Over the past decade, book clubs have evolved from a fad to a cultural institution (thank you, Oprah!) As an author, I couldn’t be happier. I find it wildly rewarding to be invited to book clubs to discuss my work. I have gone to them often in person and, for the past two years, appeared “virtually” via Skype, iChat, speaker phone and most other electronic means you can think of. I have attended women’s, men’s and mixed book clubs at homes and more public venues from Nova Scotia to Texas. I have enjoyed them all and even made a few new friends along the way.
Of course, it’s a great opportunity to promote my work and introduce myself to new readers, but that is far from my only motivator. I love the chance to discuss writing, medicine and life with a group of intelligent and engaged people. I enjoy being challenged and asked to consider aspects of my characters, plotlines and stories that had never before occurred to me. (Nothing is better than when a reader discovers a theme buried in my work that I had no idea existed; it’s like stumbling across a hundred-dollar bill lying on the sidewalk.)
Let’s face it: they are also a ton of fun. Sadly, at the virtual book clubs I don’t get to partake in the goodies that I can often see on the table from a thousand miles away. A glass of wine or two often helps to lubricate conversation and, now and again, to elicit a provocative question that might otherwise have gone unspoken. But whether the book club is wet or dry, I always enjoy myself and benefit from the feedback, especially the constructive criticism.
I am grateful for the easy (almost universal) access to video conferencing technology that has brought me a little closer to readers across the continent. I am committed to attending as many book clubs as feasible. Not only are they enjoyable and worthwhile, but where else can you return home from a good party with just a click of a mouse?
Start reading Daniel Kalla’s The Far Side of the Sky today.
Want Daniel to attend your book club? Email us at email@example.com
Kentville, Nova Scotia