BookBrowse interviews Interested in starting up a new book club, or just looking to jazz up your existing group? Check out our interview with the founder of Chick Lit for some inspiration and great organizational ideas! Theresa Wilson founded Chick Lit about two years ago with a little advice from BookBrowse. She then made up custom book bags, magnets, bookmarks, calendars, and reading schedules to get everyone excited and on the right track. about all aspects of their book club.

Book Club Interviews

Interested in starting up a new book club, or just looking to jazz up your existing group? Check out our interview with the founder of Chick Lit for some inspiration and great organizational ideas! Theresa Wilson founded Chick Lit about two years ago with a little advice from BookBrowse. She then made up custom book bags, magnets, bookmarks, calendars, and reading schedules to get everyone excited and on the right track.

Tell us how Chick Lit got started?

Chick Lit was launched in September of 2007. I wanted to join an established book club but was unable to locate one in my community, so I took it upon myself to start a book club celebrating women and friendship. I created custom announcements inviting friends and neighbors who I knew enjoyed reading as much as myself.

How did you begin to shape the group?

First I read BookBrowse's advice for starting a book club. Then I gave each member a Chick Lit questionnaire asking about their previous experiences with book clubs and reading preferences. With that information I created Chick Lit guidelines for members of the club. The guidelines detailed meeting times, how to choose books, number of members, meeting length and refreshments served. I had a sign up sheet for members to pick the month they would like to host.

How was the first meeting?

Only 3 people showed up at that first meeting. I chose The Secret Life of Bees as our first reading selection. I felt it was a great book to launch Chick Lit.

And what's your group like now?

Since it's inception 2 years ago Chick Lit has grown to 10 members. We are a lively group with strong opinions, with women ranging in age from 40 to 65. Chick Lit meets on a Friday night approximately every 5-6 weeks, as we all agreed that every four weeks comes around too quickly! We don't schedule a meeting in December due to holiday commitments.

Who hosts the group?

Members sign up to host a meeting from a pre-determined schedule which I create. The host of that month's meeting picks the book to be discussed and is the facilitator of the meeting. Any book, including new releases can be selected. (Two weeks before our scheduled meeting I send everyone an email reminding them of the book choice and which member is hosting.) The host is responsible for beverages including wine and non-alcoholic drinks. The other members each bring a dish which usually is an appetizer or dessert. Recently, we've tried to bring a dish which is native to the country highlighted in our book selection, which adds a fun element of surprise to our meetings.

How do you structure your discussions?


The meeting length is 2 hours, but many of the members socialize after the discussion. We typically do not have all members attend a meeting - many Chick Lits travel quite a bit. However, everyone usually reads the book selection, and I encourage all members to email me their impressions and rating of the book which I share at the meeting. We rate our books on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest rating. Chick Lit has read 20 books and not one was rated a 5!

What kinds of books does Chick Lit read?


Our selections have been eclectic, with fiction and nonfiction represented equally. We try to read a classic each year. This year it was Jane Eyre which was awarded a 4.9 - our highest rating ever! I keep an ongoing record of all books read and how we rated the selections. Another favorite was Moloka'i by Alan Brennert. (I picked this selection after reading what an impact it had on another book club highlighted by BookBrowse.) Recently, we read The 5000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen. It produced a lively discussion fueled by current political/social economic concerns.

How do you keep from veering off topic?

At times, our discussions have wandered away from the book, which I'm sure all clubs have experienced! To avoid this, we have one member who is keeper of the bell! She has a small bell which she rings to let us know we need to refocus on the book. It's very effective.

What other things do you do to keep the discussions lively?

Another unique feature of our group is that we try to view a movie inspired by the book selection whenever possible. When we read Mrs. Mike, we viewed the film adaptation after the meeting. We are currently reading Tracy Kidder's Strength In What Remains, I suggested members view Beyond the Gates, a film which visualizes the words of the protagonist.

On another night when I was hosting many of the members stayed to socialize after the meeting. The members who live in the neighborhood invited their husbands to join us and that night Men After Dark was created. Once a year, I hope to create another Men After Dark and invite spouses and significant others to join us after the meeting. It was so much fun!

You sent me a great Chick Lit bookbag filled with a beautifully customized calendars, schedules, guidelines, and a treasure-trove of goodies! It's really a wonderful kit, and I think it's a great start-up idea for new book clubs. Tell us a little more about what's in it?

At the beginning of each year I distribute to the members a calendar I created highlighting the dates of each meeting. I also created a book bag with our Chick Lit logo filled with Chick Lit goodies which I give to all new members. This includes book marks, magnets, Chick Lit Club guidelines, and information on how to lead a book discussion.

You sound like a lovely - and well-organized - group!

I am happy to announce that Chick Lit is a great success! We all are looking forward to many years celebrating women, friendship and literature.

Cheers to that, Theresa! Thank you for sharing your advice, and for making me an honorary Chick Lit member!

interviewed by Lucia Silva

© BookBrowse.com January 2010.

Would you be interested in being interviewed for this feature? If so, please contact us with brief details about your club. It is very helpful if you include both a contact email and a telephone number.

Guides by: Title  |  Author |  Genre |  Setting |  Time Period |  Theme

Book Clubs Home |  Interviews with Book Clubs

Starting a Book Club | The First Meeting
Leading Meetings |  Difficult Meetings | Choosing Books | Inviting Authors
Help. There's No Reading Guide! | Book Club Games |  Book Club Blog Posts |  Book Discussions

Book Clubs Research Report

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...
  • Book Jacket: A Gentleman in Moscow
    A Gentleman in Moscow
    by Amor Towles
    It is June 21, 1922, and 33-year-old Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is convicted of being a class ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.