LitClub:  BeCommunity Women's Network & Book Club
Marietta, Georgia

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club becommuniity lTHEY READ...they travel...they talk and exchange ideas. Meet this vibrant group from Marietta Georgia—BeCommunity Women's Network and Book Club.

How many members do you have?
We actually have over 100, with about 20 or so who attend the majority of meetings.

So when did you begin...and how?
Our founder Debra got the club off the ground in 2008. Debra is a great reader AND a military veteran, who's moved around a lot. Over the years—and all over the world—she's created various book groups. We're her latest!

What's behind the group's name?
It's a play on words. Debra's mother urged her to name the club after herself as the founder, i.e., Debra's Book Club.

But Debra instead took the idea of "honey bee," which is the meaning of the name"Debra."

She shortened bee to be—so we became BeCommunity, which ultimately refers not only to Debra's but all of our yearnings to BE part of a community.

Great story! So tell us what you've been reading.
Our 2015 list includes the following:
Citizens Creek
Jane Eyre  
Don’t Let Me Go
Rosie Project 
Swan House
Guernesy Literary...Society
Glass Castle
Orphan Train
Signora Da Vinci
David and Goliath
The Secret Place
Night Before Christmas (Scarlett Bailey)
( = links to LitLovers Reviews)

Any all-time favorites?
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein—although parts are sad, the premise of a dog as narrator, explaining his life, is brilliant and funny.

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella—an overall feel good novel about a historical character who appears in the present to help a descendant enjoy her life.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain—how introverts relate to the world and how their different ways of perceiving can make tremendous contributions to the world.

A Walk in the Woods    by Bill Bryson—the first book we read as a group. We loved the tale in which two men embark on a long, arduous trek and, despite their vastly opposite personalities, end up enjoying themselves and appreciating each other.

How about good discussions?
The Help by Kathryn Stockett—paying homage to the women who worked in a domestic capacity. Because our group is comprised of both Caucasian and African American women, we were all able to share our knowledge and experiences from our families to enrich the conversation.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet    by Jamie Ford—a topic unfamiliar to most of us. We learned how Japanese-Americans suffered during World War II: their feeling of displacement while interned in camps.

The Professor & the Madman     by Simon Winchester—the origins of the Oxford English Dictionary. We enjoyed learning how different types of minds came together to create this valuable resource.

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman—characters were forced to face difficult moral decisions, and we were able to place ourselves in their situations, debating why we would, or would not, make the same choices.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls—insight into the human psyche. The book explores the issue of initiative and of homelessness as a possible choice.

Tell us a little about your meetings and how you choose your books.
We meet on the 2nd Tuesday of every month from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at Daily Grind, a local coffee shop. We keep the meetings to an hour-and-a-half.

Our book year runs from October to the following September, and every October members bring their book suggestions. We drop them in a hat and then draw out 12 titles for the coming year.

What about club rules?
We have several.

1. Membership—If you're inactive for a year, you'll be removed from the membership list. But you can always rejoin when your schedule permits

2. Book Selection—You have to have attended at least 6 times within the past year to be eligible to suggest a book for next year's selection.

3. Books—We limit our books to 500 pages. We read fiction, non-fiction, biographies, and we like stories that inspire us.

4. Discussions—We are curious about what others think, so we listen and respond with respect. We debate ideas—not individuals. We welcome differing opinions and so try not to interrupt—although we do love to laugh!

Do you engage in any special club activities?
We do lots within the club: from potluck dinners and book swaps to book-related costumes, quiz games, and movies.

Your photos show some group outings.
Traveling is definitely one of our favorite activities. Not only have we been to the Carson McCullers and Scott Fitzgerald museums (see photos), but we've also visited FDR's "Little White House" in Warm Springs, Ga.

After reading Jon Meacham's American Lion about Andrew Jackson, we paid a visit to the New Echota Historic Site in Calhoun, Ga. Another time, we headed to Savannah to visit the Mercer House, the scene of John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

You also attend plays and movies.
Yes, we love to see live plays and movies based on books. One play in particular—The Book Club Play by Karen Zacarias—was especially relevant. It's a funny take on the complexities of being in a book club!

So what final thing about BeCommunity would you like to tell us?
We are lovers of great books, fascinating movies, learning new things, and broadening our circle of friends. We're always looking to share our personal perspectives and expand our points of view.

Most of all, we take pride in providing a safe place to do all this.

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