Nora St. Laurent runs two book clubs near the Atlanta area and is the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Book Club Coordinator. She currently writes a Book Club Column for Christian Fiction Online Magazine. You can read author interviews on her Finding Hope Through Fiction blog, located at http://www.psalm516.blogspot.com, and reviews around the web at The Christian Pulse Mag, Title Trakk, Novel Reviews, and Suspense Zone. Nora and her husband run The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org
Mitz Book Club Leader, Parkway Church
What lead up to your starting a book club, Mitz? Had you ever been part of a book club before? What’s your club name?
A love of reading among our church women sparked the creation of our group. I’ve always been a reader and have been in two other book clubs over the past twenty years. My mother was a librarian! Our book club is Parkway Book Club.
Please describe what to expect at your book club meeting.
You can expect a lot of fun and fellowship. We meet about every six weeks on a Monday night at 7 p.m. We generally have around eight in attendance. We keep in touch primarily by e-mail. We also have flyers at church to spark interest among our members. We have a booth at our church’s ministry fair to publicize our group among our church members, especially new members. We always encourage bringing a friend, particularly if they love to read.
How does the book selection process work for your club? Do you vote with a secret ballet?
We rotate hosting the meeting among our members. Someone volunteers, who picks the book for the meeting at their home. The criteria for selection is that the book must be Christian fiction. The hostess also picks the theme for our food, and it’s usually related to the book. (Writers, keep this in mind when you are writing! Book clubs base their menus on what is eaten in your books.). For example, when we read The Potluck Club by Linda Shepherd and Eva Everson, we served traditional church potluck fare. When we read The Wedding Machine by Beth Webb Hart, we enjoyed traditional wedding food. We ate French cuisine when we met for Siri Mitchell’s Chateau of Echoes. The hostess also leads the discussion.
Does your book club socialize outside of your regular meetings? If so, what have you done that you all enjoyed?
Our group was started as a part of the women’s ministry of Parkway Church, Cumming, Georgia. We are friends through church but have become closer as a result of our book club interaction. The various discussions that result from the wide variety of books we’ve read has deepened the bonds among the women in our group. We have had few outings together. The most memorable was a trip to the Swan House after reading The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser. After eating at The Swan Coach House, one of our church members who lived in the area at one time gave us a guided tour of the places mentioned in the book!
What have you read at a book club recently that touched everyone’s hearts and created good discussion?
I looked over our list, and we’ve read over sixty-five books over the past eight years! We have had some favorites. We love many of our local authors: Dale Cramer, Creston Mapes, Ginger Garrett, to name a few. They have been gracious enough to attend our meetings. Some of our other favorite authors are Charles Martin, Elizabeth Musser, Francine Rivers, and Chris Coppernoll. Two recent books that touched our hearts and created good discussion were The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner and Blue Hole Back Home by Joy Jordan-Lake. Both were well written and interesting to discuss.
What are your four personal favorite books of all time?
Besides the Bible, I would have to say The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, When Crickets Cryby Charles Martin, A Time to Kill by John Grisham, and Safely Home by Randy Alcorn. Of course, I could go on and on . . .
Please name four of your personal favorite books while growing up.
The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, The Story of My Life by Helen Keller, and anything by Phyllis A. Whitney.
A friend of yours has given you an opportunity to take a trip in a time machine. What two events in the history of the world would you like to experience?
I would like to experience the life of Christ and the Reformation.
You have the chance to hang out with any two people (alive or dead) in the history of the world (besides Jesus). Who would you pick and what would you do?
I would love to meet Chuck Colson, C. S. Lewis, and Francis Schaeffer, and discuss Christian apologetics. (I had to pick three!)
What movie most impacted you as a child? Why?
The Wizard of Oz. It came on only once a year, and my sister and I loved it. It was quite a trip to take to learn that there is no place like home!
Any final comments, encouragement, warnings, or words of wisdom you would like to say to future book club leaders?
A book club is well worth the time and effort. Reading is such a pleasure, and the discussion helps us get so much more out of the books. Sharing with one another allows us to view the book from different perspectives while deepening the bonds within the group. We have wonderful fellowship, and we all hate to miss a single gathering!
One of my favorite articles about reading can be found HERE.
One of the reasons we
read fiction is because fiction helps train the moral imagination.
Until next time.
BRING YOUR WHOLE GROUP!
Or create a group on our Network.