It’s been a long time since I’ve read for fun. After high school an college I was pretty burnt out on books. The only reading I’ve really enjoyed since then has mostly been on the internet.
But when we moved to Juneau I found myself with a lot more time on my hands. I had quit my job when we left Fairbanks to be a stay-at-home mom in Juneau, and well, since we didn’t really know anyone here my social life wasn’t what it used to be. So I rediscovered the library. Did you know they don’t use card catalogs anymore? Seriously! You look stuff up on the computer now!
I checked out a couple popular books to get me started. My goal was to finish them by their due dates. I set aside time to read after dinner and after Brevin went to bed. Without the pressure of reading for a test or paper I really enjoyed myself. I didn’t feel like I was making myself read at all.
Once I had gotten to know some other moms here in Juneau I decided to invite them to start a new book club. Turns out they were all on the same page (hahah! reading pun!). Most of them hadn’t read for fun in a really long time but liked the idea of reading books and discussing them as a group over dinner.
We started with The Help. The movie was about to come out and we thought it’d be fun to read the book, see the movie together and then have our book club meeting. That meant two outings! Yay!
Then we decided to line up our reading list for the next year. We each chose two books we were interested in reading. Then we mixed them all up and randomly selected titles to determine order. I did this by writing all the titles down on pieces of paper and pulling them out of a container.
I started a Facebook group for our new book club, Ladies and Lit, and posted our reading list as a doc. It’s been a really great way for us to talk to each other. We talk about the books and availability for upcoming meetings, but mostly we talk about the other stuff going on in our lives. Our monthly dinners have become great bonding sessions and now we’re more than just a book club. We’re an organized group of friends.
But since starting Ladies and Lit I’ve found all kinds of cool internet resources for book clubs. A website called GoodReads will give you recommendations based on your reviews. You can even sign in with Facebook and follow your other Facebook friends on GoodReads to see what they are reading and enjoying. You can add books to your “shelves” and find them for purchase online when you are ready to get your own copy.
It’s easy to find discussion questions on almost any book. LitLovers is another online community that provides book reviews along with additional information about books and authors and discussion questions.
When it comes time to meet, I like to set up a Facebook event with an image of that month’s book cover that I snagged from the internet. Then we have a separate place to discuss the details of that event and a place to RSVP. Then I pull up the discussion questions on my phone to read at dinner.
The most challenging part of keeping Ladies and Lit organized has been finding times when we can all get together. We all have really small children and husbands on different schedules. Also, by coincidence, more than half of us (myself not included) are pregnant and scheduled to deliver any day! So we’ll see how we hold it together with a group of newborns in the mix!
But, whatever is going on in our lives, it has been nice to take those mommy breaks to read and get together for some adult discussion. If you haven’t picked up a book in a while, I invite you to rediscover reading too!