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Nothing screams ‘suburban mom’ more than book club. Well, hand me the keys to a Honda Odyssey, chop five inches from my hair and call me Kathy – because I LOVE BOOK CLUB!
It’s a club alright – but not much is about the book itself. More than anything, it’s a fun excuse to get out with friends. I love my book club, but we’ve totally made it our own. Today I’m sharing three fresh takes on book club that make it a little less PTA-meeting and little more post-bedtime-party. Plus, I’m giving you some recommendations for your next read!
Host a Podcast Group
Not everyone can commit to reading a whole book each month, but everyone and their grandma is listening to podcasts. Pick a podcast episode to listen to and then meet to discuss it. Need some help picking a podcast? I love Happier with Gretchen Rubin, Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations (because, Oprah,) and Work Life with Adam Grant.
Make it a Sharing Book Club
The worst part of a traditional book club? Having to lie and pretend you read the book when you really didn’t. Or trying to agree on a book to read in the first place. Bypass all of that by making it a sharing book club instead.
Essentially, you all get together and share what you read that month – it could be fiction, non-fiction, a magazine article, or the back of a shampoo bottle. You can make it completely open, or pick a theme of the month, like your favorite historical book or Motherhood-related books to celebrate Mother’s Day (I have lots of great Mother’s Day book picks here).
If you’d like, you can swap books at the end to borrow. If not, you’ll definitely leave with a long list of great books to read next.
Try a Children’s Literature Book Group
I stole this idea from my idol Gretchen Rubin (writer, podcaster, fellow-redhead). She meets with not one, not two, but three! groups of fellow children’s literature lovers to share their thoughts and insights on a chosen reading.
Reading children’s literature can be so refreshing, because when the world seems gloomy and dark, we can always count on some good guys to win. Think The Little Princess, Harry Potter, and Charlotte’s Web. Need more inspiration? Check out Gretchen Rubin’s list of 81 children’s and young adult favorites.
Now that you have some fresh ideas to start your book club, let me offer you some good reads to pick up next.
I’ve had so many friends recommend the memoir Educated by Tara Westover and I can’t wait to read it! The author was raised in the Idaho mountains without any formal education. Though her family forbade school, hospitals, and most of the rest of modern society, she educated herself enough to get into Brigham Young University (my alma matter), then Harvard and Cambridge.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb is so incredibly relatable for me. Gottlieb is an award-winning writer and praised psychotherapist who finds herself on the other side of the therapy session after a personal crisis.
I read A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler last summer at our family’s lake house and fell in love with Tyler’s characters. This novel follows your typical suburban family across generations, spilling guarded family secrets and showing just how feisty grandmas were back in their heyday.
There’s been so much buzz about Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and it’s totally justified. It’s a combination of coming-of-age romance + murder mystery. Not so scary you’ll be afraid to read it alone, but exciting enough to keep you reading.
One of the rare books that my husband is also interested in reading, Bad Blood by John Carreyrou details the Theranos scandal. In case you missed it, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes created a multi-billion dollar blood testing company out of a complete scam. Carreyrou was one of the first to raise a red-flag about the company having seemingly no evidence of it’s effectiveness, and ended up uncovering the lies going on inside the labs. Very binge-worthy, and will make you skeptical of Silicone Valley startups.
I hope these ideas inspire you to start – or revamp – your book club. My book club has been such a fun way to make & bond with friends and I seriously look forward to it every month. Tell me, what are you reading right now? What should my next book club pick be?