Bringing Community Together

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bookclubWhat brings community together? Just ask the South Routt County Book Club and they will say “BOOKS!”

I  became familiar with this group of readers when I met one of it’s members at the Bud Werner Memorial Library Genealogy Club. Here is what Vanessa has to say about bringing individuals together through reading~

“The backgrounds of our participants is so varied and interesting.  There are ranch wives who have lived here for generations, several who have lived all over the world, who worked for the CIA in Paris, another has lived in South Korea, Netherlands, Argentina etc. following her husband’s work.  Many are retired, or are active in community non-profits, and they range from librarians to a psychologist to women who have never worked outside the home. Those who do work include a hair stylist who participated with her 16 year old daughter, a substitute teacher, and our current library manager. 

Our age range as stated has been between 16 and 80 something!  Our youngest started with her Mom and is now a senior in college.  We manage somehow to include all age ranges in our choices.  Book themes can be universal and appeal to every age.

We have been going since 2008 when we started with 6 members and now have twenty.  I remember holding my youngest grandaughter who was 3 weeks old at one meeting as I was babysitting for my son and daughter-in-law.

We select themes and book titles at our Jan. meeting and meet every other month with 3 selections on the current theme.  Some themes have been: War, Second Chances, Life’s Situations, Classics, Famous People, Hemingway, Memoirs, etc.  Everyone goes around and throws out titles and then we group them into a theme and try to have a contrast.

Our meeting places vary among our members.  Some for whatever reason will host at one of our libraries, however, most are at private homes.  We have a social period and food before we discuss the current books-many times the theme or books themselves will suggest the menu. We incorporate movies, pictures, and other items at our meetings. One memorable one was when we read Wild by (forget the author’s name!) and a member who had walked the Appalachian Trail shared that experience with us.

  The small (and I mean small) towns in the south part of Routt County are financially depressed yet surrounded by million dollar mansions and a small rural community around Stagecoach Lake.  The older residents are hardy, conservative, and clannish but community spirited with colorful people.There is also a large group who have moved here for the wonderful ski town atmosphere and for second homes and tend to be more liberal and richer.  Makes for an interesting clash of values though all seem to come together when needed.”

Thank you Vanessa for sharing this wealth of information about your book club and how it has brought a diverse group of people with varied interests and backgrounds together!

If you have never been a member of a book club before, put it on your list of things to do in the New Year!

This blog is brought to you by EVVY award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

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Defending a Story

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The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.” ― Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian

Today, on All Things Fulfilling, I’ll report my findings as a casual observer of a book club group from Dorchester County, Maryland.The New York the postmistressTimes bestselling book “The Postmistress” by Sarah Blake was discussed the day of the meeting.

In my experience, there are common things readers want to discuss about a book after reading it. The types of critique questions and discourse this East Coast book club had was not so different than any other groups I have witnessed. But, it was evident that each reader had a slightly different point of view about the story, which is why books are worth discussing. Here are some of  the ideas the members talked about:

Did the readers relate to the era of this story? Yes. Most in the book group lived through the times this story was set – World War II era.

Were the characters believable? The postmistress character, one reader said “was too ‘rigid’ to be realistic.” Others disagreed saying it was, “part of the  job.”

Did the author do a good job with character development? Some said yes. Others, no.

Was the storyline effective in evoking memories for the reader? In the case of this book, the answer was an overwhelming Yes!”

Did the readers like the ending? One “bookie” said admittedly, “it is the author’s prerogative to end the story however they see fit. But, she did not like it.”

Other points made in the discussion:
• More than one reader in the group said they “enjoyed her familiarity of the setting (small town Cape Cod),” but they were not fond of reading about war, they had already lived it vicariously through the stories of their fathers, brothers, friends and uncles.
• Another reader stated the meaning behind the narrative was much bigger than the immediate story. The book made a strong statement that “Life goes on despite war.” Note: I have found that universal lessons that go beyond the immediate story, are what makes for a very marketable book.
• One reader said “none of the stories within the book were finished.” Others defended the fact that the book left “things for the reader to figure out, in their own minds, and they like that in books.”
• The consensus seemed to be that a post office in a small town is still the center of community.

As I sat listening to the women’s discussion, I formed my own opinions about the ladies in the book group. Do return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow as I share my general observances of the “bookies.”

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

For the Love of Reading

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To be successful, the first thing to do is fall in love with your work.”  ~ Sister Mary Lauretta

cultivating readers and writerssWe’ve all heard adages about having passion for our work, haven’t we?  Author Joseph Campbell has written a lot about following our bliss. Some people take issue with his teachings but, it does give us fulfilling feelings when we become absorbed in the things we love to do. If you are interested in learning more about  the life and writings of Joseph Campbell, please follow this link. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Campbell.

Today I am feeling so very grateful because I love what I do, and do what I love – consult with independent publishers about selling and marketing their publications over the internet. It affords me the opportunity to delve into the desires of both readers and writers to learn what sells books and what makes for fascinating stories.

Writers, in general, are an interesting group of people. Learning how authors draw from their careers, experiences and their imaginations to create fulfilling tales to share with others, is always insightful. Some authors tell tales that are true to life, others have made up characters, settings and plots, all contrived through the power of their own creativity.

Last week I took an inside look at a book club. I was a casual observer and purposely did not enter into the conversation. I only listened. What factors, I wanted to know, have the greatest influence on the way a reader perceives a story and forms their opinions. Is it the age of the reader or some other individual perspective, or experience that determines whether a reader likes a book or not? Does geographical location change the dynamics of how a book club runs its meetings and critique sessions?

Do return tomorrow as I share my findings as an observer of a book club group. This blog brought to you by www.cornerstonefulfillmentservice.com.