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October 25, 2007

The Book Club Menu

The Book Club Menu

by Nancy

My neighbor, the delightfully upbeat and energetic Deb, decided to form a book club in our neighborhood, and she invited me to join.

"I'm sure you do this a lot," she said.

Well . . . not really. I've spoken to a lot of book groups, but this is the first time I'm officially a member. And it's a book club of civilians!  How cool is that?

Do you belong to a book club? If you read this blog, I think the chances are high that you do. Or you've been tempted to join one. I think book clubs are the new bridge clubs. In the 1960s, my mother and her friends got all dolled up once a month to play cards at each other's homes. I associate Chanel No. 5 with watching her dress in stockings and fancy duds, and I can smell that cloud of hairspray in the bathroom before she picked up her best handbag (freshly supplied with a pack of Newports) and her mink stole (!!) and went off in the Buick to someone's home for an evening with The Girls. They nibbled on Brach's Bridge Mix and drank Brandy Alexanders.

Nowadays there are book clubs that read only high brow lit'ry fiction. Some that read only challenging non-fic.  One of my favorite book clubs to visit is the local women's bar association. What a hoot they are--dinner, a rapidfire argument about the book, then a free-for all discussion over dessert. And there's the book club my aunt, the shrink, belongs to. First they read the complete works of Edith Wharton, and now they're working through biographies of scientists, which are so boring, reports my aunt, that she'd quit except every meeting they have a big buffet of Syrian food.

Twice I've visited a book club that only reads romance novels--the steamier the better. (My books, I fear, were a disappointment to them. No bondage, no threesomes. Sorry.) To each her own, right?

At the first meeting of my neighborhood book club, we decided there would be no competition to fix fancy canapes or serve upscale wine.  (Which takes the heat off members like---uhm---me, who don't do fancy canapes and have to ask our grown children for wine tips.) At least, I think that's what we decided. But Deb served an array of fancy cheeses, some cookies from Whole Foods, and there were several bottles of wine opened so it kinda turned into a tasting.  Judging by the jeans and t-shirts my neighbor friends wore, there won't be any need to buy new stockings or invest in a fur coat, but the whole snack thing has me a little worried.

The first book we chose is . . . okay, a dud. At least, to my way of thinking. It's a classic first novel--a flashy MFA vocabulary lavishly deployed, but no discernible story. The theme has been done to death and executed much better by others--including the author's writing teacher, whom she thanks in the acknowledgments and who gives her a blurb. The protagonist is the least interesting character. Nothing happens for the first 82 pages, and I mean NOTHING. The author is so in love with her own verbiage that she includes an addendum of deleted scenes, just in case we want to be further bored---er, uplifted by her magical prose.

Someone (an editor? the marketing department?) has kindly provided a Book Group Discussion Guide at the end of the book.  This practice cracks me up.  Even authors of straighforward genre fiction are being asked to create discussion guides nowadays, as if our readers are a little dim.  I don't know about you, but I don't need much prodding to vent--er, explain what I do or don't like about a book. Have you ever actually used the provided questions at a book club meeting? Does it feel vaguely like tenth grade English class and Mrs. Cutler asking endless questions about The Scarlet Letter to make sure you understood exactly what adultery was?

The books my club members democratically selected are nearly all on the trade bestseller lists right now.  Some are Oprah books. All are what we, in the biz, now call "upmarket books"---current and mostly contemporary novels that have literary aspirations, perhaps, with solid content to provide discussion materal. Plot isn't as important as the subject matter---say, of female bonding, the nature of friendship, the mother-daughter relationship or the moral questions involved in conceiving a second baby to provide organ donations for a first child, etc, etc.  You'd recognize an upmarket book right away.--It's probably a trade size paperback with an artsy cover that you wouldn't be embarrassed to carry on the bus. No lurid pools of blood.  No children's shoes abandoned on a stretch of lonesome highway. No heaving bosoms unless they're tasteful reproductions of lesser-known paintings. The books have price tags of $14 or more, so it probably takes a certain amount of disposable income to afford 10 or 12 book club selections that all give the reader the impression that her mind will be improved without too much pain and agony.

