I tried running a book club in grad school, but after a few months we gave up pretenses and started drinking in bars. I do wish I could talk about books sometimes with people who have also read them. But the truth is, clubs are hard for me, with their set meeting times and leaving of houses. Now I think I’ve found a book club that will work for me. Litographs is a cool bookish website that makes t-shirts, tote bags and the like printed with the actual words from beloved books. Like, all of the actual words. If you find that hard to visual, just check out their web page. I haven’t bought anything because I’m cheap, but I like their stuff.
So anyway, they are launching a book club later this month, and I got invited to join. Here’s how it works.
- Booksellers from four independent bookstores around the country each pick one book. For this inaugural selection, Justus from Elliott Bay Bookstore here in Seattle picked Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda.
- Book club members pick one of the four chosen books. They get 20% off if they choose to buy the book from the club, but there is no obligation to buy anything.
- Book club members get a free goody related to the book – like a temporary tattoo or a decal with a quote from the book on it.
- After they read the book, they write a shelf talker (a 50 word review, usually handwritten) about it, which they share on the book club website.
- Some of the shelf talkers get used at the real life bookstores, and books you love get read by more people, maybe.
I thought it sounded cool, so I signed up as a beta member. I wrote up a shelf talker for The Orenda, since I’ve already read it and Joseph Boyden is one of my favorite authors. Here’s what I wrote:
A challenging book. The Orenda is as violent as the collision of European and indigenous cultures. But that’s not the challenge. “Orenda” means something different to each character: the individual soul, universal spiritual energy. Regardless, the characters’ fates imply the orenda is destined to be a lost thing. Challenging indeed.
But in keeping with the spirit of a book club (read more books) I plan to read Charlotte Gordon’s Romantic Outlaws about Mary Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft before the year is out.
Since I signed up early, I get to invite other early birds. If you want to join, let me know in the comments and I will send you an invitation. Or you can just wait like a week until it goes live and check it out here.