Thursday, December 3, 2009

Book Club Exchange - Chris of Book-a-Rama

Welcome to this week's Book Club Exchange, a relatively new (and hopefully) regular feature on Booking Mama which highlights anything and everything book club-related! Today, Chris from Book-a-Rama has written a terrific post about her book club. I hope you enjoy reading about her unique book club as much as I did!

Classics Book Club

It was all Oprah's fault. Back in the summer of 2004, Oprah chose Anna Karenina as her Oprah's Book Club selection. I had read and enjoyed the book a year or so before. I didn't have anyone to discuss the book with at that time. Oprah's website had a discussion board for people to discuss their thoughts on Anna Karenina and I decided to get in on that.

After a few days of commenting, I found a small number of people who not only enjoyed Anna Karenina but other classic books as well. We all wanted to read more of them and have somewhere to talk about them. A terrific lady named Maria got us organized. She set up a private group on the Oprah site and made up the club rules. The Classics Book Club was born.

There are lots of advantages to an online book club. You can log on anytime of day and join in on the discussion, make comments and ask questions. You don't have to get dressed up- you can wear your pjs- worry about driving in bad weather, or wonder what to bring for snacks. In our book club, we have a separate site for just chatting. You can tell members as much or as little as you wish about yourself. Some members have even met in real life.

At the moment, we have about 50 active members, but actual book discussion participants varies. Stuff happens. Members come and go but we still do have members who have been with us from the beginning. Some of our members have gone on to become some of your favorite blogging friends. Stephanie was the one who enticed me into starting a blog.

Maria left us early on and moderators have changed a couple of times over the years. Right now, I'm "president" which means I make and post the schedules, contact potential members on the waiting list, decide when we vote on books, and generally keep things running. I couldn't do it without the help of my trusty sidekicks Marion (who makes awesome printable bookmarks for our selections) and Kristy. And of course, all members let me know if something isn't working or if they have any problems.

The biggest obstacle we've had to deal with as a group was the reformatting of the Oprah book club website. We ended up losing years of books discussions. It was really disappointing. At that time, we decided that we had to move our book club from the Oprah site. The move was a real hassle but eventually things smoothed out and in no time we were back to discussing the books.

Just this past summer we celebrated both 5 years and 50 books read as a group. That's a big accomplishment on the internet. I couldn't imagine when I joined that we would have had so many great discussions together.


Chris is a stay at home Mom which actually involves less staying at home than the name implies. She blogs at book-a-rama. She lives in Nova Scotia, Canada with a husband, child and several other furry children.

A huge thanks to Chris for sharing her Classics Book Club experience with us. If you are interested in participating in a future Book Club Exchange, please contact me at bookingmama(at)gmail(dot)com.


Beth F said...

Wow! 50 books and 5 years for an online club is a great accomplishment. Thanks to Stephenie, too -- glad Chris is part of the book blogging community.

DCMetroreader said...

I LOVE the idea of an online book club! Great post!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love the idea of an online book club too - except for the part about no snacks! :--)

bermudaonion said...

What a wonderful and dedicated group! Chris's group sounds like a lot of fun.

Serena said...

Wow, 50 books and 5 years. Great! Wonderful perspective on an online book club.

Barbara said...

great post and congrats on your success!

Michelle said...

It is a lot of fun! I've been a member of Chris' book club almost since its inception. The diversity of books and opinions, shared via the Internet, continues to fascinate me. (It just took me a bit longer to heed Stephanie's advice.)

Chrisbookarama said...

Thanks guys! We're pretty proud of those 50 books.

Rhapsody- lol! Well, you don't have to share your snacks that's a bonus.

Michelle- Glad Stephanie finally convinced you! (Great pick for the latest nom, btw.)