Readers, I’m delighted to welcome back my friend and team member Ginger Horton. She’s the Community Manager for Modern Mrs Darcy Book Club. I asked her to share some reflections on what Book Club was up to this past year. Welcome to the blog, Ginger!
I’ve been a member of the Modern Mrs Darcy Book Club community literally since day one. As I admitted last year, I was a fangirl before I was a team member. The moment the MMD Book Club was announced in 2016, I couldn’t sign up fast enough.
Over the past five years together, I’ve met kindred spirits, heard from some of my favorite authors, added countless books to my TBR (and as importantly whittled books off of my TBR as I learn more about what suits my reading life), and learned to read better together with some of the most insightful readers I’ve ever met.
I thought it would be fun to take a look back at all the bookish goodness we’ve shared together this past year. As we celebrated our five year anniversary this summer, the Book Club member site got a new look, new features, and a brand new Instagram account.
If you’d like to nerd out with me over some numbers, we’ve had:
- 13 authors and experts join us for live book discussions
- 7 Member Meetup small groups
- 5 film watch parties
- 4 seasonal book preview unboxings
- 4 winter series sessions on setting your reading intentions to go along with the Reading Challenge
- 3 sessions of Book School
- 1 Ask Anne Anything session
- a 3-day Readers’ Weekend
Here’s a small taste from each of our three “C’s”—classes, community, and conversation.
Our Winter Series to go along with the Reading Challenge is still paying dividends in readers’ lives. We set our reading intentions, exploring why we read and what we hope to get out of our reading lives. We cleaned out the bookish clutter, and created a capsule bookshelf.
Then this fall, we went back to Book School, learning what kind of classics readers we are, learned more about the writing process for readers and aspiring writers with Kimmery Martin, and explored one of our most frequently asked questions: how to write a book review.
If you ask me, the best part of Book Club is the community. It’s such a thrill to be able to hop on the member site any time, day or night, to gush about that book you just have to talk about right now.
From the dashboard to the forums, from live Member Meetups where we chat in small groups about everything from spring cleaning your bookshelves to discussing that month’s flight pick, from watch parties to seasonal book unboxing events, from informal sessions of Ask Anne Anything to our Readers’ Weekend complete with a bingo challenge and opening and closing ceremonies, bookish people are the best people.
There are fun traditions like YA in May and Austen in August, plus new traditions like Shakespeare in September and our summer Backlist Book Club. We watched films like When Harry Met Sally to King Lear. (Yup, we really watched Nora Ephron and Shakespeare this year, and a few others besides. I love being in a place where people love both Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox and Cordelia and Lear).
When I began to compile the numbers for this post, I could barely believe how many authors and experts we talked to. I remembered how delightful Louise Miller, J. Ryan Stradal, and Nadia Hashimi were when they shared favorite foods or cookbooks. I remembered how Devoney Looser, M.L. Rio, and Bezi Yohannes were so sharp and smart that they took me right back to that delightful “best professor ever” classroom feeling. And I remembered learning things I never knew about graphic novels from Lucy Knisley, the writing life from Lily King, immigrants in the southern United States from Stacey Lee, and moonshine from Amy Jo Burns.
I had forgotten just how many authors we talked to—13 in all! That’s more than one a month. Sure we discuss their books, but as you can see, the conversation always leads in new and surprising directions, and we hear that author talks are one of members’ very favorite parts of Book Club.
With all this bookish goodness it’s hard to imagine how we’ll pack more in before the year is out, but there’s still more to come. On December 16 we’re talking with Ingrid Fetell Lee, author of Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness. (I can’t stop talking about why I love this book!)
We’ve already applied a few Joyful principles in Book Club: abundance, freedom, and surprise are guiding us as we depart from our usual routine in January. Instead, we are hosting a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure read next month, tapping six of the best-loved Book Club reads and empowering members to choose their monthly pick. Rereading is one way experienced readers get more out of their reading lives, and we plan on making a gentle case to consider rereading in a class this January—A Conversation on Rereading.
P.S. Book Club makes a great last minute gift for your favorite bookworm (or for yourself). See all gift membership options here.