About two years ago I started a book club at my job. There are two other main members, both faculty members and PhDs -- a woman who grew up in Morocco and was educated in France and a man who immigrated from Russia after the fall of communism. Others drop in and out. We're very informal. Anyone can suggest a book, anyone can come to the meetings. The only rule we follow is that we do non-fiction one month, fiction the other. I can be a bit snobbish about the books I read, so one of the reasons I established the anyone-can-suggest rule is to get out of my comfort zone, and I haven't been disappointed. I wouldn't have read Eat, Pray, Love or Where Men Find Glory on my own, but I ended up enjoying both.
This month we're reading Hush, by Eishes Chayil, a YA novel which was nominated for the Morris award. It's a story about the consequences of silence about sexual abuse in a small community -- in this case, a Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn. When I lived in Brooklyn I lived in the very neighborhood in which the book is set and I recognized quite of bit of it, so perhaps that gave the book an extra interest for me. Who knows what the others in the group will think?
By the way, I've suggested a couple of YA novels to the group, and the one book they loved was The Hunger Games.
As I've mentioned already, last fall I found a SCWBI crit group in my area. We meet every other Saturday at a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf near UNLV, and recently we've grown so much we hardly fit in the room anymore. I am really amazed by the talented people in the group and I just want to celebrate a bunch of recent successes. First, Nancy won honorable mention in a Tommy Di Paola-judged contest illustrating "Heidi." Second, Sharon won a Meegenius e-book contest and will have her picture book published on that platform. Third, Michael won honorable mention (26th out of 1000s of entries) in a contest sponsored by Writer's Digest. I so enjoy meeting and socializing -- and reading to -- these guys twice a month.