Today, she is going to share with us a little bit about....
Journaling For Your Book Club
Is there anything greater in this world than curling up in your favorite spot, with maybe a cup of tea and a kitty on your lap, reading a truly remarkable book? There is only one thing I can think of ...discussing it! There are times when I am reading that I feel that I will absolutely burst if I don't get to talk about what I am reading with someone, right then and there. Unfortunately, I am usually in some mismatched pajamas, with my hair in a ponytail and no makeup on. I can't go next door to my reader neighbor to chat about my newest find. I have resorted to chatting up my hubby about plot, characters and setting, but that usually involves pausing NCIS or House and then I feel bad. What to do? There in one thing that soothes my need to chat in the middle of a good read ...journaling my thoughts and feelings right when they pop into my ponytailed head.
Then, when my book club meets for a discussion, I simply have to open my journal and these thoughts, feelings are right there, reminding me how I felt about our the book and bringing to my attention details I would have otherwise forgotten. The times I have faithfully journaled about a book club book and brought it with me have been some of my best meetings; meetings I participated in and learned most about myself and fellow club members.
What to Journal About? Some ideas.
With most I books I read I find myself curious about something mentioned that I want to explore further. These could be events, places, food, customs, clothes or specific people. I make sure to jot these curiosities down in my journal to research further for my own knowledge and when reading a book for a book club meeting, to bring that information to the discussion. Some examples of these explorations mentioned in my journal include: Customs:
SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN by Lisa See: I spent one whole night researching the practice of foot binding. My husband and I both were so entranced in the pictures available on the internet of those poor feet. At our book club meeting, there were several of us who brought pictures to share with each other. The extra research added a new depth to our discussion and will always make SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN a memorable book for me. (photo credit: http://7uncle.wordpress.com/2009/01/29/cinderella-was-born-as-yeh-hsien/)
I have noticed when reading a book that when food is mentioned in any detail I instantly start craving it with a pregnancy-like obsession until I can satisfy it in some way. When reading MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA by Arthur Golden, I wanted Japanese food every night. After several trips to a favorite restaurant, I decided to learn to make some things. My mom and I researched making rolls, miso soup and teriyaki in the most traditional way possible. We created a huge feast for my husband and dad - one we won't forget!(photo credit: http://www.asanoya.co.jp/english/dining.html)
In A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS by Khaled Hosseini, a day trip to see the Buddhas of Bamiyan turned into an education for me - I had no idea of these magnificent structures and their recent destruction by the Taliban. Since reading the novel, I have read quite a bit about these statues (created in the sixth century), their terrible bombing (they were interpreted to be 'idols' by the Taliban) and the recent reconstruction efforts to restore the statues.(photo credit: http://www.briantravel.com.ar/2009/10/bamiyan-afghanistan.html).
I just recently finished HALF A YELLOW SUN, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This remarkable book brought to my attention the atrocities of the Biafran war of the 1960's. Since I didn't live during this time and didn't study it (to my memory) in school, I was only vaguely aware that provinces in Nigeria attempted to secede in 1967, resulting in the Biafran war. I learned so much from reading this novel: about the Igbo people of Nigeria and their art, food, clothing and later, their starving children. The images the story invoked were further developed after researching my journal notes: a famous bronze 'roped' pot, the infamous magazine photos of the starving children of Biafra, a food called garri and the yellow sun of the Biafran flag.
Share these ideas with your book club
Do you sometimes wonder, when your book club discussion gets going, what book some of the members read? Did they have a different version from you? Abridged? Within a group of readers who have read the same title, there are an equal number of different books that were read. Each reader brings their own experiences, tastes and differences to the table when discussing a book. While this is at times trying, it is also that which makes for great group discussions.
It is imperative for a great discussion to bring your own thoughts, ideas, and findings to your meetings. Make sure to encourage your book club members to journal about their experiences while reading to ensure lively discussions.
Rachelle Rogers Knight is the creator of a reading journal series, Read, Remember, Recommend. She has two reading journals just released by Sourcebooks: Read, Remember, Recommend: A Reading Journal for Book Lovers (adult fiction version) and Read, Remember, Recommend for Teens: A Reading Journal for Young Adults (all genres for teens). She is an avid reader and book club member who loves to share book suggestions and has a passion for reading lists. She lives in South Jordan, Utah and is a stay-at-home mom of two little boys, two huge dogs, two kitties and one big husband. Her website and blog can be found at: Bibliobabe.com.
I am so grateful to Rachelle for sharing some of her wonderful ideas about journaling with us. If you are interested in participating in a future Book Club Exchange, please contact me at bookingmama(at)gmail(dot)com.