LitClub:  Reading Cove Book Club
Online: Yahoo Groups

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HERE'S AN ONLINE GROUP that's been around for 17 years! — a remarkable record of success. We asked Millenia, the group's founder what prompted her to start the Reading Cove. Here's our conversation.

So tell us: why did you decide to start The Reading Cove Book Club?
There were so many online book clubs that were filled with dozens of members, but they were either ...

1) virtual graveyards, with only a handful of participants, or

2) engaged in more off-topic banter than actual book talk!

So the Reading Cove came about to provide a reasonable structure, along with membership guidelines to help maintain focus.

We also wanted a group that would encourage each other to try different genres — genres that may be outside one's normal comfort zone.

How many members do you have?
At the moment 15 — and we're all over the map with members ranging from the U.S. to Scotland to Australia!

Over the years, we’ve had as many as 32 members and as few as 10. We have several long-term members who’ve been with the club for 10+ years.

What have you been reading this past year?
Here's our list from the beginning of the year:

That Night
Choral Society
Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase
Revenge of Middle-Aged Woman
Unbroken Line of the Moon
Silent Child
Small Great Things
Life We Bury
Ford County
When We Collided
The City
See What I Have Done

Any favorites over the years?
Our all-time faves are those that earned an A average in our grading poll, sparked the most exciting and enjoyable discussions, and are the most memorable!

Some of the Cove's favorites include: Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns both by Khaled Hosseini, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, Marley and Me by John Grogan, The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain.

The Dive from Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer led to one of our most memorable discussions. We had quite a contrast of passionate feelings about how the female protagonist reacted to her fiance becoming a quadriplegic—and sparks flew!!

Any disappointments over the years?
Perhaps our most memorable disappointment was Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins. One of our rare F reads, it was akin to a sleeping pill. How this became a New York Times Bestseller is beyond this humble book club. We felt it was literary fantasy gone all kinds of wrong … because all we gleaned was confusion.

More recently, we were all very disappointed with our November 2017 pick, Dean Koontz's The City. We all felt it was like watching grass grow. You either had to skim to get through for the discussion, or just plain give up because you fall asleep at the mere thought of picking it back up again.

How do you select your books?
At the end of each month, we have a trivia quiz on our monthly selection. The member who scores highest on the quiz (after any earned bonus points are added) gets to offer up 3 books in any genre for a poll.

Then the entire group votes to chose the next read from those 3 selections. We also choose our books 4 months in advance to allow everyone around the world ample time to obtain and read them.

Your book club has a lot of activities. Tell us about the neat stuff you do.
Sometimes authors join us for our podcast discussion of their books, or they agree to do e-mail interviews! We also have members who like to meet on Skype for a discussion.

And, yes, we have tons of fun with games and activities each month. Members can earn bonus points by playing games made available in our Trivia Cove and Goodreads group. The bonus points are applied to the monthly trivia quizzes.

Members can also earn bonus points by simply being consistent in their participation in monthly book discussions and by sharing daily thoughts about whatever books they're currently reading.

Do you have any rules?
We sure do!

  1. We don’t support lurking. All members are expected to contribute on a weekly basis, sharing thoughts about what they’re reading.
  2. Members must read at least 4/6 of the monthly picks and join in the discussions.
  3. Off Topic (OT) is kept to a minimum. We have a separate group for the members who want to have off-book-topic conversations.

Better define that "lurking" in #1. It sounds a little sinister.
Not really, but we don't encourage it. Lurking is when a person joins but never contributes. It's someone who just sort of settles back, letting others carry the weight of the discussions, and never works to ensure the success of the Cove.

You're an online book club, but from your photos, it looks as if you've met in person.
Yes, we've had two retreats — in Orlando, Florida, and Charleston, South Carolina.

None in Scotland, eh?
Not yet.

What final words about the Reading Cove would you you like to impart?
We're always looking for great new members who read voraciously and enjoy sharing their passion with others! If you're a bookworm who's never without a book or two on the go, you may fit right in!

Please visit our website for info about The Reading Cove Book Club.

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