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Some Thoughts on Book Clubs

Last night, after a book signing stop at the Barnes & Noble at Old Orchard, I did something really fun. I visited a book club. This is a group of active and dynamic women just outside of Chicago. And it was a group with whom I had absolutely no affiliation or relationship. I walked into a room of complete strangers prepared to talk about something that, for me, is deeply personal and close to my heart.

It could not have gone better.

photo-81I’ve decided that I really love speaking with book clubs. It’s an experience entirely unlike a reading, signing or lecture. In some ways it is way more challenging than getting up and speaking in front of a large group. It’s such an intimate setting, and one that allows for an honest and energizing give and take. It’s quick-thinking, free-wheeling, all-bets-are-off book talk.

And it’s really cool to see how The Traitor’s Wife shifts and changes and evolves right before my very eyes in such a setting.

I sort of thought I knew everything there was know about this book. I spent enough time with it over the past few years, agonizing over every word and considering every single sentence. I wrote it, yes. I put it out there. But, now that it’s out there, everyone who picks it up and reads it now has his/her own relationship with it. Each reader has a different experience.  The characters resonate with everyone differently. Readers react to moments and details in ways that, I confess, I had never even thought of myself. It becomes a dynamic, breathing thing. It’s so fun to see it happen.

Also fun was that this book club came in full festive spirit! See the picture above – do you notice that we were joined by George Washington and Peggy Shippen?

One of the members of this book club is the extremely talented Barbara Rinnella, an academic entertainer who has spent years adapting literature to on-stage programs. She was kind enough to issue the invitation to me to speak at this group. And she will be taking up The Traitor’s Wife in her fall program! I can’t wait to see her performance of it. Talk about a book coming to life!

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