Thursday, February 4, 2010

Book Club Exchange -- Shawnee of Reading In Appalachia

Welcome to today's installment of Book Club Exchange -- a regular feature on Booking Mama which highlights anything and everything book club-related! Shawnee/Icedream is joining us today, and she has written a touching essay on her book club. Shawnee's experience is a little unique for Book Club Exchange because she discusses what it's like to "lose" a book club. Also, make sure you take a look at the list of books her club read -- they've read some terrific ones!

It’s so hard to say goodbye….

When Julie contacted me about writing a little bit about my book club I was thrilled to do it because I was a member of my local library book club and I loved it. In the intervening period I have since “lost” my club and realized how lucky I was to have been a member and how hard it was to leave.

I was there at the start of the club which was over two and a half years ago. It has about 14 regular members and some of the things I think that made it so special was that the group included men and women, we ran the spectrum in economic status, religious beliefs and ages, from early 20’s to early 70’s. It is amazing to discuss books and “see” the characters and plot from so many various points of view.

We became a tight group quickly and fortunately we always managed to be respectful and open to each other. We often got off on a tangent but thanks to Jane, the group leader and the lady I used to refer to in my blog as my “lovely local librarian” we would eventually get reeled back in and come away with a greater appreciation of the book and of each other. Jane was also great about keeping us from getting in to a rut by choosing a variety of genres.

I made a sudden decision to move last month and now I am no longer a member. Fortunately we had a meeting right before I left and I was able to announce I was moving and to say goodbye but it was a shock to everyone and I was in tears. I adored every member of that group. I have joined a book club that has just started in my town and I do hope it grows and becomes successful, but I know that I will never have quite the same experience as I had with my library book club.

Here is a list of books I read with my Library Book Club:

River Cross My Heart by Breena Clarke
Colored People by Henry Louis Gates
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
When Madeline Was Young by Jane Hamilton
Della Raye by Gary Penley
Mary McGreevy by Walter Keady
After the First Death by Robert Cormier
Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Shipping News by Anne Proulx
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Problem with Murmur Lee by Connie May Fowler
The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo by Paula Huntly
Tidewater Blood by William Hoffman
Clay's Quilt by Silas House
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
A Painted House by John Grisham
Trees (First Book In Awakening Land Trilogy) by Conrad Richter
One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus
Creeker by Linda Scott Derosier
The Heartsong of Charging Elk by James Welch
Cavedweller by Dorothy Allison
Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Shawnee (username Icedream) lives in West Virginia and her blog is Reading In Appalachia. She is currently taking a blogging hiatus although she does plan to continue blogging soon. She has recently moved and real life is just keeping her too busy to keep up with a blog right now. Before she moved to West Virginia, she lived in Anchorage, Alaska for over 15 years.

She has her degree in social work and she works from home as a freelance grant writer. She is divorced and a mother to a 20 year old son who is in college. She was a member of her local Library Book Club for over two and a half years, and she has just joined a book club in her new home-town. It's a brand new book club started by the Friends of the Library. Only four women attended the first meeting, but Shawnee is hoping it picks up!

I am so grateful to Shawnee for sharing what it's like to have to leave a book club. If you are interested in participating in a future Book Club Exchange, please contact me at bookingmama(at)gmail(dot)com.


Beth F said...

What a huge change from Alaska to Appalachia! That's an amazing book list -- thanks for sharing Shawnee's story.

DCMetroreader said...

What a terrific reading list (and it sounds like a wonderful club). Great guest post!

bermudaonion said...

Shawnee's old book club sounds great because of the variety of members! It would be interesting to get lots of different perspectives.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I think it is wonderful so have such a close relationship with a book club. Hopefully Shawnee can find another one in her new town. That is a comprehensive list of books! Some of them I have read and loved (woo hoo Connie May!)

Kaye said...

Hey Julie, just wanted to make sure you got the e mail from me saying that you won Knit Purl Die. Check your spam box.

Kaye- florida982002[at]

Stacie said...

Thanks to Shawnee for sharing about her previous book club. I can't imagine all the changes she is going through with the move, but I hope she finds some comfort in her new book club.

Serena said...

wow, that's a big change. Thanks for sharing your book club story with us.