Friday, 24 August 2007

Whitney Award at Book Club

I received a phone call yesterday asking me me if the Relief Society book club could be held at my house in September. Of course I said yes. I love our book club. The ladies are fun to be with and we have some good discussions. But sometimes I have a hard time with the books they choose. Often they pick books that are a little far out in the attempt to try new things. Funny thing is, most of the time few of them actually enjoy the books. We do have good discussions though. It is almost like they feel that fiction isn't quality unless we don't enjoy it.

Anyway, I think at our next meeting I would like to introduce the Whitney Awards. I believe because we are an LDS book club we should do something to support LDS fiction. Most of the time when I mention this, people roll their eyes and change the subject to talk about "real" writing. I hope that by encouraging them to read some current novels written by LDS authors, we might find some books to nominate for the Whitney awards and develop increased appreciation for the stories that stem from our own culture.

I have a few books that were published this year that I will recommend they read. My selection might be somewhat limited, though. If anyone has any other suggestions of the best books eligible for the Whitneys this year, I would appreciate hearing what they are. I am determined to get at least some of these ladies converted to LDS fiction and maybe even read some great stories in the process. And authors, feel free to recommend your own books :)


Maria Zannini said...

Crit groups:
Sorry for leaving this message here, but I wasn't sure you would see it if I posted it under Wednesday's heading.

When I started, I used formal crit circles. What genre do you write in, Stephanie? For SFF, try Critters, This one's free.

OWW is about $50 a year, but I found my personal critique partners through there.

Another one that's free is Forward Motion. They handle all sorts of genres.

I found joining a formal group gave me good experience in identifying what made a good review. In turn, it also made me a good reviewer. Once I left OWW, I took several of my CPs with me and we formed a group that read entire novels only.

I don't care for live crit groups much because my time can be iffy from week to week. Doing it online is much more convenient for me.

Hope that helps.


Andy Lemmon said...

How do people in your bookclub choose books? In my mom's ward, the way the bookclub chooses books is for whoever will host the bookclub next (it rotates each month) brings a selection of 5 or so books that they would like to suggest, and then everybody votes on which one they want to read after they've heard the presenter explain why she wants to read each book. The book with the most votes gets read. They seem to get lots of books that lots of them like that way.

Also, I'm curious as to why your bookclub doesn't want to read LDS fiction at all. Sure, I wouldn't want to read it exclusively, but having some in there makes for a good mix. When you bring up the Whitney awards, maybe ask why they don't want to read LDS fiction. Why do they perceive it as inferior? Do they think its just trying to tell a gospel lesson in disguise? I'd be interested in hearing the answers.

Janette Rallison said...

Great idea with your book club!

Since you asked, I will shamelessly promote my book: How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-boyfriend. It's a romantic comedy, so even though it's a YA book, adults enjoy it too.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Maria, thanks for the advice. I'll check out those options and see if any of them work for me.

Andy, I am not sure why there is such resistance to reading LDS fiction. I think part of it could be that they don't realize how far it has come in the last 20 years. I think another part of it is this. They seem to like to pick very literary stuff because it isn't a "waste of time" and will somehow lift us and make us better. I have heard some scary comments about reading suspense, romance, mystery, etc.

Our book club works the same way as your mother's but the last time it was at my house, every suggestion I made got voted down and before the evening ended, they had picked something else entirely. We'll see how it goes this time.

Janette, thanks for the suggestion. I would love to get them trying some young adult fiction. I think it is too much fun :)

Tristi Pinkston said...

I think your idea is great -- and you're really helping us spread the word about the Whitney, which is so appreciated. We really want to get it off with a bang this year so it will just keep up with momentum.

Now, as far as really good books to recommend, mine are all smokin', but nothing eligible this year, sorry. :)

But pop on over to -- all the blogs I've ever done for are listed there, and as you scroll through, you'll find scads of LDS books and my thoughts on them.

Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...

Stephanie, I'm going to be shameless too. Pick any one of the three of my books and I'll send you a free copy if you don't have one. The rest of the ladies can get them at a discount from me. I'd recommend either Out of the Shadows . . . Into the Light or Forged in the Refiner's Fire.

Either way, thanks for plugging the Whitneys. We want to recognize excellence by LDS writers and need the readers to be the ones to nominate the books.

ali said...

What a great idea Stephanie! I think I might steal it for our book club!

Stephanie Humphreys said...

I wonder if there is some sort of a list being put together of the books that are eligible for the award this year. I try to keep up, but I don't catch them all.

Karlene said...

I have to say the best one I've read so far this year is Counting Stars--and I hate romance. Which tells you it has to be good.

Also, I published a book in 2006 Sorry the Stork Takes No Returns by Claire Bowen. I think it's hilarious but DB drug their feet picking it up and then I decided to close my company. So I've got lots of copies that I'm willing to make a deal on.

Anyone who wants to buy multiple copies for their book club (or family or friends or neighbors or the postman's family...) can get a great price (the more you buy, the lower the price).

Just contact me at rakrose59 at mac dot com and I'll give you details.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Thanks for the offer Karlene. I will give the book club all your suggestions and see where we go from there. We meet on the 27th, so I have a few weeks to come up with a list of 2007 books they can read and nominate, and other LDS books that have gotten good reviews. Hopefully, they will be inspired.

Annette Lyon said...

It's probably too late for your Aug. meeting, but maybe for later in the year--my Spires of Stone will be out in September.

One fun thing for a book club to discuss would be comparing and contrasting it with Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, which it's somewhat based on.

I agree that the reluctance to read LDS fiction is largely based on old notions, and it's an opinion held by people who haven't read much of the market lately, because it's so much better than ever.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Thanks for another good suggestion, Annette. I'll put it on my list.

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