I'd like to welcome author Kristy Woodson Harvey to Book Club Exchange. Ms. Harvey is the author of DEAR CAROLINA, a novel which will be released exactly one week from today! I read this book last week, and fans of stories about love and family are going to adore this one. My review will be coming shortly.
I am so glad that Ms. Harvey had the time during this very busy time to write a special guest post about the role of book clubs in her life... both in her past and her future.
“Book club,” to me, used to be another phrase for “chicken salad.” I grew up with “book club,” you see. My mom was in one. My grandmother was in two. And book club day meant crystal, silver, linen napkins and tablecloths, and, of course, chicken salad. Book club meant my mom and grandmother whispering in the kitchen, where I was sneaking lemon squares, about how many glasses of chardonnay so-and-so had had while so-and-so was at the dining room table talking—rather loudly—about her friend’s horrific hair-do at the beauty parlor that morning.
It wasn’t until I was eight or nine that I finally realized that the point of these stress-inducing functions where my toys had to be put away just so was to talk about a book. I knew all about books, of course, since, from the time was a baby, my mom would read to me for hours, seeing how many books she could pick up one after another before I asked her to stop. (The answer to that, she found, was that, no matter how many hours she read, I would never ask her to stop.)
In fact, back then, book club weeks were something I didn’t look forward to all. I sort of dreaded them.
There’s a supreme sort of irony in that since, now, with the release of my debut novel, Dear Carolina, impending, all I can think about is getting to go to book clubs. All I want to do is sit around in someone’s living room or a coffee shop and hear what people thought about the book. I want to know what their favorite quotes were and see if they were the same as mine. I want to know which character was their favorite, which one they most related to, what they would do if they were in Jodi’s situation. Or Khaki’s. What choices would they have made differently from the characters? Or, as it were, the author.
I have a handful of book club dates already set on my calendar, but I’m hoping to get to many, many more. I’m so looking forward to hearing about so-and-so’s daughter’s new boyfriend and learning the stories of women I’ve never met, women I never would have met if I hadn’t ever written Dear Carolina. (Although, you know the risk in that: When you tell your story to an author, it may just end up in his or her next book!)
I don’t care if there’s fancy china or starched linens or Chardonnay. I’m not sure I even like lemon squares, and those crystal goblets never hold enough water.
I will keep going to book clubs forever, no matter what they’re like as long as there is good conversation and new friends. And chicken salad. Because you can’t spell “book club” without “chicken salad.” Well, I mean, you can technically, of course. But why would you want to?
If you are interested in participating in a future Book Club Exchange, please contact me at bookingmama(at)gmail(dot)com.