Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Tale of Two (Most Excellent) Book Clubs

[L to R: Michelle, Kristi, Dina, Me, Evelyn, Brenda and Jeanne--who suggested my book to the club and sent me this picture, too--thanks! Gayle was also there but had to leave early.]

After having spent the month of November visiting five truly wonderful book clubs, I've concluded that it would be unbelievably hard for an author not to LOVE the experience. I mean, you go to it, and awaiting you are a bunch of people gathered together who have (A) read your book, (B) invited you to visit with them because they want to talk with you about it and (C) come prepared to feed you all kinds of amazing things. See what I'm sayin'? Unequivocal awesomeness!

At the book club pictured at the top, I got to chat with seven fabulous women who live just around the corner from me!! A couple of the members I've known for several years, while others I've only seen in passing until recently, but it was such a treat to spend the morning with them. We talked about books, families and Thanksgiving. They shared their thoughts on According to Jane and asked questions about the story and the writing process. And we nibbled on too many scrumptious things to count :). I left feeling I'd made some new friends, and I hoped they'd enjoyed the few hours we spent together half as much as I did. Thanks, ladies!

Just two days later, my good friends Karen, Joyce and Sarah, took me on a hilarious and much-anticipated roadtrip to Valparaiso, Indiana for Gloria's (Karen's mom's) book club. We'd been planning on doing this for over a year, so when the day finally came, I was incredibly excited. We stopped for coffee, of course--potent and delicious. We visited a pottery sale and bought some great Christmas presents. We went on a tour of Karen's high-school haunts. (SO fun and, oh, the stories!) And then we had a delightful afternoon of tea and conversation with Gloria and her friends--members of a book club that has been going strong for over 15 years. What a lovely, gracious group of women. And just look at Gloria's beautifully set tables for the Tea Party she hosted for us:

[Pictured: (Top L) Charlene, Carolyn, Suzan, Linda; (Lower L) Sarah, Joyce, Gloria; (Right) Judy, Kathleen, Elene and Karen]

I'm still regretting not having my camera along for the earliest book clubs I attended. My only excuse is that I was new at it, and I simply didn't realize how much I'd want to have snapshots of the occasion. (Maybe I'll be lucky enough to get invited back. ;) I will say, while I've never been a book-club member myself, I could really see how much fun these groups had together, and I was left with the temptation not only to join a group at once, but also to bake far more often...

Thanks to everyone who made November such a fun book-clubbing month for me. It was truly inspiring to talk with you all!

For those of you out there who are now (or used to be) in a book club, what were some of your favorite book-club reading selections??


Pamela Cayne said...

What wonderful events (and even more wonderful friends!) Sounds like you had a great November--and I'm not even going to mention how very jealous I am about the pottery sale.

Marilyn Brant said...

Pamela~Oh! Didn't know you were a pottery gal, too--you would've LOVED this sale :). It was in the artist's home (Karen and Gloria had been there before and knew the family), and there were a couple of rooms just filled with his handiwork--from cute dipping bowls to teapots to large serving platters in gorgeous reds or black and teal... I could've stayed there all afternoon. (So, it's only about an hour's drive from Chicago--am I tempting you to come back yet??)

Edie Ramer said...

The book clubs sound lovely! Marilyn, I live in southeastern Wis., I think about two hours away from Chicago. Not a casual drive, but not too horrible.

Heather said...

This is the first time I wished I lived in Indiana (except for right after I watched "Hoosiers" years ago!) Those book clubs sounded like great fun, although you had me at "pottery sale".

Marilyn Brant said...

Edie~Wisconsin is my home state! I grew up and went to college (undergrad) there, and my parents still live there, too, so I get to visit sometimes :-). There's so much I love about WI that I could write pages and pages of favorites!

Heather~Another pottery girl--yay! My friend Karen collects some of the artist's pieces, so I've admired hers for a long time and was thrilled to get a few of my own. And getting to go to book clubs, too, really made November fun ;).

Hope everyone reading this has a wonderful weekend!!!

Robin said...

Thanks for sharing pictures and details! What wonderful memories you've made this year, Marilyn! I always have a smile on my face after reading your blog.

I hope you have a great weekend too!

Marilyn Brant said...

Robin, what a sweetie you are! Thank you, as always, for your kind comments and for the weekend wishes :).

Pamala Knight said...

That looks and sounds like it was a wonderful experience Marilyn. I'm sure that the book club members were excited to have you there so they could pick your brain and hear your (and your characters) motivations.

So glad you have a great time.

Marilyn Brant said...

Pamala, it was a pretty cool experience :). Thanks for your words of wisdom a month ago when I was asking for advice!