I'm thinking that whether or not the book is good or bad doesn't matter much to a book club member. The real reason to get together is to talk, laugh, bond.  Forge even stronger friendship.  Or eat Syrian food.

But enjoying the books will become key to the experience, I'm sure. My father---a dignified and somewhat distant figure in my childhood--became my one-man book club after he retired. In ways unlike anything we enjoyed for the first 40 years of my life, we bonded over the novels of Donald Westlake and Patrick O'Brian. Earlier in my life, my mother and her sisters introduced me into the sisterhood of mystery readers.

Books provide the common ground for many relationships, don't you think? Do you still feel something for the teacher who led the class discussion of a book you fell in love with in school?  (Presumably not The Scarlet Letter?)

Tangent:  I get impatient with readers who claim they dislike literary fiction because, "it doesn't have a plot." I'm okay with a minimum of story, which I know is heresy for a pop fiction author like myself. Yeah, sure, I like a good yarn as  much as anyone. But I can also appreciate a book that's thematic rather than story-oriented. (One of my favorite book reviews of all time was written by John Updike, who included a story summary followed by the exclamation, "Down, plot!")

I'm looking forward to our first book club discussion. I'm interested to hear what civilians think and feel about books.  But part of me is already worried about what snacks to serve when it's my turn.  Do they still make Bridge Mix, does anyone know?  Somebody help me out.  What do you serve to your book club??


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Yes, Brach's still makes Bridge Mix. Another good thing to serve are truffles from your local chocolate maker. Instead of wine, you could try a BIG pitcher of Bahama Mamas or Daquiris. See how they like the books when they are too plastered to see straight?

CA Fire Update. According to the LA Times, and assuming we're correct in which fire was a threat to Harley's house, it's under control. Thank God. Here is the link i've been following:


I haven't yet joined a book club, but yes, I've been tempted. A little less so after hearing about one to which a co-worker belongs, which sounds like it is run by a Nazi. For one thing, they aren't allowed to talk about anything but the book! And so far, they've picked (been assigned) those "upmarket" books you refer to, Nancy. I rarely read those books. Many have depressing themes, or moral positions, or teach me a life lesson, and that's not why I read.

I have met many kindred spirits through a messageboard and this blog, where we can talk about books online, and many other subjects we have in common. It's wonderful to find people who "get it" - the piles of books all over the house, the yearning for built-in bookcases over fireplaces or attached garages when househunting, the love of a bookstore.

And yeah, we can learn just as many life lessons from Bubbles or Wollie or Nora Blackbird et. al., and enjoy ourselves a lot more in the process. If I want depressing, I'll turn on the news.

I've never belonged to a book club, either. I'm not sure that I'd like someone else picking what I had to read. And no lurid pools of blood? I don't think so!

A friend asked me to join her book club; I was thrilled. But it quickly became apparent that books were chosen only because they were "important books." Some sort of award practically guaranteed selection. Ugh.

Then there was the member who never, ever finished a book and came to each meeting frantically reading as we tried to discuss the text. She insisted we not "ruin the ending" for her.

But what finally drove me out was the nonstop discussion of the fat and calorie content of whatever was being served.

I used to go home and joke that I was going to start a Trashy Novel book club where everyone had to eat dessert!

Our Women Lawyers' Book Club has been meeting at the Mystery Lovers' Bookshop for over ten years. Here's what we've learned:

No Oprah books. If you want to be depressed, do it somewhere else.

No Kid Jep or Pet Jep books - too many moms, of both human and furry little ones.

No talking about diets - unless it's part of the plot - like The Cinderella Pact, which was last months' book.

No hardcovers - too expensive. We usually stick to mass market paperbacks.

