Guest Post and Giveaway: Sheri from A Novel Menagerie says, “Yeah, I’d Praise Book Clubs!”

My book club met on Sunday and we had the great pleasure to welcome a new member, Sheri from A Novel Menagerie!  She and I met through our children last summer, who by sheer coincidence were not only in the same unit at Girl Scout camp, but in the same cabin 2 years in a row.  The chances of that are so slim- one year they went in August, the next year June, one year they were in a sampler unit, the next year a horse unit- all with hundreds of other kids.  It almost seemed that fate was pushing us together.

At first Sheri was kind of stunned that we hit it off, because she says she “never gets along with other women”.   We bonded over our children (we each have two wild preteen girls- hers are twins, mine are “Irish twins”), we both have one brother named Bill (who, by yet another coincidence, attends our church), complicated relationships with our sisters, experience with insomnia (hers, and my husbands), our OCD tendencies, and of course, BOOKS!   I showed her my blog and told her about the book blogging community.  Sheri asked a million questions.  I sent her on her way with a few extra books I had hanging around.  She went home and started her amazing new blog, A Novel Menagerie, that very day.  If you haven’t seen it, you must go check it out.  She hosts memes, challenges, contests, and reads about 5 books a week (and I’m not even exaggerating!)  She also started an online business called BookCharming.com and makes these adorable floss book marks.  She has so much drive and energy and honestly, I don’t know how she does it all!

So when she asked me about my book club, I sadly told her that it was “full”.  We had what seemed the right amount of people (12) and the club had agreed that we wouldn’t be inviting any more.  But then, in January, someone dropped out.  I mentioned it to Sheri and before the words were out of my mouth, she was saying YES!  So here she is, with impressions of her first book club meeting.  Welcome, Sheri!

Yeah, I’d Praise Book Clubs!

My constant whining about not being in a book club was more than Lisa could bear.  Month after month, the nagging became like nails scratching on a chalkboard.  She had no choice.  Find a spot for me or listen to 11 more months of “poor me.”  I think she chose wisely…yes, she is indeed a smart girl!

So, after finagling me into the book club, I immediately purchased every book on our reading list.  I was bound and determined to know each book inside and out, be ready for any question, and be worthy of the book club.  The books arrived:

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Sarah’s Key

The Invisible Wall

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Our first meeting:  Oscar Wao.  Now, this book is a Pulitzer Prize winner.  Of course, then it must be good.  And, it was.  But, the book was somewhat of a grueling read.  It was not an easy book to get through.  As I spewed out of my mouth in the book club meeting:  

It’s like childbirth; you are not really enjoying it when you’re going through it.  But, once it’s over with you’re glad you did it.  

That’s it.  They’re giving me das boot.  No.  Wait.  Ellen agreed.  Whew!  Let me go back in time to explain.  

So, like a little Nervous Nelly, I walked down the street with Lisa to the book club meeting.  They aren’t going to like me.  I won’t fit in.  I didn’t read the Reader’s Guide questions thoroughly enough.  I wasn’t even sure how I completely felt about the book.  I walk into Ellen’s home.  Immaculate.  Oh, I am such a sub-standard mother.  Ellen would never even sit on my couches.  I’m going to have to host my meeting at Lisa’s house.  There were a few people to meet and… (can you hear the angels singing?) WINE!  I thank God Jesus was into wine!  It’s a goodie that God makes sure is around for me!  Everything looked great.  There was food, wine, the immaculate house.  I was making conversation with whoever would talk with me.  Let’s see if I can remember all of their names (whoever I forget, please forgive me):

bc-bluebirdEllen

Diane

Elaine

Sara

Lisa

Sheri (that’s me)

Orchid

Maggie

Valerie

Tammy

So, Lisa thankfully sat by me during dinner and helped me to remember who’s who, names, etc.  The meeting soon started and Orchid (and her amazingly cool hair) led the meeting.  She read aloud.  But, she read a passage that was written in partial Spanish.  When she said the passage aloud, she said it entirely in English.  <Enter my big mouth> 

bc-sunset“Do you speak Spanish?  I mean, I can read it, but not speak it.  And, well…” (God, Sheri shut up!)

Yes, she did.  And, my inappropriate outburst led into a discussion about the foreign language in the book.  (Thank God!)  The conversation continued and it seemed like we all had something to say. 

My SELF observations:

1. I am the only dumbass who didn’t know that the splotch on the cover was the face of Oscar with a wing coming out of the back of his head.

2. I am the only idiot who thought that Oscar shouldn’t have quit on Yunior when Yunior was trying to help him lose weight.  

3. I’m the only deranged person who didn’t feel sorry for Oscar.  

4. I talk too much.

5. I don’t know enough.

6. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks my thoughts are “spot-on.”  No, that’s not a maybe.  It’s a for sure!

