the members are so diverse and we've read books that are outside of my comfort zone. Jenn is a great facilitator and welcomes discussion from the members. I look forward to the first Tuesday of each month!
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Susan Gregg Gilmore