Chatting with an Author

I’ve loved books since I was a little girl and sharing the pleasure of reading with friends always deepens the experience, so I gravitate toward book clubs. Right now I belong to four different groups. One thing they all have in common is that it doesn’t matter if anyone likes the selection. Talking about the characters, plot and themes makes each story meaningful for every reader.

One of my groups has a leader who selects fascinating reads and guides our discussions. Another is delightfully disorganized; we choose books based on whim and our meetings are more like conversations. The other two groups rotate book selection responsibilities and whoever chooses the book leads the discussion. In all of the groups, our meetings successful because every opinion is welcomed.

Sometimes, though, there are special meetings when we listen instead of talking. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to have the author as a guest. Last month, one of my book clubs had the pleasure of speaking with Zoreh Ghahremani, author of Sky of Red Poppies, a One Book, One San Diego selection for 2012.

This vivid novel tells the story of two Persian schoolgirls, one from a privileged background, the other from a deeply religious family, who become friends despite their differences. It’s a beautiful coming of age story set during the political upheaval of the 1960s.

Zoe shared her inspiration for the novel and answered our questions about the culture and history that she brings to life through her words. Her anecdotes and family stories, both funny and sad, added depth to my appreciation for her work and my enjoyment of her writing. Listening to her was delightful and now I want to read her novel all over again.

If your town has a program like One Book, One San Diego, try attending an author event. Or encourage your book club to read local authors and invite them to attend your meetings. I can almost guarantee that your reading experience will be enhanced. If you’re a writer, you’ll be inspired.

Has your book club ever invited an author to speak? What was the meeting like for you?

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27 Comments

Filed under Authors, Books, Writing

27 responses to “Chatting with an Author

  1. This sounds like a great read. 🙂

  2. They sound like very interesting book clubs! I’ve loved reading since I was l little too. Sounds like a interesting book! Thank you for sharing with us!
    God Bless You!
    the collies and chuck 🙂

  3. I’ve never been in a book club but it makes sense to join one. Maybe once I get back to the states and get settled again. I would think the author coming to speak would be a special treat also. Is it a mixed group of males and females? I always see only females in book clubs. Interestingly enough, I never paid that much attention until now.

    • Now that I think about it, my groups are mostly women. Men are welcome at three of them, so I’m not sure why there aren’t more guys. Nothing about the book selection or conversations we have are particularly oriented to women. It’s a mystery.

  4. I’m so glad to hear your book club meeting with Zoe went well. How could it miss with really appreciative readers like you and such engaging and warm authors like Zoe!

  5. Shary, I’m so glad you read it! It’s a wonderful book and Zoe is an amazing woman.

    On another note, I hope you can make it to the next One Book event. Here’s the link for more info: http://www.kpbs.org/events/2012/jun/30/14703/

  6. Shary, would you believe I’ve always wanted to belong to a book club and never have? It’s a crying shame, I tell you. I’ve even looked into the online book clubs. But alas, to no avail. I sighed as I read the descriptions to your different book clubs. They sound like a wonderful group of people who serve to nourish the spirit and the mind! How lovely! 🙂

    • I’ve met some wonderful friends through book clubs. Sharing a love of reading does bring people closer together. If you can’t find a group near you, I bet you could start one. 🙂

  7. Wow! To talk with the author must have been an amazing experience, especially since the theme of the book is unusual.

  8. This sounds like such a wonderful event — and an amazing book, too. I’ve only once been a part of a book group, and it was a mother-daughter group; such fun to attend with my daughter!

  9. Four book clubs? Holy cow! I’ll confess that I love reading, but it’s hard to start when I’m tired and tempted by TV. My MFA is making me read, and I’m grateful for that, but a book club sounds smart once I finish the program. And I love the idea of bringing authors in!

    • I like to veg in front of the TV, too, but I always seem to be in the middle of a book. I guess I’m a fast reader, but it does help when two of my book clubs read the same title. 🙂

  10. Great post! I loved Sky of Red Poppies and think Zoe is just an amazing woman. Thanks for sharing her with the world!

  11. This is great! I love talking about books AND book clubs. Our book club had Eleanor Brown Skype in to discuss The Weird Sisters. It was so much fun! And Eleanor asked us questions that forced all of us to open up a bit more too. It was great!

  12. Hi Shary, this is going to sound completely crazy & off the wall I know, but I have to tell you, I absolutely love the wisteria and think that this is the most beautiful blog I have yet to see. Breathtaking!