SAY HELLO to psReadMore, a group of devoted readers from Louisville, Kentucky. They're now in their 5th year and still counting.
Where does your name come from? It's unusual.
Peri, our founding member, sold books online, and her website included the initials of her name. When she closed the business, she donated the leftover books but kept the website. It seemed like a perfect name for a book club.
Yes, it's clever: like psst...keep on reading. So how many members?
Nine, including one who just moved to Florida. We intend to video conference so she can still participate in the discussions. But she's on her own for dinner!
You're in your 5th year— that's great.
Yes. We started out with a field trip to a book signing and interview with Elizabeth Gilbert. We purchased signed copies of Eat, Pray, Love.
So let's talk about your books. What have you read this past year?
Here's a list of our most recent books:
Water is Wide*
Visions of Sugar Plums
Book of Days
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter...
* We read this to prepare for Pat Conroy's scheduled book-signing for The Death of Santini.
Tell us about your grading system.
Each member gives a grade to the book we just read. The grades are plugged into a spreadsheet in order to calculate the average grade—which ranges anywhere from A+ to an F-.
Has any book ever received an A+?
Actually, out of 53 books read, only 4 got an A+ grade: The Help ♦ A Thousand Splendid Suns ♦ World Without End ♦ Fall of Giants.
You guys are tough. What about failures?
One in particular got a "failing" grade: Jonathan Miles' Dear American Airlines. The description of the book read, "A hilariously excoriating demand for a refund soon becomes a lament for a life gone awry, for years misspent, talent wasted, and happiness lost.” None of us found it hilarious...or even mildly entertaining. [Ouch! —Ed.]
What are your discussions like?
They're almost always good, but the most intriguing discussions take place under two conditions:
How do you select your books?
When we had only 5 members, we simply voted, but as we grew there were too many suggestions for a vote. Now we put our recommendations into the "book bowl" (literally a bowl), and a member draws the book for the next meeting.
Just two: read the book...and no men! (Occasionally we allow a husband to fix himself a plate—as long as he takes it to another room.)
We've invited two authors to our meetings—James Markert (A White Wind Blew) and Teddi Robinson (The Meddlers). We've watched movies based on our books and attended author signings/interviews together. We also had a retreat called “Women at Prayer,” which wasn’t really book related, but the dynamic of our group-sharing was perfect for the setting of a prayer retreat.
One final question—how would you describe your club?
We're a group of women with a desire to read, learn and share. How many people go to a movie together and when it is over the discussion goes no further than "Did you like it?" or "Yes, it was a good movie." Our members like to get to know a book's characters, relate to them, and then share the feelings. We all have a desire to learn and reading is a wonderful educator. [Amen to that! —The Ed.]
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