At least once a year, I try to talk them into reading something trashy.

We always have dinner together and we ALWAYS have dessert. We have it catered or order take-out from a local restaurant.

Our December meeting is a white elephant gift exchange - you can't buy anything - you have to find something in your house to give away. We do this instead of exchanging gifts, and use the money we would have spent for the Angel Tree, which benefits Beginning with Books.

Karin - I'd love to join a Trashy Novel book club. As for what to serve - Sam's club has great 'party food' (and trail mix for Nancy).

Trail mix??? Renee, baby, surely you have me confused with someone else. I'm in favor of a Dessert Club that serves the occasional trashy novel!

Nancy, you are right to have been wary about snacks. They make or break a book club. I was in a wonderful book club for several years. It was a group of moms with young children, and the same mom (who had both boys and girls--both kinds of toys) hosted us each month. The demise of the club was snacks. One mom discovered she had a wheat allergy. Another mom developed type 2 diabetes. Another mom was low fat. Between the group, there was nothing we could eat. Figuring out what we could all snack on was too stressful. We tried moving the club to a restaurant, but that didn't work. It just died. It was fun while it lasted, and I got to read good books I wouldn't have chosen for myself but either enjoyed or "got something out of."

As Nancy knows, I mentor a teen book club at a big public high school. Tomorrow is the second meeting of this year. The school sponsor sent me an update on some of our members, so that I will be prepared. I have removed names, but here are some highlights:

"BLANK's mother was arrested night before last because of multiple drunk driving offenses. He should hear this week if that means real jail time, but she is gone for now.

BLANK's sister had a baby 9 months ago and then left town. BLANK picks the baby up at day care and watches him until the mom gets home late at night. The baby sleeps in a playpen in BLANK's bedroom and keeps her up all night.

BLANK, who you will meet on Friday, is concerned about a 14 year old friend whose boy friend is pressuring her for sex. He talked to me because his mother is deaf, and he just can't sign this to her. There is no father in the family.

BLANK (who graduated and is no longer a student) is coming again on Friday. Book Club means so much to her.

Finally, BLANK is driving me crazy. She seems to need a mom right now and every time I try to move, I bump into her. She stands within a foot of me all the time. She needs 4 to 5 hugs a day. I need my space, too, but I don't want to hurt her."

I know this sounds horrendous (and like a hijack) but I am sharing because these young people desperately need a book club. If anyone is in the position to donate a few hours a month at a local high school, I so encourage you to do so.

As for snacks, they'll eat anything. An-y-thing.

I've been tempted to join a book club, but the book lists never appeal to me.

Nancy, your description of upmarket books (new term for me) hit the nail on the head. If the plot isn't strong, what's the point?

Costco and Sams have tons of frozen appetizers/shrimp/cheesecake/desserts to address your hosting problem.

Kathryn, it's too bad your book club has 'lawyers' in the title, because it sounds like a blast!

I am not much of a "joiner," but I very much enjoy the book club I attend. I am not a regular, but it's a wonderful group, so that doesn't matter.

It's good, especially for folks like me, to join up with others.

As for snacks, how sad that a group broke up over food preferences.

Bridge Mix is still around. Get some of that, mix in a few Godiva's and some hard candies, and call it Book Mix.

Ramona, thank you so much for posting that! Some of my best experiences speaking to book clubs have been with at-risk groups -- especially teens in troubled school districts, but also prison inmates. In fact, tomorrow, I'm speaking to a high school group in a blue collar area where reading for pleasure is not big. Not only do you feel you make a difference, but I get more interesting and creative input from these groups than from any otehrs. It's really a fresh perspective.

Ramona -- you are a saint. How did you organize your book club, get the school's backing, get the kids, etc.? Teach us . . .

The only book clubs I've managed are on-line, and I enjoy those. What I especially like is when someone poses a question that makes me think about aspects of the book that I didn't focus on while reading it. I like being challenged to think, and I like how those experiences deepen my appreciation for the work in question. But it has to be a good book to start with -- none of that depressing stuff, for sure!

