Skip to main content


August 15, 2008

Kimberla Lawson Roby: Book Clubs --- So Much Fun and also a Great Learning Experience

Posted by carol
Today's guest blogger is Kimberla Lawson Roby, whose novels include Sin No More and Love and Lies. Her most recent book is the novella One in a Million. Ever learn more than you'd expected about the other members of your book club? Kimberla has...

After writing a number of books over the last twelve years, there is one thing I am now absolutely certain clubs are the best thing to ever happen for authors and readers. It is the reason I love them so and can't help holding a very special place in my heart for book clubs throughout the entire country. It is the reason I try my best to visit privately with at least one book club in every single city I travel to during my tours and the reason I have been a member of a book club myself for nine years.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that most book club meetings offer mouth-watering hor'dourves, other tasty dishes, and delectable desserts, but even more so are the very detailed and sometimes extremely emotional reading group discussions that center around that chosen monthly reading selection as well as the personal lives of each member. Over the years, I have seen and heard just about everything imaginable --- side-splitting laughter, joyful and/or sorrowful tears, and yes, some very intense debating.

For example, I'll never forget the time my book club (ten women) decided that it would be nice to invite our husbands and boyfriends to read the monthly book selection and then join us on a beautiful Saturday evening in July for the actual discussion. I remember how we were all very excited about doing something different and how the men in our lives seemed just as thrilled about it as we were. Actually, my husband was so thrilled, he offered to take the meeting to a whole new level and turn it into a reading group cookout! Which was fabulous because whenever it was my turn to host my particular meetings, there was NEVER any cooking being done on my part. No, for me, it had always been catering all the way, so having grilled meats and homemade side dishes was truly going to be a welcomed change. As a matter of fact, when the day finally arrived, my fellow members couldn't wait to tease me about the fact that I was finally serving something that hadn't been purchased from or prepared by some stranger!

But what a wonderful time we had from the beginning. We started out on the deck, all eighteen of us (one of our members and her husband were out of town for the weekend) and we enjoyed great food, great conversation, and just the idea of being in each other's company. But then, after an hour or so, we began discussing the book, and when the subject of living wills, insurance policies, and future spouses came up (once a current spouse was dead and gone), well, that's when our happy conversation took a turn in another direction.

It was amazing to hear one wife state matter-of-factly that she had no intention of leaving anything more for her loving husband than the amount it would take to bury her and take care of their two children until they were adults. The reason: she wasn't about to leave anything extra for her husband and any future wife he might consider taking on. This, of course, might have been fine, except based on the mortified look on her husband's face, it was pretty obvious he'd never heard her say this before. Then, there was the husband who said that if he died, he didn't want any new love interests of his wife ever stepping foot inside his home or spending time with his children, not for all eternity. Of course, everyone laughed out loud and even more so when my husband asked him, "And as a dead man, how exactly are you planning to enforce all of this?"

I must say, though, that unlike some of the other spouses in attendance, I wasn't surprised by my husband's response because we'd both decided a long time ago that when the inevitable does happen and sadly one of us does pass away, we wholeheartedly want the other person to be well taken care of financially and if possible, find happiness with someone else. But the good news is that even though we had agreed on this heartfelt life and death philosophy, years before this particular meeting took place, it was our book club's general discussion that made it all become more of a reality for me.

It was this discussion that further confirmed my belief that book clubs really are the best thing to ever happen for authors and readers.

---Kimberla Lawson Roby