Last week, I was invited to speak to a book club that was holding a retreat in beautiful Deer Valley, Utah. Book Club member, Mary Margaret, wanted to surprise the group of ladies with a guest author appearance. She also asked me to bring a couple of my books. Of course I brought ATHENA, knowing it would fit right in with a book club (wink, wink).
Once a year, the GG Book Club (The Giller Girls) travel to a destination for a weekend retreat. Their group was started in 2001 with six women in Ontario, Canada, and they continue to meet once a month to discuss books. The monthly meetings developed into close personal friendships, sharing recipes, reading great books, and eventually putting together their first retreat.
In fact, three of the women wrote a book about this incredible club that includes book club recipes, summary and ratings of books read, and their amazing adventures.
Now authors, Perry Jongsma, Pat Maaten, and Kathleen Mundy, are doing book signings and booking speaking engagements about their book club and book.
These ladies even put together a beautiful website for their book Reading Between the Wines: The Story of a Traveling Book Club: www.readingbetweenthewines.ca
The GG's Book Club uses the element of surprise in their meetings The hostess chooses the book in advance, and the ladies arrive not knowing which book they'll be presented with, or even in which manner it will be introduced--which has become quite a creative event.
They live by the GG's Book Club 10 Commandments:
1. You are priority #1. This is your night.
2. Fun is a must.
3. LOL (laugh out loud) at each other and yourself.
4. Digression is accepted and expected.
5. Never refuse a compliment or be reluctant to offer one.
6. What happens at GG Book Club stays at Book Club.
7. Read between the wines.
8. Where the boys aren't and never will be!
9. Never apologize for your book selection.
10. Completing the book is expected but not mandatory.
Favorite Book Club reads include:
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
When I asked them what the secret to running a book club for over ten years, they said it was willingness to try new books, commitment to the club, and being able to accept each others' differences.
During our discussion, the energy and the friendship between the women was tangible. And it reminded me of why my co-authors and I decided to write The Newport Ladies Book Club series in the first place. Not only because we were friends and had enjoyed enriched lives because of it, but because we wanted to write about one of the greatest blessings in our lives. Then transfer that to characters in a book club who are brought together for a single common purpose in the love of reading, but walk away with so much more.