Today's guest post comes from Kristina Riggle, author of Real Life & Liars, The Life You've Imagined and most recently, Things We Didn't Say. Kristina has graced us with guest posts in the past, on subjects ranging from her family's holiday traditions to her National Reading Group Month gig with fellow author Katrina Kittle. Today Kristina offers us something a little bit different - a book club confession, which I just love.
Confessions of a Book Club Convert
Confession: I never joined a book club until I became an author.
Though I loved the concept of book clubs, I felt my life was already spread too thin to add another date on the calendar. Finishing a book someone else selected by a certain date felt like a homework assignment to me, not to mention eventually I’d have to host the meeting at my house. That would mean cleaning, and vacuuming, and maybe even (gasp) dusting, while I banished the kids and spouse elsewhere. Then I’d have to do the dishes afterward.
I actually love entertaining, but I do so on my own schedule, only when I feel like it, inviting whomever I want.
Then a friend invited me to speak to her own book club. This friend, Melissa, started as a “mom friend” because our kids were friends, and we graduated to “real life” friends, as I call it. I was flattered she suggested Real Life & Liars for her club, though a little nervous they wouldn’t like it.
I shouldn’t have worried. The women were gracious and fun. They certainly didn’t like everything my characters did (no one ever does, that’s the kind of book I write) but they were supportive and interested and asked great questions. We talked for almost two hours.
And they invited me to come again, as a member.
I now call this my “civilian” book club. I love it because we meet for breakfast out at restaurants. (No cleaning the house! No hosting!) I love it because the ladies are funny and smart. I love it because we talk about more than the books. I love it because we draw parallels between the novels and our lives.
I’ve read some books I enjoyed (I Know This Much is True, Wally Lamb) and others I haven’t (the Dragon Tattoo book is not my thing). We had fascinating discussions about The Help by Kathryn Stockett and its implications in modern society. Because of my book club I re-read To Kill a Mockingbird. I missed that particular breakfast, but I’m grateful for being prodded to read this again. As a teen I lived in Scout’s skin thoroughly; now I identify with Atticus. I cried three times reading it, this time around.
Am I sometimes racing to finish the book in time? Sure. Do I always love the selection? Nope. But my civilian book club isn’t getting rid of me now.
By the way, we haven’t read any more of my own books, and that’s fine with me. It’s fun sometimes to be a reader first, writer second. After all, I first fell in love with books by reading them. And talking about them…