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March 6, 2008

Taking A Book Club on the Road

Posted by carol
Since 2002, Gina Wyszynski and the Chicks Picks Book Club from Houston, Texas, have made it an annual tradition to take a reading group getaway, and in this blog posting she shares some stories about their travels. Whether the destination ties in with a book's theme or is simply a fun, new backdrop for a discussion, as Gina and her fellow members have discovered, a change of scenery can be a book club boost.
---Carol Fitzgerald

When our founding member, Teri, suggested the idea of going on weekend trips once a year, I thought she was crazy. I didn't think anyone would go for the idea, but we took a poll among our members and the idea was well received.

Our first getaway was in 2002 to Las Vegas. Since I'm a frequent Vegas-goer and familiar with the city, I thought this would be the easiest trip to plan. Nine women in Vegas had a great time, as you can well imagine. We went by limo to the airport, dined in fancy restaurants, hit the spa and the pool, shopped, gambled, saw the fabulous show "O" and, of course, discussed our book selection for the month, The Lovely Bones. The next year we decided on a road trip to Galveston, Texas, where we relaxed and talked about Ann B. Ross' Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind.

In 2004, eight members went to New Orleans. I got everybody Mardi Gras beads and off we were on the plane where the flight attendants and passengers asked us who we were. We must have made quite an impression as some passengers indicated that they wanted to tag along with us for the weekend. Brenda wanted to read a book that went along with the city and selected Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire. We took a walking tour of the city and a vampire tour with a real vampire. We dined at Emeril's Restaurant and took a Cajun cooking class, which was a blast!

For our 2005 trip to San Francisco, I chose Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club. We had a wonderful discussion at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant Postrio. We toured the city and also took a side trip to the Napa Valley. Getaways followed to Boston in 2006, where we took historic-themed walking tours, visited the beautiful Boston Public Library, and discussed The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards, and to San Antonio in 2007, with the book choice of the month Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants.

Next up on our travel agenda? A trip to the Big Apple in August.