Books do provide for interesting relationships. I think I've mentioned that I was never close to my parents, really. But Mom and I were inveterate readers with similar tastes. Although we never really discussed them, we shared our excitement over the latest Victoria Holt gothic or Louis L'Amour western to hit the local five-and-dime. And we continued to share book recommendations right up until she passed away. It was a really special connection, for sure.

Kathy, I want to join your book group!

Now, on Nancy's wonderful topic (loved this blog!) --

I too joined a book group run by a dictator. It was full of really intellectual women who read only lit'rary stuff, but the worst part was they had an ironclad rule that we couldn't read a book if anyone in the group had read it before. With such well-read women, this doomed us to the weirdest, most obscure titles you can imagine. I quit in short order!

As for snacks, it sounds like your friend threw money at the problem, Nancy. Why should you have to slave over fancy canapes? She didn't! Buy something. If you want to up the ante, try some sushi. I find really good sushi in grocery stores these days, and if you serve it as an appetizer with some white wine or a local beer, people ooh and aah.

If you want a killer cocktail, I just got this fantastic recipe from my friends Karen and Joel:

3 oz. margarita mix
1/2 oz. Cointreau
1 1/2 oz. Absolut Citron
Shaken with ice, makes 5 ounces.

After a couple of those, nobody'll be complaining.

PS -- I have to add my praise for the Women Lawyers' Book Club at MLB, where I had the great good fortune to meet Kathy Sweeney. It's not often you find a group that's so smart and so fun at the same time. (Other than in our backblog, of course.)

Oops... sorry, Nancy I meant 'bridge mix', not 'trail mix'. Need.More.Coffee.
Sam's also has a (seasonal) pumpkin cheesecake that, if it ain't better than sex - it's a close second (and you don't have to get nekked to enjoy it). Also, Chi chi's has a mango marguerita mix that's very good. If you cut up and freeze some fresh mango, you can throw that into the blender with a little ice and the m.m. mix. It's great, like a mango smoothie with a kick. Yum...

Kerry, thanks sis, but I am not a saint. The school librarian is the one who got this going, does all the work, begs for the funds, etc. I just blow in, work the kids and get praised. And, trust me, I get as much out of this as they do.

Michele is right about the "interesting and creative input." Want a brutally honest opinion of your book? Ask a teenager. Although, last year, I had to repeatedly explain that "It sucked" does not lend itself to much discussion, and "It so sucked" really wasn't much better.

Brownies. Chocolate, not too messy, and no one can eat just one :o) Seriously, I've just been tabbed to start (or re-start since the last one died two years ago) a mystery book club at my B&N. Yikes...of course it's all my fault, because I set up a meeting between a Chicago author (Libby Hellmann) who has just edited a book of short stories (Chicago Blues)and my manager, and she's coming down for a book signing in December. Our first book will be one of her Ellie Foreman mysteries, but after that, it's negotiable as to titles; a different author each month and hopefully one in mass market, but always a mystery or thriller. so, I figure, brownies are a safe bet.
I love bridge mix...and mixed nuts too. Go to Sam's or another big food universe and get a deli tray and some munchies. :o) What book were you reading, by the way?

I don't belong to one, although I wish I did it might be nice to have a little group of woman to socialize with outside of my church and it may help me stay on top of my reading as well. Anyway...a co-worker of mine does belong to one and although the books they read are fine, the refreshment thing has gotten out of hand. The last time she hosted it, she did a cheese platter with several different kinds of wine, her famous Shrimp Orzo recipe, and some elaborate dessert. What happened to cookies and coffee.

Don't let Ramona fool you, guys. She's a saint in so many ways. The school book club is just one of them.

Amazing how food can nix a group, but I can totally see it happening that way! Maybe when it's my turn I'll just skip the food element and see if that changes the trend. Whadaya think?

