In da' (Book) Club.
A few times I have posted on Instagram mentioning a little bit about the books I'm reading or the book clubs I have been a part of, and I get a lot of questions about what we are reading, who's in the club, etc. I figured it wouldn't hurt to add a little post here with some books that I have loved.
First, a little about da clubs:
The book clubs I have been a part of have become gatherings where, yes, we talk about the book, but we talk so much more about how we related to the book, how it resembled our lives or whatever may be. There's usually tea or wine involved, and I've made and become closer with friends because of these gatherings.
For my first book club back in the Fall, I sent out a message to a wide net of various women that I have met in Victoria that I thought would like to go through The Artist's Way. Our initial group of 12 dwindled to 8 and for the most part, we all arrived each Monday evening for 13 weeks. That was intense for most people's schedules, but its what that particular book called for as it was more of a workbook. It was a process. It became an anchor to our lives at that time and we all arrived to witness and listen to each other's experiences over tea. I cannot recommend a gathering like this enough.
This other book club I am in now is a smaller group, there are 4 of us, and we gather once a month at someone's house for dinner and a significant amount of wine. So far, the books we have been reading are memoirs, and some we have LOVED and some we have not loved. But we get through them and gather all the same anyways.
Everything I know about Love by Dolly Alderton
- This isn't released in Canada yet so you have to order from Amazon and wait 3 weeks for it to arrive but the wait is soooo worth it. I found myself laughing out loud while out for my weekly "book & beer" date. [Sidenote: It's oddly enjoyable to be a single woman in a bar laughing out loud to her own self. Could have something to do with remaining single...?] But to be honest, when I was coming to the end of it, I was getting an anxious sadness that I wouldn't have this lovely, brash and shockingly relatable book to pick up anymore. Go get it.
The Power by Naomi Alderton
After I finished this book, I sat on the couch marveling at it all and wanted to talk to someone about it immediately to unpack and dissect everything that happened. And at the same time, I was speechless. This is a fiction novel, but oh my gosh please please please go pick this up. And then email me and tell me if your mind was blown by the last page.
The Witches of New York by Ami Mckay
I read this book every Fall. Its incredibly well written and I am PRAYING that it is made into a series. Its set in 1880's New York and follows three women who own a little herbal shop where women come to them for remedies and readings. There is sooo much more to it. Has a sinister side, as any woman who was considered a 'witch' during that time was not exactly accepted...
Another historical fiction book set in the '60s during the revolution. Loved this one, I think I ought to read it again. I read it years ago so the best I can give you is a review posted from the Penguin Random House website: "Acid critique of millennial entitlement, videogame addiction, and clueless academia; tender meditation on childhood friendship, first loves, and maternal abandonment; handy tutorial on ’60s radicalism and Norwegian ghost mythology: Nathan Hill’s magnificently overstuffed debut contains multitudes, and then some. . . . the story surges, ricocheting from sleepy ’80s suburbia and the 1968 DNC riots to WWII-era Norway, post-9/11 Iraq, and beyond".
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
I've read this a few times. My mind fell in love with the way the main character threaded her thoughts together and spoke about life as a young woman living in the southern states during the civil rights movement. It's one of the books where the movie wasn't totally disappointing, but please read the book.
The Lost Vintage
Apparently, I like historical fiction books. This one goes back and forth from modern day France to Nazi-occupied France and tells the story of a winemakers family secret. I loved this book and I was always very thirsty when I read it. If you do this as a club, it would only seem fitting to drink French wine while you read and gather.
All The Bids in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders
I loved this book but I have a hard time summarizing this book for you so here's a brief Good Reads review:
"Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn't expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one's peers and families. But now they're both adults, living in the hipster mecca of San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who's working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world's magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world's ever-growing ailments."
A House in the Sky, By Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbet
I was floored by this book. I read it in 2013 (I think) and I still remember being captivated on page 12. So captivated, that a man I had a massive crush on had walked into the coffee shop I was sitting in, sat down across from me at my table, and was there for about 2 minutes before I had even realized. This is a heartbreaking memoir and so powerfully written that the imagery of it is still in my mind all these years later. Its the resilient, courageous and shocking story of a Calgary woman who traveled the world as a journalist and then was then kidnapped and held for ransom in Somalia.
The Artists Way by Julia Cameron
A classic. Find this at any used book store and jump into it. Find a friend or a few to do this with you. Trust me. You will get SO much more out of it. The biggest 'ask' of this workbook is that you write 'morning pages'- three pages of unedited, free flow writing every day. Every day. You'll resist it, you'll hate it, you'll find your groove in it, you'll be totally surprised by it, you just may love it.
Inheritance, Dani Shapiro
Okay, this is the one that we didn't love, however, I still cruised through it quite quickly. The funny thing is that I had actually just sent off my Ancestry DNA and got my results back in while I had started reading this. It's written as the author goes through the process of finding out that her deceased father is not her biological father, that her entire Jewish history is not actually "hers" and that in some cases with the insane power of the internet, you can find your biological father in 36 hours and send a quick email of hello. The parts of this book that I loved the most was learning about the historical documents for donor sperm and the very unconventional medical practices of pregnancy in the '60s.
Tips for organizing a book club:
1- Pick a book.
2- Tell some friends that you want to read it, would they like to gather occasionally?
3- Pick a date to finish the book and get together. If hosting at home is too much, meet at a pub or something like that.
4- Start a message thread with your clubbers and put cute emojis in the name of the thread 📚💕🍷
5- Read. Show up. Talk about it. Pick another book and a date.
It's that easy.