Hello and welcome to the launch of our very own book club! As most of you know, I am a hopelessly devout book lover. The ability books have to express the inner workings of our minds and thoughts that movies just can’t do, the feeling of getting lost inside a story, the way they gently change or teach or move us, it’s like taking the best kind of holiday.
Beisdes, putting aside time to read simply for the pleasure of it, is like sending a little message to ourselves that we are worth that kind of care. It’s telling ourselves that making space in our day to refill our tired cups only makes us better wives, friends, mothers, carers.
And the best part? We get to wear jammies and stay in the safety of our own homes, praise be!
It was difficult to choose our book list and I started out with about thirty books to include, varying from fiction to non-fiction, novels to memoirs to poetry and spiritual musings to practical and educational self-help guide-books as such. Though I love to dive into silky poetry, deep, thoughtful books, and many from the practical self-growth genre, in the end, I decided to stick with predominantly fiction, un-put-downable books because mostly, we just want to rest, right? We just want books that are pleasurable to read, not another “thing” to take in and apply to our lives.
And so, I whittled the list down to twelve: One book per month, approximately 10 pages per day, totally doable.
Here are the details of how it’s going to work:
- We will start reading together on the 1st of each month and wrap up the book a few days before the month is over.
- I will check in halfway through the book with some self-reflection/discussion questions, and these are completely optional and only serve to deepen your experience of the book. You can journal the answers privately, or simply think about them, or you can jot down some thoughts to share with us in our large discussion forum at the end of the month where we will share our thoughts and answers, for now, in an Instagram thread – this might be the easiest and most accessible place. Make sure you are following @theredtent on Instagram to see our book club posts and discussion forums.
- Our discussion forum will fall on the last Friday of the month in the evening and I will send out a reminder several days before to prompt us all. This is meant to be a relaxing, enjoyable experience so please don’t bog yourself down with “having” to complete the questions or join us in the discussion if it adds to the workload of your life. Sometimes we just want to read a good story without analysing why it’s good and what it means to us, and I get that, too. You do you!
- I will create a side tab here on the Red Tent website labelled “book club” where I will link all the posts and questions related to our book club, to make it easily accessible to go back and check if you missed anything, or if you need to catch up for any reason.
What if I don’t like the look of the book?
Well, you have one of two options. Read it anyway because chances are, there will be probably be something useful or insightful contained inside, and because it can be good to try a genre or style of book you wouldn’t necessarily choose. Or two, if it really doesn’t fit in with you, just skip it and join us again next month! No problem!
What if I’ve already read the book?
Again, you have one of two options – read it again and follow along with our discussion questions (I always discover things I missed when I read books a second time) or skip the book and join us again next month!
What if I can’t keep up or find the time?
Yes, this is a question I get asked all the time: How do you find the time to read? I’ve written about fitting more reading time into life here.
What do I do as I read?
Feel free to underline, write in page columns, journal thoughts or things that stick out for you as you go. Many of my books have underlined sentences or paragraphs: an insight, something I want to remember, or just simply a beautiful sentence or quote. Underlining and making notes can help you unearth and deepen your connection with the book, or bring up discussion points you’d like to elaborate on during our discussion forum. Of course, you can just simply read, too. Whatever is most pleasurable for you.
Of course, it takes time to order books online or make a time to grab them from shops or source them from friends or the library, which is why we’ve started August with more of a shorter, essay-style book. If you can’t start reading it on the 1st, that’s completely understandable but please do try and grab a copy soon (I picked up my copy from Kmart) and then finish it by the end of August if possible. Our August book is light and easy, and will take less time to read than the others, and that is specifically why I chose it to kick off our first book club read. Take some time to go through the rest of the book list and either purchase them or reserve them at your local library if they are stocked there, ready for our coming reading months.
Without further ado, here it is! Our first ever reading schedule!
(I’m so excited!)
Red Tent Book club List
August: Am I There Yet? The Loop-de-Loop Zigzagging Journey to Adulthood, by Mari Andrew || 192 pages || 6 pages per day
September: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman || 327 pages || 11 pages per day
October: Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng || 338 pages || 13 pages per day
November: Waiting For Birdy: A Year of Frantic Tedium, Neurotic Angst and the Wild Magic of Growing a Family, by Catherine Newman || 261 pages || 9 pages a day
December: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, by Cheryl Strayed || 304 pages || 11 pages per day
January: The Lonely City: Adventures In The Art of Being Alone, by Olivia Laing || 336 pages || 13 pages per day
February: The Rules Do Not Apply, by Ariel Levy || 207 pages || 10 pages per day
March: Butterfly On a Pin, by Alannah Hill || 352 pages || 12 pages per day
April: Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After, by Heather Harpham || 318 pages || 12 pages per day
May: H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald || 320 pages || 10 pages per day
June: Educated, by Tara Westover || 400 pages || 14 pages per day
July: Tangerine, by Christine Mangan || 320 pages || 12 pages per day
Everyone is invited to read along with us, for as long or as little as you’re able. My hope is that in doing so, we can reclaim some time back for ourselves to rest and savour these little pleasures of life, away from the noise and hustle of everyday life. I’ll check back in on Friday, August 17th with some halfway discussion questions for our August book.
Happy reading, friends!