9780312370848My GROUP observations:

1. They were lovely women who really enjoyed this opportunity to get together and discuss their love for books. 

2. These were some INTELLIGENT chicks!

3. There is a common, invisible thread that ties them together.  They appreciate this book club and each other.

4. If I bribe them with my AWESOME Key Lime Martinis, they may let me come back again.  I hope so because I’m almost done with Sarah’s Key.

5. Lisa is my friend!

If I could only talk to intelligent women about the books I read ALL DAY LONG.  It would be like Heaven.  I wonder if I should try to find a job in the book industry.  I’m turning into a one-dimensional person… BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS.  Maybe I need to be in 4 book clubs… one for every Sunday.  Yes, that might cure my itch!

Thank you to Lisa for letting me smuggle my way into the group and share my neurosis with her readers.  

Sheri is donating 2 beautiful BookCharming.com Book Marks to my 100K celebration.  The first one is the Bluebird design, and the 2nd one is Sunset.  Gorgeous, right?  She’s so flippin’ talented!  This chick has skills!!  I’m going to throw in our book club’s next selection, Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay to go along with the beautiful book marks.  Leave a comment by Friday, February 20th for a chance to win.

To read Sheri’s review of Sarah’s Key, click HERE.  I had to skim it because I haven’t read the book yet.  Hope I finish it before next month’s meeting!!

51 Responses

  1. Those are beautiful bookmarks, and what a fun post! I’ve never been in a book club, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I were invited! I guess I now know who to go ask! =)

  2. I have heard so much about “Sarah’s Key” and what a wonderful book!
    The bookmarks are beautiful! I actually collect bookmarks and would love to add these to my collection should I win.

    Please enter me in your contest.

  3. Hey Sheri! Elaine here, from “the book club.” Just so you know, I feel the same way you do (your “self observations” #4, 5 & 6) every time I attend – and I’ve been doing this for a year now! Sit next to me anytime. I’m so glad you joined us (and also can’t wait to taste a “key lime martini”)!

  4. Must have…need bookmark…overwhelmed with prettiness.

  5. These bookmarks are more like a work of art. Sarah’s Key is a book I’ve been wanting to read.

  6. Sheri’s self observations made me laugh — I so remember thinking those same things a number of years ago when I joined a book club. Alas, life (babies, a 45-minute commute to club meetings, etc.) got in the way and I left the club. I’m envious of those who get to participate.
    The bookmarks are lovely and Sarah’s Key has been on my TBR list since I first heard about it a couple of months ago. I appreciate the opportunity to win!

  7. Great post. The BookCharming.com Book Marks are so cool looking.

  8. great post! sounds like your club is amazing.🙂

  9. Don’t enter me in the contest because I won one of her beautiful bookmarks a little bit ago but I just wanted to comment that being in a book club is pretty fun. Nothing like hanging around with people that like books as much as you.

  10. Thanks for the giveaway!

  11. I love the Sunset design. This giveaway is really shaping up to be amazing!

  12. Her bookcharmers look so cool, I’d totally be interested in winning one. And Sarah’s Key too.. fabulous! Something I’ve been wanting to read for awhile.

  13. Hey-Ya Chica. In bed with migrane almost all day today. It blew. So, I didn’t get my cross-post up in time. Ugh. But it’s up now: http://anovelmenagerie.com/ghost/2009/02/13/books-on-the-brain/

    So. See you Sunday? Coffee chica?

    Hugs!

    Sheri

    P.S. I really liked Elaine… remember?

  14. Great post. Sheri’s experience with the bookclub is how I imagine I would feel if I ever joined one.

    And the bookmarks are gorgeous!

  15. I think we all have those kinds of self-observations. I probably would feel the same way if I were there. I feel that way just being a newby to the book blogger “club”!

    I absolutely adore these bookmarks. I have decided that I am getting my mom one for my dad’s birthday. It is on March 7th and he died last month. I am getting her the Robert Frost quote because that is how my dad lived his life. I think she will love it.🙂

  16. I’d love to find a bookclub and win this book!!!

  17. Okay, count me in, too.

    Congrats on hitting the 100K mark…woo-hoo!!

    And congrats to Sheri for finding a book club!

  18. OH. My. G. I have read most of this post and then I read the comments and I am wondering: huh? what bookmarks? huh?
    What DID I read?
    I read about Sheri’s awesome experience to be invited into a club I’ve been wanting to join since DAY ONE. (and if you’ve been paying attn, I truly mean DAY ONE – like day one of Lisa’s first blog post. ahem) oh yea: I hate you Sheri.

    Where was I ? I want to move to Cali fornication so I can be in this book club!!!!

    and I thought the childbirth experience example was really cool (even if I didn’t/haven’t experienced such but that might be totally different thing)

    and I really wish I could figure out how to have a book club. I have tried asking friends and I’ve even posted at a book cafe and I have had ZERO response.

    yes, I’ve been drinking a (one so far) glass of wine when I read this. …

  19. What a great bookmark! Please count me in for the drawing.

    I also love the book club post. I need to find a book club to join. It would shake me out of my reading rut!