I can see why upmarket books are perfect for book clubs. In every chapter of the book we're reading now, some subject comes up that will trigger discussion. Teen sex, lost friendships, absent parents, weight issues, health issues, self-absorption issues (okay, that's just another complaint about the protagonist of the book we're reading) all provide spring boards for members to share their own experiences, which I think is the main thing that fosters friendships. Hey, if a plot-less book helps women forge closer friendships, why not?

I used to lead a book club for a bunch of nice rich ladies in the burbs. These were heavy, uplifting literary tomes and bored everyone silly. They'd answer two questions about the book, and spend the rest of the time talking about kids, husbands and facelifts.

Friendships are key - to book groups and also books that qualify for book groups.

Ramona - that is really food for thought. I'm wondering if THAT's a book right there....My sister in law's a high school English teacher and the things she tells me, the burdens placed on kids these days are unreal. It seems like at one end you've got super privileged kids with nothing to worry about other than can they get into the absolutely best college possible and on the other you've got kids dealing with babies, drunken parents.

I can see how the book group helps. So ....what are you reading?

I've never joined a book club. I blame it on being an English major in college and don't like being told what I have to read. I want to read what I want to read, be it something trashy (love the trashy novel book club idea!), a mystery, something non-genre, non-fiction, whatever.

My sister, mother and sister-in-law are all in book clubs. I asked them why they only read those books that are considered more "literary" and on the bestseller lists. I think a book club where you find an obscure author and read his/her work is much more interesting than being a sheep and reading what the rest of the world is reading.

As for food, book clubs seem to be all for it. In any form. And cocktails are a staple as well.

I'd gladly join Karin's Trashy Novel book club where everyone had to eat dessert! It sounds wonderful!
I go to the book club at FHN high school; it's a good chance to see my old colleagues, and I can tolerate the allergens for a short while. They tend to read Oprah-type books, and the librarian gently keeps discussions somewhat on-topic (but doesn't freak at randomness).
She also organizes a students' group (or that may have gone over to the new librarian -- it's a big school with many duties). Their books vary, but many come from awards lists. She also put together a list of "guy" books for book talks, very successful. _Son of the Mob_ was one that we all read. I'd recommend _The Higher Power of Lucky_ also, the one with "scrotum" on the first page. Snacks, chips, dip, candy . . .fast and easy after school, or sometimes milk and cookies for the student group.
The city-wide _Fiction and History_ club is more serious, and has sandwich and salad meals catered as part of the registration fee. My favorite recent book was _March_ about the daddy of those Little Women.
The library has an evening group, no snacks, that recently discussed _The Lost German Slave Girl_ -- fascinating.
We also have the Readers and Stitchers group -- we suggest books for reading, but don't all read and discuss any one book in common. We also work on various craft projects and have fun. We don't do much snacking, as our hands are busy.
I'm currently reading _The Stolen Child_ by Keith Donohue, an interesting tale of Changlings. I've also begun an ARC of _Even Cat Sitters Get the Blues_ by Blaize Clement, so good I've had my library order it!
Books and food -- what more do we need? (well, I do vaguely remember there was one more thing . ..starts with S, there's an X. . .I'll keep thinking).

Sarah, I certainly hope Book Club is a good premise for a novel (because I've been writing it).

We read by theme. Last month, we did books by two Hispanic authors. We had enough books to go around, so we all read one or the other. Tomorrow, in honor of Halloween, it's horror, and everyone will do a quickie synopsis of whatever they chose. I'm doing The Dante Club. I expect a big showing from the Stephenie Meyer club.

Next month, don't know yet. We vote at the end of every meeting. They tend to complain less if they get a voice in choosing. That's the theory, anyway.

