LitClub:  No Name Book Club
Tarrant County, Texas

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WHAT'S IN A NAME? This group has dozens of other words, no name
. They've been around since 2008 and do pretty well without one.

Let's talk about your no-name name. What's that about?
We couldn't settle on a name, so now it's a running gag. We might change the name monthly, playing off a title...or maybe just making a joke. Here's a sampling:

• "Take Your Time, No Pressure" Book Club
• "At 880 Pages, This Better Be A Kick-Ass Book!" Book Club
• "It's Always the Husband" Book Club
• "We Skipped a Month So No One Has An Excuse Not To Finish the Book" Book Club
• "This Sequel Has a Lot To-Live Up-To" Book Club.

What's your story?
Three of us came up with the idea for the club over dinner one night. We were serious about who to invite: those who WOULD read the book and be able to discuss it with strong opinions.

How many members?
There are seven of us. People we know often comment, "I want to join your book club! It sounds so great!" But we've kept it at seven.

So what have you read lately?
Here's our list over the past year:
Defending Jacob
Night Circus
Paris Wife
Book Thief
State of Wonder
Tiger's Wife
Gone Girl
A Good Year
Cutting for Stone

Any favorites over the years?
The following books really engaged us, often leading to laughter or tears.
Art of Racing in the Rain
19th Wife
One Thousand White Women
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Glass Castle
Same Kind of Different as Me
Red Tent
The Help

Some books have led to truly great discussions about our personal choices (Interestingly, the first two books are by Alice Genova):
Left Neglected
Still Alice
Good Mother

Any disappointments?
Well, let's call it our "Most Awkward Discussion EVER": The Sweet Potato Queen's Book of Love. We couldn't find a thing to talk about. Unfortunately, our hostess surprised us with a call from the author! We COULD NOT even think of anything to ask her....until one of our members asked about a secret recipe, only to find out it was actually in the book but she'd skimmed it. Very embarrassing!

Ouch. So, moving on...any club rules?

  1. We've established a "Dome of Silence"—what's said at book club, stays at book club.
  2. From our original bylaws: NO Janet Evanovich, Twilight, or Harry Potter. And after one very bad experience: now, NO Nicholas Sparks.
  3. Another steadfast rule is that everyone must READ THE BOOK—one member did try to fool us once by couching her opinions in wine references..."It was full bodied and robust, with a strong finish!"
  4. Finally, no spouses or kids. And bring a bottle of wine. (You'd be surprised how much wine seven women and drink.) [, we wouldn't. —Ed.]

So you banned your husbands.
Well, they don't have a lot of room to complain. They started their own club—the No Ma'am Club—so they could talk sports and drink beer. But they couldn't pull it off: the club has pretty much come and gone.

From your photos, it looks like you have fun with book themes.
We do. For The Help , Diana served the group in wearing a maid's uniform and even ate at a separate table. We read Paris Wife and dressed in bridesmaid dresses to honor a member who as getting married in Paris. We also dress as a book character every year at our October meeting. Last year we had three Left Neglected wives.

What are the Bookie Awards?
We celebrate our anniversary every year—which is when we present our annual Bookie Awards. They are based on categories we come up with after reading a book. These are a few recent ones...

  • Most Likely to Turn Over a Dead Body (Defending Jacob)
  • Most Likely to Sleep With a Broom (11/22/63)
  • Most Likely to Have a Conversation With Their Top Off (Gone Girl)
  • Most Likely to Have Her Husband Track Her Menstrual Cycle in a Little Black Book (Paris Wife).

We also have a few standard awards we give out every year...for hostess, best book, and worst book—our infamous "Bloody Toad Award" (see photo).

What would you like us to know about your club?

We were all friends before book club, and most of us worked together. Our families were, and still are, close. In the last five years, we've moved on to other jobs, gotten married, had kids... so sometimes book club is the only time we can ALL get together in a month. It's a priority for all of us. We are very dear to each other and very protective about the club.

Finally, how would you describe your club and its members?
Our members are smart, funny, sarcastic, creative, clever, quick-witted women who work hard, and are great moms and spouses.

* Photos: All themed-up—clockwise (starting beneath the wine glass): target and arrows from We Need to Talk About Kevin, with Lizbeth Salander from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo; wine bottle from A Good Year; three women (left-right-front) wife from Left Neglected, Sadie from 11/22/63, and a character out of The Red Tent; severed hand and arm from The Fourth Hand.

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