Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Start a Book Club!

Have you ever read a book, and you were so excited about it that you couldn't help but talk about it to everyone you met?

But no one else cared. Not that they didn't care about you, but they had not read the book and didn't understand why you were excited.

I remember when I first discovered the fun of discussing books. In my teens, one of my brothers gained a love of reading. Both of us enjoyed reading classic fiction. When I saw my brother start to read a book, I would choose to read the same book just for the fun of discussing the book with him. Sherlock Holmes, Great Expectations and The Prisoner of Zenda still hold fond memories because of those book discussions.

I was fortunate enough to marry a man who enjoys reading. The joys of a book are double when shared with a good friend.

Last winter, a couple from our church asked if anyone would be interested in starting a book club. It took  about fifteen seconds for Ed and I to decide to join, and it has not been a disappointment.

Our book club is very loosely organized. We take turns choosing a book, which means we have all been stretched to read books outside of our normal comfort zone. We have one month to read the book and then get together for an evening to discuss the book.

Usually the evening's host or hostess prepares some discussion questions, but since our group knows each other well, it doesn't take long and we are into a thick discussion, complete with lots of good-natured disagreements, conspiracy theories, and laughter.

If you have ever considered being part of a book club, go for it! Send out a couple emails and see if any of your friends have the same desire. Our group consists of couples, singles, males, and females with a wide range of reading genres, but you could narrow the focus of the group to only females, non-fiction, classics, or whatever. For Ed and I, it has been a fun date night and enjoyable way to interact with friends and grow.

Our group took a field trip to Johnstown, Pennsylvania after reading about the Johnstown Flood and ate homemade egg rolls when reading about the persecuted church in China. Be creative, have fun, and enjoy reading as a community activity. (The photos are of Ed and I at book club meetings. Sorry I'm not showing any of the other beautiful people in our book club. I want to be sensitive to those who don't like their photo on the web.)

Okay, if I read this post, I'd be asking, "so what books have you read?" Here is the list. We only meet in the winter for about five months.

Last year:
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Robe by Lloyd Douglas
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough
Safely Home by Randy Alcorn

This year:
These Strange Ashes by Elisabeth Elliot
Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
Radical by David Platt
Silent Tears by Kay Bratt

Have you ever participated in a book club?

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  1. it sounds like a wonderful thing to do together as a couple!!!
    what I would like to know is WHEN do you read? i struggle to find time to read my Bible... let alone a book. i feel like i'm needed every single moment of the day. after my children are in bed, i spend a little bit of time with Jeremy, straighten up the house, and get a shower, then i collapse in bed. then start the craziness all over again at 5:45 the next morning.
    great pictures of you guys Gina. thanks for your Christmas picture and letter too!

  2. I have not, but think it would be so much fun! I love how you take field trips and plan meals according to what you're reading at your meetings. It sounds like a wonderful way to incorporate date nights. :0)

  3. Bek-
    You are at a tough spot with lots of little ones to keep after. There were a few years there that I didn't read much either.

    I often read for a few minutes after my Bible reading in the morning, if the children are not up yet. I sometimes read for a half hour during the children's rest time. Occasionally, I'll read before bed. Once in a while, I'll have a long Sunday afternoon to read.

    I'm not saying that I use my time in the best possible way, or that I shouldn't do something other than read, but reading is like breathing to me. I can't NOT read!

  4. I have never participated in a book club but it does sound like fun. I enjoy reading and so do my girls. Enjoy your day and God bless.

  5. I love to hear what others are reading! Lately I haven't found time to read, but thats not to say a stack of books is not beside my bed. Right now reading some Eugenia Price, not my usual pick of reading, but am enjoying them. Occasionally I have joined bookclub

  6. Hi Gina, I recently discovered your blog and am enjoying it very much. Your book club read one of my all-time favorites: To Kill a Mockingbird.

    In my own book club, we also take turns choosing books and I've found that I've read some that I wouldn't have given a second glance to, otherwise. It's a great way to become exposed books that might be outside our comfort zone. We typically allow 6-7 weeks to read the book then serve food at the gathering that somehow relates to the book. It's been a lot of fun!

    P.S. I thoroughly enjoyed your post regarding your life as a Mennonite as well as the kefir post. I'm going to try to find some grains and have a go at making my own. Thanks for all that you share!

  7. Yes, I'm in a book club and I LOVE it. It stretches me. My husband is not in it (he was invited, though), but it works out very conveniently for childcare at this point :) He usually ends up looking at my book club books anyway.

    As for when I read, I always read for a little bit before bed and always Sunday afternoons on the couch.

  8. I've never been part of a book club- sounds like fun! Unless you count my husband and I reading books together. I know what you mean about not being able to not read! Last evening in our children's reading curriculum I saw this verse from Timothy: "Till I come, give attendance to reading." I told my family that we sure take that verse seriously!

  9. Oh yes, reading has always been a favorite pasttime for me too! I take books with me everywhere and snatch time to read whenever possible, even waiting for someone at the store is an opportunity to pull out my Bible or book I am reading at the time. I am a flashlight reader, reading in the dark at bedtime so as not to disturb my husband. When the book hits my face I know it's time to turn the little flashlight off and go to sleep! :) I enjoy non-fiction testimonies the best, they are true faith builders and so encouraging, showing God's faithfulness. Thanks for sharing the list, I am going to write them down and choose a few.

  10. Hi Gina, I recently discovered your blog and am enjoying it very much. Your book club read one of my all-time favorites: To Kill A Mockingbird. I wish Harper Lee had written more books.

    My own book club members also take turns choosing books, which has allowed us to read some that we might not have given a second glance, otherwise. Some of the books have surprised me with how much I actually like them. At our meetings we serve a meal or appetizers/desserts that in some way relates to the book, which adds to the fun.

    P.S. I found your post regarding your life as a Mennonite so interesting. Thank you for sharing that. Also, after reading your post about making kefir, I'm going to have a go at making my own as soon as I locate some grains!

  11. You folk don't know me...I just came across your blog. I think you'd enjoy reading "The Heavenly Man" a true story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun, with Paul Hattaway.


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