At the start of this year, I set off to start a book club. It was just me, I really had no idea how many people would join or if anyone would be interested. The idea was to unplug from technology and start reading again. Last year, I went from reading one book and now here I was setting out to read twelve or more. There are no rules for the book club. I have had a lot of people ask how to join (it is virtual) bonus points if you encourage a friend to read with you. After each book, I would typically pass it off to another friend to read. My Aunt in Ohio has been in on the fun!
This past year I have had a few meet ups, but we never really chatted about the book. Not everyone reads and that is okay. The meet ups were for us to get to know each other better and hopefully walk away with a new friend or two. I have been lucky to to have met so many of you all this year and to build new lasting friendships because of this blog. I have plans for a Facebook Group for 2018 that will allow you all to connect in each city and create your own coffee dates. I really can't wait to watch this community grow.
The book club started out with "Bonjour Kale" by Kristen Beddard. I have literally been on a kale kick all year. I am known for finding a food and eating it over and over (sushi, baguettes, chocolate) but I have joked in the past I am allergic to vegetables. I get that one from my Dad. Kale, was a big step for me. I followed the kale massage and share it with friends and strangers on a regular basis. I typically eat my kale in a salad with lemon and olive oil. The vendor at the local farmers market would see me at least once a week filling my market basket with kale. If you haven't tried it, trust me.
If I had to choose one book that impacted me the most this year it was, "The Nightingale" it had been on my kindle for over a year and I kept skipping it. After I read "All the Light we Cannot See" I was in a complete book hangover and picked up "The Nightingale" I could have read it in two days but I didn't want it to end so I dragged it out. When it finished, I sobbed. If you haven't read this book please read it. Kristen Hannah is one of my favorite authors before this book and I think she did a fantastic job with the story and the history.
A crowd favorite was "The Perfume Collector" this was recommended by a good friend of mine who trained as a perfumer. It sat on her book shelf and the cover caught my eye. It sparked my interest in learning more about the perfume world. It is beautifully written and has made me think differently about Paris when I walk the streets. I am always looking at old store fronts and trying to imagine the history and stories that they hold.
One part of the book club, I didn't expect to happen but so happy it did, was being able to connect and build relationships with the authors. Kristen Beddard of "Bonjour Kale", Amy Thomas, of "Paris My Sweet" and new author of "Brooklyn in Love" and Ann Mah of "Mastering The Art of French Eating" and her newest book coming out "The Lost Vintage" were all in attendance at the Ladurée meet up in New York earlier this year. Keep an eye on these three for future projects and Ann and Amy's new books in 2018.
So what happens next? Over the last year, the book club has been growing and I have introduced people to new books all over the world. It seems a bit crazy but I am going in for round two. I have been incredibly fortunate that I am getting books sent to me as consideration for the book club. One that I will be reading hasn't been released yet, but it is a good candidate for January. I try to read every book in advance or at least enough to know if it is a good fit for my audience. Of course not every book is going to be everyone's favorite and that is okay. But to get people reading and talking about books is the end goal.
I can't thank you enough for joining me on this year of books with me. I do have one book from Ann Mah, "Mastering the Art of French Eating" I want to put a book under someone's tree this year so the cutoff will be short. Comment below and tell me your favorite book you read this year. Also, please include your city and email so I can contact you. If you have book recommendations for next year, I will gladly take them!!