There is nothing like a Book Club, and the one I currently read with is small and phenomenal. The extent to which our exceptional leader researches the authors, locations, incidents, concurrent world history, and nonfiction characters never ceases to amaze us. Her dining room table is a tableau straight from the book, leaving just enough room for the potluck dinner we bring. Recipes derived from the book, of course. The first one to use the powder room insists the rest of us go to check out the quotes or photos rimming the mirror set above the pedestal sink and those that our hostess has taped onto the back of the bathroom door, which faces the commode.
Over the years, I have been lucky to have been a guest at numerous book clubs in the Metropolitan Detroit area. Many, like mine, share lunch or dinner before the discussion, each member bringing a dish mentioned in the book. Next to fan mail, Amazon and Goodreads reviews, sharing several hours with my readers is the most inspiring and uplifting way to feed my muse.
Writing is a solitary and brain-wracking task. Many authors often take a year to write the book that you might read in one sitting. Day after day, it's just us and our keyboards or legal pads and pens. We slog on, often with no feedback other than from that pesky little editor on our shoulders. The one we should ignore. The solitariness is the main reason I love opportunities to share time with my readers, whether in person, by phone or Skype. I've been honored and amazed to hear from you that you've devoured my books -- especially Unto the Daughters -- in one fell swoop. There is no greater joy for an author than to hear that. During book club visits, I usually share some backstory on the book the club has just read and then suggest that they "do their thing" as if I wasn't there. Some ask me to lead the discussion, but most allow me the joy of being the spider on the wall listening in. I welcome comments and criticism. Constructive criticism was a lesson learned in grade school under the tutelage of the Dominican nuns who sparked my love of writing. How else can I learn to better my craft than by listening to the honest assessment of my work by people who love to read?
While I have forgotten to take photos with many book clubs over the years, mainly because we've been so engrossed in talking books that I forget to get a group shot, I do have some memories to share. If I have visited with your club and you have photos that are missing from my collection, please email them to me and I'll be happy to add them here. Of course, I have no group photos from clubs with whom I have visited by Skype or by phone, but am always eager to chime in if your meeting date is clear on my calendar. Please reach out and let's talk books!
Currently, my group is reading A Day in June by Marisa Labozzetta -- and I'm dithering about whether to make something Italian or something Jewish for book club. (I ended up making aglio olio -- recipe in my Blog.)