Book Clubs – they come and go and now they’re on Zoom!

A couple days ago, I read an excellent post by Donna at Retirement Reflections about the benefits of being in a book club. Donna knows her stuff. She is a book club pro!

Book clubs have changed a lot over the years. And the pandemic has moved a lot of book groups to Zoom and other virtual formats. That hasn’t stopped Donna and her friends from having fun by jazzing things up with drop-off treats (that means snacks and wine) to enjoy together during their Zoom. Way to go, Donna – you guys do things right!

Years ago, I was in three clubs, but life got busy and stressful. My main in-person book club fell apart and my Facebook group has become inactive because it needs a logistical overhaul. Now I’m only in the mystery book club at my library job. It’s a great group and the Zoom format has attracted new people. One friend attends during her lunch hour and that could never have been possible for an in-person meeting. I think people are a lot more comfortable with virtual book clubs now that we’ve ironed out the kinks.

My first book club started in 2001. We were a bunch of new moms and we met every month at each other’s houses for nineteen years, as soon as we got our babies to bed. I often got home well after midnight! Ack – I can’t believe I had that much energy back then!

Last night I looked at the list of books we read. Our first book was The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan. You can view the complete list here.

Here are six books I missed that I would like to read now.

A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The World to Come by Dara Horn

Are you in a book club? Do you meet in-person or virtually? Leave a comment!

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On my list – these books about libraries!

Maybe I’m slow in seeing this trend, but have you noticed there are more and more books about libraries? For me it started with The Library Book by Susan Orlean (read my review here). That was a couple years ago. Here are four fiction books I’d like to read (all descriptions from Goodreads). For many more, check out the links at the bottom of this post.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson: In 1936, tucked deep into the woods of Troublesome Creek, KY, lives blue-skinned 19-year-old Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry. The lonely young Appalachian woman joins the historical Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and becomes a librarian, riding across slippery creek beds and up treacherous mountains on her faithful mule to deliver books and other reading material to the impoverished hill people of Eastern Kentucky.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig: Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles: Based on the true World War II story of the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris, this is an unforgettable story of romance, friendship, family, and the power of literature to bring us together, perfect for fans of The Lilac Girls and The Paris Wife.

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray: The remarkable, little-known story of Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian—who became one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she kept in order to make her dreams come true, from New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray.

I’ve read a couple other books about libraries. Click the links for reviews.

I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

Beyond the Bookends
Book Riot 1
Book Riot 2

What are some of your favorite library-themed books?

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Something wild – arranging my books

I guess I could do it this way, but I think this would be hard to work with, don’t you? Image: Pixabay

It’s getting a little wild at my house and here’s why: I’ve been thinking about changing the way my books are arranged on my bookshelf. It all started when I pulled out the books I haven’t read yet, a sobering lesson on the dangers of hoarding. Those are now in an unattractive pile on the floor of our dining room and I’m feeling some family pressure to do something with them. Added to that are the books I bought last week at our library’s used book sale, a mish mash of story collections, cook books, and Spark Notes (for the English students at my house).

I’ve always lined my books up by author, fiction and nonfiction together, but I could do it like a library and move the nonfiction to a different spot, then split the rest by genre. Anyone do that? Seems pretty basic, though and maybe not wild enough.

But I’m also thinking about arranging them by region (remember my New York and New England booklists?) or making a pile of award-winning books. There are always one or two books you don’t know what to do with. I only have one graphic novel, so that will have to wait until I develop a taste for that genre before I start a section.

We’re low on marble sculptures. Maybe a craft from school? Image: Pixabay

I also noticed that some people make horizontal stacks in planned patterns – never thought to do that!  Any horizontal books on a shelf at my house are the result of rushing, not planning. I might try that because I think it looks nice. Other people add objets d’art between books. We’re low on those, but maybe I can use something one of the kids made in art class.

So big changes (haha) on the shelves over here, but I’m not stressing about my indecision. Half the fun will be figuring out what to do!

How do you arrange your shelves?

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