  20. I know exactly what you mean. Book clubs are a hit and miss.
    When I moved to SC( from NJ where I belonged to three up north) I could not find one I liked. I found library book club, where most of the books were main stream not literary fiction. The women would talk about 5 min. about the book and the rest of the time was a social hour. Too say the least I was not happy. I tried forming one in my neighborhood, and then left notices all over the area. There was not a response. Then a friend of mine mentioned she knew someone who was trying to form one. That was four years later. What a great experience when you find the right fit.

  21. OK, so Lisa helped Sheri get into blogging and Sheri has truly helped me as I ventured into the world of book blogging. I agree, the chick is great! I love her book charmers and would love to win one. I have also been trying to get my hands on Sarah’s Key, so this win would be fabulous! Congrats on reaching 100K!

    shelcows AT gmail DOT com

  22. I actual found you through A Novel Menagerie! The bookmarks are very cool! Would love to win – please enter me.

    kherbrand(at)comcast(dot)net

  23. WOW! Blush.
    Too cool for school.

    I love Shelly’s blog. If you haven’t been there… go immediately!

    Sher

  24. Enjoyed reading this post; I’ve never been in a book club but others who are, have convinced me it would be a good experience. Sarah’s Key is a book I’ve had on my wish list for sometime. Would love to win it and the lovely bookmarks. Thanks

  25. The book charms are so pretty. Please enter me. Thanks

  26. What beautiful bookmarks. Love to have one. She is indeed very talented. The book Sarah’s Key sounds nice to. Please enter me. Thanks for the great giveaway.

    ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

  27. Those are such beautiful bookmarks and I would love a copy of Sarah’s Key! Thanks for the wonderful co-giveaway! Happy 100K.

    I blogged about your giveaway here:

    http://teddyrose.blogspot.com/2009/02/this-weeks-giveaways-galore_14.html

  28. Great post😀
    Is the contest open to residents outside the US?

    Sounds like a good bok, I love finding new authors.

    Always wanted to be in a bookclub myself, should start one with just me lol

  29. I really love the bookmarks and I’d love to read this book. Thanks!

  30. What more could one want in life than a new book and two beautiful bookmarks? Nothing! lol Please enter me.🙂 Thank you so much for offering this giveaway! eyeslikesugar [at] gmail [dot] com

  31. Wow beautiful book marks – who doesn’t need more? Thanks for the giveaway msboatgal(at)aol(dot)com

  32. Wow! Another amazing giveaway! I just created a book club, we have just had our second meeting and are looking forward to many more!!
    Please enter me!

  33. Oooh! I need new bookmarks…and a new book to put them in!

  34. the bookmarks are gorgeous and I’ve heard rave reviews on Sarah’s Key!!

  35. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

  36. Those bookmarks are beautiful! I’d love to enter.

    michelle.kuool(at)yahoo(dot)com

  37. those are really beautiful bookmarks. And Sarah’s Key has been on my TBR list for awhile now. it sounds like a great book club book. Please enter me in the giveaway. Thanks!

  38. This sounds like a great book to read, and the bookmark that you have a picture of is really pretty! I’m sure there both lovely. Thanks for entering me!

  39. Those are beautiful!

    That’s such a conincidental story – looks like fate really did play a hand😉

  40. What a great post. Isn’t Sheri great?? I’d love to be entered, btw. diaryofaneccentric at hotmail dot com Thanks!

  41. Beautiful bookmarks! And the book sounds great.

  42. I’m quite sure that Sheri fit right in at the book club. Sounds like a great time and win! Love the bookcharmers. No need to enter me since I have Sarah’s Key in the TBR pile.

  43. Oh, please enter me! Thanks for the giveaways!

  44. Love visiting Sheri! I love her Bookcharms too🙂 I hope she does more guest posts here about your group!

  45. Those bookmarks are beautiful, especially Sunset! Thanks for the giveaway.

  46. I would love a book mark, please include me in the contest.

  47. Please count me in! The bookmarks are great–they would make sure neat gifts for so many people. And I’m hearing great things about “Sarah’s Key.”

    I couldn’t get my book club to read “The Invisible Wall” but I know you’ll have lots to discuss!

  48. Sounds like a fun book club!

  49. Thanks for this wonderful giveaway. The book that you have featured is a wonderful choice. The book marks are lovely.

  50. Congrats on 100k readers!
    Oh, I wish I had a bookclub like that- your post might have just given me the inspiration I needed to get going!

    Beautiful bookmarks, too!

    Thanks for the chance to win, and thanks for the inspiration.

  51. I know I am late.. but i would love to win Sarah’s key..:) count me in!:)

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