Thursday, September 15, 2011

What Are You Reading?

I am lucky enough to be part of a book club. When I moved to Chicago, I asked around to see if any friends were interested in forming a book club. Everyone responded enthusiastically and our little club grew and grew. We are now approaching our second anniversary and I can't wait to see what the years ahead will bring for our club. In the last two years we've welcomed new babies, celebrated engagements, weddings, new jobs, promotions, home ownership, and career changes. We have a great mix of intelligent, thoughtful, wonderful women, all with interesting jobs and great stories. I feel so lucky to know each of them. I thought I would share what we've been doing in our book club in case you have an interest in starting your own. If you belong to a book club, I hope you'll share what has worked for you!

1. We meet once a month. Every third Monday of the month we rotate houses and travel to different parts of the city for our book discussion. Each December we have a holiday party and everyone signs up for the month they want to host.

2. We read one book a month. The host gets to choose our next book. The book can be fiction, nonfiction, whatever they choose. Our only rule is that the book has to be available in paperback. In the last year we've chosen one long book to read during the months of November and December. We've also recently thrown one additional book a year into the mix. This book is chosen collectively as a group and is a longer, more challenging book that requires more time to read. Everyone is given a whole year to read the book on their own time when it works for them and the book is then discussed in December.

3. The host is in charge. The host welcomes everyone into their home and plans what they'd like to make for food. Initially I thought we'd keep it simple with dessert or a snack, but everyone loves to cook, so the food has gotten more elaborate as we've gone on. Everyone is a tremendous host and the food becomes something everyone looks forward to as much as the discussion itself.

4. We keep the book discussion pretty low-key. Some books lend themselves to more intense debate, but we always have a great discussion and it's usually pretty relaxed. Sometimes I bring along an envelope of printed questions in case the discussion begins to stall out or we get stuck.

I've included the books we've read thus far. I can't wait to see what we'll read next!

Howards End
The Shadow of the Wind
Everything is Illuminated
In the Woods
Never Let Me Go
My Life in France
You Shall Know Our Velocity
Revolutionary Road
City of Thieves
Let the Great World Spin
Reservation Blues
Room: A Novel
The Transit of Venus
Little Bee
The Blind Assassin
A Visit From the Goon Squad
The Lost City of Z
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
In the Eye of the Sun

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