Nora St.Laurent runs two book clubs near the Atlanta area and this year became ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Book Club Coordinator. She currently writes a Book Club Column for Christian Fiction Online Magazine. You can read her reviews and author interviews on her Finding Hope Through Fiction blog located at http://www.psalm516.blogspot.com/ Nora also runs The Book Club Network on Facebook
Interview with Leader of the Chick Lit Book Club & Review
What led up to your starting a book club? Had you ever been a part of a book club before?
In 2004 I joined the ACFW online book club; I had never been a part of a book club of any kind before. I was not very involved but enjoyed reading about the authors and I read a couple of the book selections. Since I had set up an e-mail address specifically for the book club, I slowly quit checking it as life got busy. Then after a year or so went by I remembered that sweet little online book club and wanted to start again. Sure enough, when I checked my e-mail I was still getting their e-mails, so I jumped right back in and started entering book drawings and reading along with the book club.
About the time I had reconnected with the ACFW online book club, the Lord was working on some very specific things in my life. I wanted to be serious about living for Jesus or to be, as the old saying goes, “Sold out for Jesus”! I started thinking about how some of the books that I had been reading were not at all fitting with my Christian morals and beliefs and thought I was hypocritical to continue reading them. Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are a few good secular authors and books out there that are fine, but as a whole I knew that I could really do without most of them. As Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (NASB emphasis mine). (This is one of my favorite verses.) What goes into our minds matters!
I was flipping through the TV channels one day and Oprah was on. She was introducing her new book for her book club! I thought it would be fun to join something like that, but all of her selections were non-Christian. I felt a deep burden to do something. If I were able to start a book club, we would read only Christian authors.
For the next few days I thought about what it would be like to have my own book club here in town. As I thought about it all, I went around asking my friends if they would be interested in such a book club. All of the women I asked said that they were interested! Confirmation!
As ideas were forming in my mind, God laid some things on my heart and I knew that I needed to pray. I eventually met with the Women’s Ministry leader from my church to make it official. I was going to lead this book club by faith and faith alone because I had no idea how to even begin! I am not usually a person who speaks in front of a group or leads a group, yet I wanted to start a book club?!! This was a giant leap of faith! But I was up for it!
Gradually things started coming together, and The Chick Lit Book Club & Book Smart Review (we called it in the beginning) was up and running.
I know that you have a coleader, Deborah Leathers. How
did you meet her? When did she become your coleader? What are her duties?
I met Deborah Leathers (and her husband) at a Bible study group several years ago and we became fast friends! In fact, our husbands are also best buddies! So it was just natural to ask Deborah if she would come along side of me and help me with this wonderful new thing that we call a book club!
I realized that I was trying to do too much all by myself, so I asked the ladies if they could help in different areas. Deborah willingly accepted and eventually became my coleader. Her duties are to help me in general, stand in for me when I cannot be present, e-mail member reminders, put together new member gift bags, help get book author interviews set up, take turns leading the book club discussions, review books when she is able, help post flyers, and meet with me on a regular basis so that communication is excellent!
Hi, Lucie, I’m interested in being a part of your book club. Could you please describe for me what I can expect? What do your typical meetings look like?
We are a group of women of various ages ranging from early thirties to mid sixties. Right now we have about twelve members, and usually six to eight are present at each month’s meeting.
At the Chick Lit Book Club meetings, we enjoy reading, chatting, and getting to know one another. We meet at Starbucks once a month for our regular book club meetings and discuss the book of the month while we sip our favorite coffee! We share our deepest thoughts at times and we gain insight into one another’s lives through our conversations.
We meet at Deborah’s house when we have a speakerphone interview with an author. (We tried meeting at the coffee shop when we had a speakerphone interview and we couldn’t hear the book author very well over the espresso machine! So a word to the wise, have your speakerphone interviews in a quiet place.)
Besides discussing our book of the month, every other month we also vote from a selected list of reviewed books what we’ll read next.
The complete interview can be read and pictures from this group seen on my blog Finding Hope Through Fiction: www.psalm516.blogspot.com.
If you belong to a book club or are a book club leader, I’d love to feature your group in one of my interview you can contact me at email@example.com.