Book Club Buzz

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“Reason, observation and experience; the holy trinity of science.” ~ Robert Green Ingersoll

book group insiderAs I conclude my blog series about book clubs, here is what I have ascertained from being a casual observer.

Conclusion:  “Bookies” have their own opinions of what they like in a story. They are spirited and fight respectfully to uphold their side of the debate of whether they think a book was a good read or not.

Conclusion: Journeys of the heart, that incorporate lessons or themes involving moral judgments make for good book discussions.

Conclusion: Avid readers usually make  decent writers. They know what makes for a fulfilling story, and have a vault full of their own wealth of experiences to write about.

Conclusion: Most members are as interested in the author, as the storyline. This leads to curiosity about learning more about the writing process and publishing.

Thus, the group asked me to explain what I do. I said “everything I do in my professional life involves writing and reading. I consult with independent publishers on how to market and sell their products over the internet.”

A discussion ensued about how the publishing industry has changed. No surprise to this group. Many have had the experience of reading e-books. We talked about how digital technology has changed the way books, films and music is being produced. I left them with the thought that people just like themselves who have stories to tell, can now do it and not fear having a warehouse full of books sitting waiting to be sold. Print on demand and e-books have eliminated that.

I’d like to say thank you to the women in the Dorchester County Maryland book club who allowed me to observe their group discussion of “The Postmistress,” and for the opportunity to share with them information about the independent publishing industry. I enjoyed it very much.

Please return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow. The space where independent thoughts, words and views are all part of the business. This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

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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.