book club 08.24.20

Most recent book club meeting, August 24, 2020 to commemorate the ratification of the 19th Amendment – Women Celebrating Women.

One of the best self-care practices I’ve consistently participated in is membership in my women’s book club. The core, original members have been meeting on a mostly monthly basis for over 20 years! Throughout the years, we’ve read some great books, and not so great books (yes, admitting one of my choices tops one of the all-time worsts’ list but is also the source of many laughs), and a wide-ranging genre of selections. Regardless of the title, we always manage to have a lively discussion and exchange of opinions.

(APRIL 2020) Today, in the middle of a world-wide pandemic and stay-at-home orders, I’m missing my book club friends as we enter the second month of being unable to meet. However, lucky for all of us, there are options for virtual meetings. I’ve already participated in a Zoom meeting with a book club based in the UK and am looking forward to another one with my college’s alumnae group next month.

I am hoping to plan a book club tour when I publish my novel. If you’re in a book club, please take my four-minute survey (link HERE) to help me shape a presentation format and tour map. Thanks!

ZOOM Meetings

I recently solicited tips from a few Facebook groups for active readers on how to host a virtual meeting. I’m happy to share them here for use in the coming month(s), for the future, or for long-distance clubs. Overwhelmingly, the free service offered by Zoom was the preferred method. Others used a more simple approach of an email or text string of discussions.

Zoom Tips

  1. I recommend you check out the website first and read through some of their info as they have recently put in tighter security measures since the explosion of usage has also increased questions around privacy, etc. Message from their CEO and links to training and webinars HERE.
  2. Test it out ahead of time to make sure connections are working.
  3. Have each person make a list of their top opinions before the meeting and send them to the moderator. Circulate them via email ahead of time to think about what you want to discuss
  4. You’ll need to limit the time or make sure you’re set up for longer 30 minutes.
  5. Choose one person to serve as moderator is key to maintain order and make sure everyone gets a chance to speak.  A round-robin approach works to make sure everyone who wants to speak gets the opportunity. Have the host pull up the discussion questions on her screen so everyone can see those at the same time.
  6. Log in a few minutes early.
  7. Have all attendees mute themselves except for the moderator and raise their hand to comment or pose a question…they have to be recognized by the moderator before un-muting themselves.
  8. Computers work better than phones.
  9. You can choose the grid view so you can see everyone at once.
  10.  Audio is so much better if no one in the group uses earbuds and instead uses the computer’s mic.

Other Book Club Meeting Tips and Ideas

Author Talks – Zoom and Skype are also a great way to connect with authors for any meeting – in person or virtual! My group (above) Skyped with Lisa See to discuss Island of Sea Women. She was amazing and so gracious with her time.

Book Club June 2019

Connecting with readers is important for authors, especially right now with book stores closed. You can still order Kindle editions, access digital versions through Libby / Overdrive library apps, or check with your local book stores for online ordering and curbside pick ups. We’ve actually enjoyed several of Lisa’s books and a few of us attended a local event two years ago with her for the release of Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane.lisa see book

Author Talk – Janis Robinson Daly. One of my goals when my novel is published is to meet with any many book clubs as possible during a cross-country road trip. If your club is interested in a possible booking with me to discuss my upcoming historical fiction about early women doctors in the 1900s, please fill out the survey available HERE.

Author Talk – Ashley Sweeney. If you’re looking for a recent release (Spring 2020), I’d like to recommend Answer Creek by Ashley Sweeney. I received an ARC of Answer Creek and have heard from Ashley she would love to chat with book clubs via Zoom or Skype, especially since most of her author appearances at bookstores have been cancelled. You can contact Ashley directly through her website HERE. 

Answer Creek ad

Themed Book Discussions – My group is fortunate to have one member who LOVES Halloween. She hosts our October meeting and encourages costumes. We’ve had a lot of fun with those meetings through the years, from our most recent celebration of the 19th Amendment with reading of The Woman’s Hour and Madame Presidentess to the Wizard of Oz for Finding Dorothy, to Alice in Wonderland for Alice I Have Been, to Monster, The Story of  Young Mary Shelley, and many others.


From costumes to themed food, there are many great ideas to bring a book to life on Pinterest and recipes in The Book Club Cookbook.

If you need any book suggestions, here are a few:

Top 100 Books for a Great Book Club Discussion – from a poll of book clubs across the U.S.

NCL Book Ends 2019 Books in Review

Book Recommendations – Janis Robinson Daly

Happy Reading!


I invite you to follow my blog for book reviews and to follow my journey toward writing my first historical fiction.  More information in my Novel Synopsis. You can sign up from this page with the pop-up, or send me a note through the CONTACT page and I can email you an invitation to follow. I’m on social media, too:

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