Annual Book Club Retreat


Earlier this month my in-person book club had our annual retreat.

I almost skipped out on it. I was a week out from surgery, and it just seemed like a lot of hassle. But I did figure that I could rest there as well as at home, plus my husband insisted that as long as I felt well enough, I should go.

Note to self: don’t ever talk yourself out of things last-minute, because you ALWAYS think staying home sounds better when it comes time to actually pack and leave. And you are always glad when you don’t skip out on plans.

Fortunately, I did not skip out, and I went. As always, I had a lovely time. The food was terrific, and the time spent hanging out with friends was great. Totally worth leaving home and driving out of town for it all!

The house was beautiful, and I read and read. The only thing I really wish was different was the lack of wifi or a good cell signal. We wanted to plan books for next year and not having access to my Goodreads account or other booklists that I have online made that much more difficult!

Pictures #2, 3, and 6 are mine. The other are by Sarah Ronk. Thanks for the images Sarah!

Three on a Theme: Jane Eyre

My in-person book club reads an annual “book flight,” inspired by a post at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

This year the theme voted on by our members was Jane Eyre. (I’m excited about this, as I didn’t think it would be the winner, but it was my pick).

The first book in our trio is, not surprisingly, Jane Eyre.

For a reimagining of the Jane Eyre story, we’ll also read Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye. What sort of reimagining? Well, Jane is a serial killer, so I’m guessing a pretty creative one.

The final book in our flight is the 2016 biography Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart, by Claire Harman. I’m hoping we gain a new appreciation for Brontë’s work through looking at her life and times.

I can’t wait to dive into these three, which is good because, at over 1500 pages between the three, I need to get moving on reading them before our October meeting where we’ll be discussing them. 🙂

Find Jane Eyre: Print | Kindle | Audible | Nook | Goodreads

Find Jane Steele: Print | Kindle | Audible | Nook | Goodreads

Find Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart: Print | Kindle | Audible | Nook | Goodreads

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Book Club Retreat

Harry Potter 1 2 3As you read I’m at my book club’s annual retreat. We’re at a new location this year, and it’s a smaller group than in years past, so got a different feel. It’s also located next to a working farm, so the setting is quite different. I do miss the pond view from our last spot.

It also has a different feel because I’m child-free for the weekend. The last two years I’ve had my youngest along with me, but this year she’s old enough (as in, she’s stopped nursing) to leave her at home with the other two. It’s my first time away from her so fingers crossed she doesn’t decide she desperately needs me this weekend! I already heard that both girls were sobbing the first night at bedtime, so I sure hope that doesn’t continue.

Moving on to happier things: we do talk books during the weekend. We’ve done a “book flight” the last two years, and that’s always a fun way to read for a long weekend. This year our book flight is the Harry Potter series (or the original seven books; we didn’t include the new book).

Because in past years I’ve found the retreat provides me a rare opportunity to work on jigsaw puzzles (small children + puzzles = disaster) I’ve brought along a new one that fits in with the theme. The Hogwarts School Crests! Doesn’t this look fun?

Harry Potter crests puzzle

And, one of the other book club members has the Harry Potter Clue board game and brought it. I’m looking forward to trying it!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Introducing Booked: Reading Together
Two years ago: Looking for a new 31 Days series?
Three years ago: 31 Days of Great Nonfiction: My Berlin Kitchen
Four years ago: 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads {Day 1} A Girl Named Zippy

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Planning for 2017’s Book Club

book club planning

The Original Plan

In a post not long ago, I mentioned the planning I had done about possible books for my in-person book club to read in 2017. And I mentioned the next step was a survey for everyone to vote on what they wanted.

However, as I made the survey (and was reminded just. how. long. it. was) I couldn’t help but realize that for most people (i.e., everyone who isn’t obsessive about book possibilities like me), it was going to be completely overwhelming.

So. Rethinking things I realized that the main reason I wanted to pick all the books for that book club in advance was so I could be sure to pick different books for my Facebook book club. As last year there was a strong preference by everyone to know all the titles for the year in advance, I wanted to do that again. And that didn’t *really* require the in-person group to decide everything first.

New Plan

I will go ahead and pick what I want for my Facebook book club. My in-person book club will continue to pick books on a shorter lead time (although at least 3 months out, to provide plenty of time for everyone to acquire and read the books).

I’ve got a good start on that plan, and hope to announce those picks in late November, so anyone joining in will have all of December to read January’s pick.

Looking Ahead at 2017’s Books

As with this year’s selections, I’m intentionally picking books that I have *not* read, but am trying to read enough about them to ensure they’re going to be good discussion options.

Also like this year, I’m aiming for a mix of genres, and I think my biggest struggles so far has been picking the ONE option for various genres. I have two Science Fiction books that both seem like they’d be great – which one to choose? I have about 8 Fantasy possibilities, and need to really look into them to decide which will be selected. I’m scared to even do a final count of all of the Historical Fiction I’m considering – it’s a lot.


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

Three years ago: Book Review: WorkShift

A Book Club Dinner Party

Last Thursday was my in-person book club’s annual dinner party, one of my favorite nights of the year.

This year our book was My Life in France, so of course we had a French-themed dinner!

My Life in France dinner party meal(photo credit: Janet McKnight)

We had beef bourguignon & garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus with hollandaise, Provencal tomatoes, green salad, and bread.

Plus macarons, chocolate cake, and wine. 🙂

It was, as always, a lovely evening.

While we don’t always match the menu to the book, it worked well this month, and it added quite a bit to the appreciation of the book to actually taste some of the items she described in it.

The only downside to the dinner party is I find we rarely discuss the book much, and I’m always happy that typically our book club actually discusses our books. We chatted briefly about the book, and the reality of trying to cook meals like that, but mostly we just socialized. By now we know that’s likely to happen at this meeting, and we choose our book for the month accordingly. 😉

It is a lovely book however, so don’t take our lack of discussion about it to mean that it’s not worth reading. It absolutely is, and you can read more about my thoughts on it in my original post about it from 2012.


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

Four years ago today I started this blog – thank you all so much for reading it!
Two years ago: Magic in the Mix
Three years ago: First Blog Birthday
Four years ago: Welcome to The Deliberate Reader

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!