As the Sisters In Crime Book Club Database Liaison, I hope you don't mind if I put in a plug for our authors. We're looking for book club facilitators who like reading mystery/suspense/thrillers. Check out the form on our website:



I am a member of two different book clubs. The first struggles with membership and the challenges that we all have with raising young children. Each member selects a book and we rotate. We meet at restaurants so there is no pressure about serving food items. We NEVER talk about calories in food. Lately it has been mostly non-fiction that we have read which is interesting but next month we are reading Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers.

I am also a member of a second book club which is mainly men which I think is somewhat unusual. We have several rules about book selection.
1. Never choose an Oprah selection. Ever.
2. Wait until the book comes out in paperback so that the ones who buy the book can afford to buy all year.
3. ALWAYS read a scary book in October. This year's choice was Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill.
4. Include Pulitzer Prize winners whenever possible. Ok, actually this is only my rule. I'm trying to read them all and it seems so efficient when a selection by the Book Club also helps me reach my goal.
5. No more books set in India or about India. This was imposed after I tried to push one more book about India on the group. Satanic Verses almost killed several of us and remains only one of two book club selection that I have not read. Wicked is the other one. I could read only books about India I think but the group no longer agrees with me.

It is probably true that this book club is a little snobbish about the book selections we make. Because there are mostly men I think that we often choose books for men. We've read most of Richard Russo, John Updike, Richard Ford and Phillip Roth. I enjoyed them but some months I get tired of reading about middle age men who are questioning their lives.

My book clubs are the single greatest pleasures I get outside of my family.

Ramona, I write for teens. Send me an email through my website www.darleneryan.com and I'll send you some books to give to your book group. You don't have to analyze them and I don't mind if they say, "They so suck."

Nancy, sorry for hijacking comments.

Darlene, Nancy does not mind at all if your hijack means books for my group. Right, Nancy?

I will contact you. Thank you so much. On behalf of my group, and myself, I would like to say, you do not suck.

Another brief hijack - word from Harley - but two days old.

Thanks! Already evacuated and staying with friends. Unless the friends also have to evacuate!
xoxo H
PLEASE NOTE: in the interest of maintaining sanity and meeting the deadline for my current novel-in-progress, I may answer e-mails in monosyllables until January 3, 2008.
I have no idea why it took two days for an e-mail to cross the LA Basin. It does look, as Rebecca said, as if Malibu and Topanga are out of current danger.

We return you now to your originally-scheduled blogram.

I belong to a book club. We don't ever meet in person as the membership lives all over the US - we exchange emails via a yahoo group. We started about four years ago with the premise that we would read books that feature strong women characters (or possibly, not so strong, flawed women) or maybe books written by women who kick. Hence the name of the book club - Chicks Kick Books. We started off pretty strong, with everyone reading and participating but after about a year it slowly fizzled out. Now, we just share the latest books we read, information, websites or anything else that we think the other members might be interested in. I think it was the lack of snacks that ultimately did us in.

Nancy - Donald Westlake - his Dortmunder series is the best. My husband and I are both big fans of the whole crew: Kelp, Murch, Murch's Mom, and Mae.

Ramona -- I still think you're a saint. In what way (I almost hesitate to ask) do you "work the kids"? I'm pretty sure you don't mean "work the kids over", which would be my temptation after the third or fourth "It so sucked." Bit I digress . . . I guess what I'm asking is how you get them actively engaged in discussing the book; how do you keep them on track (or is that sort a non-issue as long as they're talking about something)? See, this sounds like something I might could do -- but have no clue how!

BUT I digress. Not BIT I digress. I hope none of the kids is bitten. Or has a kitten.

I think I need more coffee . . .

I do not belong to a book club, not because I don't read, but because I read so much for school that the notion of sitting around talking about another book, even if it's one I really *want* to read, doesn't hold much appeal for me, at least at the moment. My taste is quirky anyway. For example, last night and this morning, while nursing a flu-ish kid, I ripped through Valerie Wilson Plame's new memoir. Fascinating stuff. But probably not book club material. And I pretty much limit my fiction consumption to those written by our own Tarts.

