The Bookish Life

Themes and Tips for a Successful Book Club (when you need a change of pace)

These days, I know as many women as not that belong to a book club (or book group, as it’s often known). While book clubs can be rewarding for anyone, male or female, single or part of a family, they’re perfect brief respites from the stresses of life, especially for busy women.

Book groups can form strong bonds and have surprising longevity, becoming somewhat of an anchor as the world shifts beneath our feet. There’s something about the combination of good books and good friends that feels quite timeless, and comforting.

Whether your group has been together for two years or two decades, it’s possible to fall into a rut. Are you squeezing out 30 to 45 minutes of discussion on who did or didn’t like the latest novel you chose before digressing into idle chit-chat? If so, you might need a change of pace. Read More→

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Reading Aloud to Children: Creating Lifelong Book Lovers

Establishing a read-aloud ritual can be one of the most gratifying ways to enjoy well-spent family time. If raising children leaves you with little energy or patience for personal reading, take comfort in knowing that reading aloud to kids can be as nourishing for the reader as it is for the listener(s).

Literacy experts agree that reading aloud to children from an early age helps assure their becoming avid readers later on.

Don’t limit reading aloud to preschoolers—school-age children and sometimes even teens love being read to. Add whatever embellishments you’d like—a warm beverage, a specific setting, lots of cuddling—to ensure a prominent place in your child’s memory for this time-honored ritual.

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Footnotes From the World’s Greatest Bookstores: 3 Women Writers’ Adventures

Those who write love to read, and those who love to read, love bookstores with a passion. Bob Eckstein, the noted New Yorker cartoonist, has created a unique and beautiful book, Footnotes From the World’s Greatest Bookstores: True Tales and Lost Moments from Book Buyers, Booksellers, and Book Lovers.

The 75 meticulously detailed paintings of fantastic bookstores by Eckstein feature some of the most charming and iconic bookstores around the world. The art is embellished with charming, bittersweet, and often humorous anecdotes by writers, thinkers, and dreamers who have visited them.

Some of these bookstores have gone by the wayside, many, thankfully, are still open for business. Here, Bob shares the bookstore adventures of three contemporary women authors. Read More→

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4 Ways to Love Books as a Family: Family Reading Night & More

I frequently hear busy parents bemoan a lack of time, patience, or both, to read for pleasure. Others wonder how to inspire their children to develop a greater love for books.  Here we’ll explore four ways to combine family time with reading time, including family reading night, reading at the table, family book clubs, and reading outdoors.

Any of these will make family reading time a ritual to look forward to, equally pleasurable for parents and kids. Reading aloud with or to your kids is a whole topic unto itself, which we’ll explore in Reading Aloud to Children: Creating Lifelong Book Lovers. Read More→

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7 Thoughtful Ideas on the Art of Reading by Eudora Welty

Eudora Welty (1909 – 2001) was just as avid a reader as she was a writer. It isn’t hard to see how reading thoughtfully can make one a better thinker and writer.

Welty won numerous awards for her writing, among them, a Pulitzer Prize (for The Optimist’s Daughter, 1973 — which many critics considered her best novel), an American Book Award, National Medal for Literature, and The Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was a six-time winner of the O. Henry Award for Short Stories.

Welty dispensed gentle wisdom on the subject of how being a good writer is intertwined with the love of reading. Here are several of her ideas on the art of reading gathered from her nonfiction books, notably On Writing and One Writer’s Beginnings. Read More→

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