If You Can’t Find a Book Group, Do-It-Yourself

For years, I whined about joining a book group but the ones I knew of were either too far, met at inconvenient times, the group was too large or too small, or there was someone in it I couldn’t stand. I wanted it to be just right.


I love to read, but am not quick about it. I swoon over good writing and will spend 20 minutes reading the same page over and over to savor the images it creates. Sometimes I will read a page out loud, or copy it into my notebook to read it again later.  Occasionally, a week or two will go by and I won’t pick up anything to read at all. I didn’t want to be hounded by having a fixed once a month date.

Well, when you want to do something your the right way, do it yourself. It was easy. I just invited people who were at the top of my favorites list and asked them if they wanted to start a book group. How often will we meet, they asked. Oh, maybe every six weeks or so, I answered, we’ll figure it out as we go along.


That was 7 years ago. We meet for brunch on Sunday mornings and take turns hosting the group. We also agreed to share leadership, so whoever is the host decides which book the group will read. She will also do any research necessary and prepare discussion questions to keep the conversation going and attempt, usually in vain, to keep the group focused. We have a tendency to laugh. I mean A LOT. In fact, there have been times when one or more of the members have not finished reading a book or even picked it up but come to Book Group anyway because we enjoy each other so much. And as our list of finished books has grown, so has our friendship.


Over time, our collective lives have mirrored the books we have read: There have been weddings, births, abandonments, death, divorce, illness, depression, relocations, murders, job losses.
      

We have become our own favorite book group.                                               

Back row from left: Me (as always, terrible photo)
Pat, Lillian, Ann, Suzanne, Wilma, Pat F.
In front: Molly & Amy
 Here is a list of the books we’ve read so far. Many thanks to Molly for so faithfully keeping notes!
DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YAYA SISTERHOOD by Rebecca Wells
THE HOURS by Michael Cunningham
ANGLE OF REPOSE by Wallace Stegner
THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold
BLESSINGS by Anna Quindlan
SECRET LIFE OF BEES by Sue Monk Kidd
LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel
THE LAST GIRLS by Lee Smith
THE DAVINCI CODE by Dan Brown
SPARROW by Mary Doria  Russell
COLD MOUNTAIN by John Frazier
TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE by Mitch Albom
THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL by Phillippa Gregory
THE SISTERS: THE SAGA OF THE MITFORD FAMILY by Mary S. Lovell
TRUE FIRES by Susan McCarthy
THE KITE RUNER by Khaled Hosseini
UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN by Jon Krakauer
THE KNOWN WORLD by Edward Jones
ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE  by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
SAVING FISH FROM DROWNING by Amy Tan
SNOWFLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN  by Lisa See
WHITE TEETH  by Zadie Smith
DEATH IN THE GARDEN  by Elizabeth Ironside
ONE THOUSAND WHITE WOMEN by Jim Fergus
MEMORY KEEPER’S DAUGHTER by Kim Edwards                                       
CERTAIN WOMEN  by  Madeline L’Engle
LEVI’S WILL by W. Dale Cramer
THE SPIRIT CATCHES YOU AND YOU FALL DOWN  by Anne Fadiman
THE GLASS CASTLE  by Jeanette Walls
BIRDS IN FALL  by Brad Kessler
PUCCINI’S GHOSTS  by Morag Joss
A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS  by Khaled Hosseini
MIDDLESEX   by Jeffrey Eugenides
THE THIRTEENTH TALE  by Diane Setterfield
PAVILION OF WOMEN  by Pearl Buck
THE CLOUD ATLAS  by Liam Callanan
WATER FOR ELEPHANTS  by Sarah Gruen
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO  by Stieg Larsson
MOLOKAI   by  Alan Brennert
THE SENATOR’ WIFE   by Sue Miller
EMPIRE FALLS   by Richard Russo           
WHAT’S BRED IN THE BONE   by Robertson Davies
PEOPLE OF THE BOOK   by Geraldine Brooks
THE SUGAR QUEEN  by Sarah Addison Allen
THE GUERNSEY LITERARY & POTATO PEEL SOCIETY  by Shaffer and Barrows
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2 Responses to If You Can’t Find a Book Group, Do-It-Yourself

  1. That's a wonderful idea. When you can't find something that suits you start your own.
    Wish I lived closer I'd join in a minute, sounds like my kind of group. There are so many good books on your list (I've read a lot of them too). Now that the winter is settling in you should have more time to enjoy your reading.
    How did you like the Glass Castle? I was thinking of getting it and the (sort of) sequel,Half Broke Horses.

  2. deejbrown says:

    Arleen: Glass Castle was one of my favorite books & I am on the list at the library for Half Broke Horses.
    You are MORE than welcome anytime in our book group. We have had guest appearances and I would love to have you!

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