I do like the idea of having food and cocktails while talking about something I've read. So perhaps I've got potential as a book clubber yet!

I remember my grandmother's/mother's bridge parties. They were epic affairs. We would get to help with the set up as kids and I still have fond memories of Brach's Bridge Mix, as well as chocolate drops and those little star shaped chocolates. And butter mints. Gotta have the butter mints.

I'm not much of a joiner, but I'd join a "Trashy Book Club" in a minute. All my friends' clubs seem so .... earnest.

And I'd go for salty, chocolate, and alcoholic (my sister-in-law always mixes up a pitcher of somewhat dilute Cosmos for any social occasion.)
- Clea

You want saint? I took my wife to see "The Jane Austin Book Club" a couple of weeks ago. I mean, Mansfield Park I could handle, what with the implied lesbian thing and the slave-owner-rape sketchings, and Clueless was cute enough, but Jane Austin isn't really my bag.

How many Simon's are there on this blog? No one related to me. Is Clea "The Boss?"

Sorry if this long post appears in multiple, but Mr. Typepad's about to get it with a black pin.Kerry, while a work-over is sometimes a temptation, I have yet to get violent. The biggest challenge is to keep them talking about the book, rather than themselves and their home situations, or how the book is similiar to their home situations, or why they couldn't read the book because of their home situations...get the picture? And don't get me started on boyfriends and girlfriends. I have had to ban all talk of anybody's love life, including my own. No kidding. My OB/GYN asks less personal questions than some of these girls.

Anyway, here's what we do: After everyone is situated, with various ex-lovers seated apart, and everyone has food, I ask for a show of hands: Raise your hand if you finished the book. Raise your hand if you liked the book. Raise you hand if you would read more by this author. Raise your hand if you would recommend this book to a friend. By then, they are thinking about the book instead of mom's stupid boyfriend or their best friend's new heinous haircut, and I start picking on people with specific, pre-prepared questions about the plot or characters. I have learned that they are primarily interested in why characters act as they do, and the kids are EXTREMELY judgmental.

It is never hard to get the kids to talk. They are dying to talk and to have an adult listen. The difficulty is getting them to stop talking and to make sure everyone gets to have a turn. I just have to moderate that, usually jokingly, and it's rarely a problem.

There are three lunch periods, so I do this three times in a row. At the end of each meeting, pretty much everyone wants a hug. By the end of third lunch, I pretty much just want a drink.

To quote my pretend boyfriend Ceepak, though, it's all good.

You're right, Josh--your wife is a saint.

(Sorry, bud, but you walked right into that one. And it's Austen. Around here, that's a bit like misspelling God.)

Oh. How embarrassing. (tail between my legs)

HUGE NEWS -- I just got a report on another list that Harley is back home, safe and sound!

Forgot to say an important rule from the FHN book club: you may come if you haven't finished, but we will talk about the whole book, so no whining that we've "spoiled" it for you.

Very late to the party here. After 17 years in the book business and serving our groups most of which are over 10 years old(and other goups who buy at a discount), I've learned a few things.
See Book Clubs on www.mysterylovers.com
Food is important for bonding even if it's only M&M's
Enjoy the company.

Ramona may be saintly in some respects but she's been known to harbor impure thoughts about a certain blonde spy. Surely that disqualifies her??

My book club reads different genres each month. One person "hosts" meaning that they pick the book and arrange the next meeting. It has been in private rooms at restaurants and at people's houses. If it is at someone's house then it is a potluck.

Thank you for the great post. I've been seriously thinking about joing a book club. I want to read more than just trashy novels :>)

I would love to suggest an author for your group that I was just referred to me by a friend. Rob Costelloe. His book is called "Coinage of Commitment". It's a great read. I flew right though it. You can find him at www.rcostelloe.com.

Thanks again for the great post!

Mary :>)

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