Thursday, September 23, 2010

Book Clubs and Reading Challenges...

First, some super exciting news: it looks like I’m going to be joining a face-to-face book club! Two friends of mine recently decided they want to start one, and I pretty much invited myself to join them. The first book we’ll be reading is The Birth House by Ami McKay (which I’ve actually already read, but I don’t mind rereading it). I think the second book they’ve picked might be The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. If this gets off the ground, I’m planning to suggest we read Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen next!


I also recently discovered the 2011 “The Women of Science Fiction” Book Club at Dreams and Speculation, which I’m officially joining via this post. Of the 13 selected books, the only one I own and haven’t read is The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin. I’m also interested in rereading both Doomsday Book by Connie Willis and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. In addition, my local library has copies of Cordelia’s Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold, China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh and Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon. Finally, I'd also really like to read Mappa Mundi by Justina Robson and the bonus book, Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree, Jr. It’s probably unrealistic to think I’ll read more than six books for this club, and even that’s a lot, so I’ll have to pare down this list at some point!


I’m also officially joining the Memorable Memoir Reading Challenge hosted by Melissa at The Betty and Boo Chronicles. I’ve already read two memoirs for this challenge (Devotion: A Memoir by Dani Shapiro and Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship by Gail Caldwell, both of which were great books)—I just need to review them! Other books I might read for this challenge include:

Finally, I’m taking the plunge and joining the Readers Imbibing Peril (R.I.P.) V Challenge hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings at the Peril the Second level, which means reading two books in the following genres: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Dark Fantasy, Gothic, Horror or Supernatural. My plan is to read at least two of the following four books:
Have you read any of the books I plan on reading? Are there any you would particularly recommend (or disrecommend)? Do you have any advice for a first-time book clubber?


  1. I'm so excited for your new book club! I don't see how it couldn't go well starting off with The Kite Runner...that is one that my entire group loved.

    Good luck with your new challenges!

  2. Have fun with your in person book club. I've been missing mine due to work and weekend travel. There's something about reading and then discussing books with others that is so satisfying! Good luck with your challenges too. I don't believe I've read any of your selections so will look forward to your review.

  3. Now this is exciting... for me anyway since I'm a huge scifi fan ... a Women of Science Fiction book club! I am heading over there to sign up right now. I've only read a few of the books listed so this will be fun.

  4. Enjoy your book club and reading challenges! Both are wonderful ways to share your love of books and reading. :)

  5. I hope your book club is a smashing success! Good luck with the challenge!

  6. Wow, you've set yourself some big goals there! You're braver than me - I'm lousy at challenges. I do like the sound of the RIP one though. I've only read The Kite Runner that you're planning to read for your RL book club. There was a part in that one I wasn't crazy about but I won't say what it is.

    It's funny because I stopped going to my RL book club - there were just too many books chosen that I didn't really want to read, that's the chance you take though. They are fun for the social aspects.

  7. Wonderful news about your book club. Great books, good discussions, wonderful friends, sounds great!

    You piqued my interest about the Memorable Memoir Challnge since I've discovered I really enjoy memoirs.

    It's awesome you are joining the RIP Challeneg! I am on my 2nd book & so happy I'm participating. I haven't read any of the books you listed and am really only familiar with author Laura Lippman so I'm going to look up your books!

    ~ Amy

  8. That's a lot of challenges! And a lot of books :) I just wanted to say quickly that... I LOVE THE BIRTH HOUSE!! That is all. :)

  9. How fun to join a face to face book club! That is one of my New Year's resolutions.

    And I have "First Come Love, Then Comes Malaria" to read too ... it looks really good. I totally want "Undress Me In the Temple of Heaven" too.

    As far as The Sister, I'll be curious to see what you think ... it was an odd book that left me a bit confused!

  10. Can I just say that I'm a bit jealous??? I would love to join your bookclub!!!! Have fun with that and the challenges.

  11. I'm holding back from joining more challenges, since I joined way too many this year and can't keep up with all of them. I am going to take a look at the SF Women's list though, to see if there are any books I want to add to my reading list.

    Good luck with the challenges!

  12. Thanks, Jo-Jo, I'm really excited about it too. And it looks like we may have recruited two more members this past weekend, which would bring us up to five.

    Thanks, Kathleen! The disadvantage of writing reviews is that you can't include spoilers (or at least I don't want to), whereas with a book club, I'll be able to pick apart individual scenes in the book without worrying about that. My only worry, in fact, is that like you, I'm pretty busy as it is, so I'm hoping I won't miss too many of our meetings!

    Yay, Leslie, I'm so glad you're joining too! I love SF but don't read enough of it and I'm excited about discovering a bunch of new authors.

    Thanks, Suko and Kathy. I just hope I haven't bitten off more than I can chew!

    Donna, I actually suck at challenges too, but these ones seemed doable. About the book club, that's one thing I'm a bit worried about: that we'll be reading books I'm not that interested in. But I guess I can always skip those meetings!

    Amy (from The House of Seven Tails), you partially inspired me to join the R.I.P. Challenge! I'm glad you're enjoying it so far. Oh and definitely check out the Memorable Memoir Challenge. I'm kinda hoping Melissa will run it again next year (and I'll sign up earlier!).

    Amy (from Amy Reads), yeah, I hope I'm not taking on too much. But the online book club only starts next year, so I have some time for that one! (I loved The Birth House too!)

    Jenners, I've read mixed reviews of The Sister (I probably read yours in fact), so we'll see about that one. I'm really excited about the F2F book club! :)

    Staci, I totally wish you could join my bookclub! Thanks for the encouragement.

    Alyce, I kept meaning to join challenges this year and haven't until now (other than the one that I'm not doing a very good job of hosting). We'll see if I can keep up with them all!

  13. The Suspicions of Mr. Whichler was pretty good. I read it earlier this year. Enjoy whatever you end up reading!

  14. Thanks, Kailana! I've actually already read The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher -- I'm hoping that a reread will inspire me to review it this time. (I really enjoyed it the first time I read it.)

  15. Hey there. Thanks for stopping by my blog. It's so nice to see another blog that focuses on women's fiction!
    That book group for Women's Science Fiction sounds really cool. I'm a big fan of literary science fiction, and I thought that The Dispossessed by Le Guin was absolutely excellent. I'd definitely recommend it. I'll have to check out the rest of that list for some ideas. Maybe I'll even join, if I can find the time.
    Th Kite Runner was not a book I was very fond of, but it seems that a lot of people disagree. If your group ends up reading it I'll have to stop by and see what you think.
    You have a wonderful blog. Count me as a new follower. :)