Today I'd like to welcome Rel from Relz Reviewz to Book Club Exchange, a regular feature on Booking Mama which highlights anything and everything book club-related! Instead of the typical guest post about book clubs, we have an interview for you. Rel agreed to answer some of my questions, and I hope you enjoy it!
Booking Mama: Can you tell us a little bit about your book club and how it got started?
Rel: Knowing my love of books from the way so many people borrowed from my personal “library” the pastor of my church asked whether I would be interested in starting up a book club. I put some feelers out to gauge interest and the response was great so here we are 8 years later still going strong. :)
Booking Mama: What types of books do you read?
Rel: Faith based fiction with bite! The books must have an issue or challenging aspect that stimulates discussion. There is no point choosing a book that is only “nice” or we all agree with. That is the fastest way to kill a discussion.
Booking Mama: How does your group make its selections?
Rel: As a reviewer and blogger for the major faith based publishing houses, I am constantly exposed to great books so I make the selections in the majority of cases. I ask other members for input and they know they can always make a recommendation.
Booking Mama: What book stimulated the best discussion and why?
Rel: Mmmm…this is a hard one as most of our selections have stimulated great discussion. One that particularly comes to mind is Charles Martin’s When Crickets Cry. The beauty of the writing, the poignancy of the subject matter and the complexity of the characters all created the perfect environment for discussion. We also ended the discussion with an hour’s conference call with Charles who was so giving of his time and his thoughts on his book, writing and faith. It was a fabulous night!
Booking Mama: Is there a book that you recommend for other book clubs?
Rel: Can a I list more than one?!
I’ve mentioned When Cricket’s Cry but add to that:~
Lisa McKay’s My Hands Came Away Red
Francine River’s The Atonement Child and Redeeming Love
Tosca Lee’s Havah: The Story of Eve
Susan Meissner’s The Shape of Mercy
Laura Jensen Walker’s Reconstructing Natalie
W. Dale Cramer’s Levi’s Will
Okay, I’ll stop now but feel free to contact me if you would like more recommendations!
Booking Mama: How has your book club changed your life?
Rel: In many ways! Three of my dearest friends have grown from our mutual love of books and we consolidated that friendship over very late night discussions after Book Club! Sharing my love of good literature with others is so rewarding. When someone tells me how much they have enjoyed, been challenged by or moved to tears by a book I have selected, it brings me such satisfaction you would think I had written the book myself! On a personal level, I am often encouraged or challenged by what I read to be a better person, respond to circumstances in a different way or think a little different - that is all great stuff
Thanks so much for having me, Julie ~ I hope all your readers can find a book club that stimulates, encourages and leads to great friendships.
Rel is a wife, mum to three young daughters and a lawyer living in Melbourne, Australia. Reading has been her passion since childhood. She is a book club co-coordinator and has her own blog—Relz Reviewz—dedicated to reviews, author interviews, character spotlights and giveaways with the aim of supporting authors writing from a Christian worldview. As well as reviewing books for all the major Christian publishing houses, she also reviews for TitleTrakk.com. She is a firm believer in Sir Francis Bacon’s (1561–1626) creed: “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”!
I'd like to thank Rel for taking time from her busy schedule to answer my questions about her book club. If you are interested in participating in a future Book Club Exchange, please contact me at bookingmama(at)gmail(dot)com.