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How your book club will save the world

Spoiler Alert:  Civilized discourse.

If we are lucky, and we are lucky, our book club is populated by many people all of whom already like one another.  We have life in common, and we certainly have a love of reading in common.  All to the good.

Because some evenings what we don’t have in common is our opinions about this month’s pick.  As you probably know, a book club meeting is more fun when we all DON’T agree on the merits of a particular book.  We argue for and against.  We (okay, probably just me) wax fully on either the brilliance of the author or the clearly derivative approach he or she used to create such a sorry excuse for a novel in the first place.

We disagree.  Because we disagree on the book.  we do ask the member who recommended the book to speak about her reasons for suggesting it, but we don’t pursue it much farther than that.  It’s not her fault we didn’t like the book and if we loved it, we congratulate her.

We love each other and respect one another’s opinions and intelligence and the discussions are never personal, they don’t need to be, that isn’t the point of the meeting.  The point is, of course, to drink wine. Wait.  Discuss the book – I knew there was a point.

Next time you are in your book club, relish that you can love a book and your best friend right next to you drinking a Russian River Pinot Noir, can hate the book.  And now you have a conversation.  We don’t change each other’s minds, but we can see and understand our friend’s perspective and if articulated well, give me something different to consider.  Maybe the book I initially hated has more merit than I first thought  Maybe I have something to suggest to my friend about structure or character that she can consider and even agree with.

We come to the middle. we allow for disagreements.

We don’t shout, we don’t take sides and no book will ever split us apart.
I’m working on how to scale this to create a worldwide movement: book clubs for peace.

Maybe I should just write a book.

Do you have queens in your book club?  We all are queens – find out what your own queen archetype is with our Queen Quiz


Catharine Bramkamp is a successful writing coach and author. She has published over 300 newspaper and magazine articles in publications like Modern Maturity (AARP), SF Chronicle and Santa Rosa Magazine. She was a contributor to two Chicken Soup Books and has published anthologies of her work, non-fiction works and novels. Her work has also appeared in a number of poetry and fiction anthologies. She has experimented with the self-publishing world since 2001. She has published and self-published seven books through companies like Author House, author assist companies like 3L Publishing and through traditional publishers like Write Life. Her poetry collection, Ammonia Sunrise, will be released in August 2011 by Finishing Line Press and her mystery novel, In Good Faith will be released by Write Life in 2011. Catharine holds a BA in English from UCSB and a MA in English from Sonoma State University. She is a 25 year member of California Writer’s Club. She is an adjunct professor for the University of Phoenix. She works with authors of both fiction and non-fiction to make their dream of producing a book come true. For more information on that, visit her at Catharine has lived in Sonoma County for 25 years and considers wine a food group. She is married to an adorable and very patient man who complains he’s never featured in any of her books. Her grown children who are featured in a few of her books have fled the county.

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