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May 22, 2012

Vicki Batman & the Guilty Girls Book Club

A Gift for Me! A Gift for You!

I love-love-love to read. With a book, I can go anywhere and have a best friend. It's the most excellent gift ever.

For a long time, I'd share books I'd read with girlfriends. They did the same with me. When one recommended Janet Evanovich and Diana Gabaldon, I rediscovered romance!

But I wanted more.

Ten years ago, I asked a couple of good friends if they would be interested in starting a book club. They eagerly agreed.  Each of us invited one other person to join, in total, six of us. We had no idea what our future would bring. But we had hope and heart and our love of reading.

We have a wonderful bond. It's rare anyone misses a meeting. We've lived through cancer, growing children and grandchildren, school, politics, weddings, happiness and unhappiness. We conduct notices through emails, find books online to recommend, and pick from two stacks--classics and new. Sometimes, we cook dinner; sometimes, we eat out. Sometimes, we go on a field trip. Most times, we begin our meeting with a mimosa.

As of April 2012, we've read 94!! books.

I've read books I normally would never have discovered or touched. We began our journey with The Red Tent. Some we laughed ourselves silly over (Janet Evanovich), despaired (The Glass Castle), disliked (The Corrections , The Emperor of Ocean Park, The Golden Compass), thought very odd (The Weird World of Wes Beattie), didn't live up to its reputation (The Woman in White), an odd soap opera (Brideshead Revisited), most confusing (Atonement), not what we thought (Lady Chatterly's Lover), a good classic (Red Sky in the Morning), and awarded five stars (Out of the Dust & To Kill a Mockingbird). At Christmas, we gifted each other a favorite to sample.

Thank you, Nancy, Sharon, Pam, Della, and Rebecca. Here's to ten more years of love, laughter, friendship, and reading!

To celebrate, I have a gift for you--gather two friends and start a club. You won't regret it.

Vicki is sitting back with her diet Coke, Chris Botti playing in the background, and sobbing over this post. Find her at: Or at:


Sylvia said...

What a wonderful idea. Not only do you get to experience great books but wonderful friendships. Years ago, this was the way my critique group was, but sadly over time it has diminished. I'm thinking of branching out and starting a new one. A fresh new group filled with support, who is dedicated to helping each other write the best book possible.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

You hit it, Sylvia! The friendships are outstanding. I feel very lucky. Now, I'm getting sobby again.

Sign me up for the critique group!!!

Rhonda D said...

Congratulations to you. I wish I could find 6 or 7 people around me that liked to read. I can't that's why I'm on the blogs all the time. Thanks for sharing!

Autumn Jordon said...

Ah, now you have me teary too. That is a great story. I hav a cousin I share books with and I know she shares them with a friend. Maybe we should start a book club. It does sound like fun.
Thanks for sharing your story, Vicki.

Unknown said...

Beautiful my dear friend. I started a friendship about a year ago and I have cherished it since and can see it extending for many years to come. I sooo know it sounds mushy but this is what you do to people. That gift is you and I am so grateful in the richness I've found. Vicki, you are one special person. Love ya!

Pamela Stone said...

Sounds like an amazing group. Fantastic friendships. I get that from my critique group these days.

As an only child, I read a lot when I was younger. Books were my escape and fueled other ideas for stories I made up. These days between the day job, family responsibilities, and scrambling to find writing time, I seldom read. However at the moment, I'm re-reading Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. It's my second time through her 12 week program, but it really is a fantastic book to remind us that our creative time is important.

Liese said...

I was in a book club through a library. You have an instant bond with others because of a shared experience--reading the same book. They are a great way to stretch yourself in some many ways! Totally agree with making this a great gift to yourself!

Best wishes,

Alisha said...

What a beautiful post! Reading and friendship! What a special gift!

Anonymous said...

No, Vicki, thank YOU for such an awesome idea!! We don't always agree (Corrections and Emperor of Ocean Park!!) but my life is richer for all the new friends, ideas and... books! I wouldn't trade one minute. Here's to mimosa's, guilt and pleasures....

Della :)

Jennifer August said...

What a fantastic idea, Vicki. I love that you don't constrain yourself to a specific genre, too.
I think it's wonderful that you've found and cemented great friendships in such a wonderful, creative way.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Rhonda! I bet you have made tons of friends thru blogging. How fun!

Hi, Autumn. Let's get out the tissues. You are so lucky to have your cousin. Get together, invite one other friend and discover possibilities. ox

Hi, Karen. Gulp. More tears. You are so sweet and I can't wait to hug you in person. Thanks for everything. You're the best.

Hi, Pam! You have a fantastic group. I've always been envious. Can you imagine not having time to read? The reason we write??? ox

Hi, Liese. An instant bond over a book. Sigh. That's awesome. You're awesome, too. ox

Thank you, Alisha. And aren't we lucky to have the PP to bond with too?

Dellar!!! You made it. I'm so happy you squeezed in a moment to comment. EVERYONE!!! Dellar is a guilty girl and a long-time friend.

You are absolutely right-our lives are richer because of reading these books, good or bad, and the friendship we have. Love you!

Patricia said...

What a lovely idea and a great way to share your love of reading and make close friends.
I've started three book clubs in my lifetime but my last one was over 10 years ago. This makes me want to do it again.
Thank you.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Patti! Time for a new club! You know you will have fun and you are so nice, everyone will want to join!

Elizabeth Essex said...

What a marvelous story, Vicki. I'm so impressed with the range of your books. But I don't think I'd do well in a book group—all I want to read is romance. And history for research. But mostly romance. :)

Thanks for the terrific story. :)

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Jennifer. No specific genres. We read lots of things. Over the years we've found sci-fi isn't our thing. LOL. But we tried. Thanks for stopping.

Ms. Essex! How lovely. I'd read romance all day long if I could. HOWEVER, reading other types of books has expanded me as a person. I read with a pad and take notes, specifically for punchy words to increase my writing vocabulary. Mystery and romance, however, are my go-tos. OX

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Some people have huge book clubs. In fact, I'm speaking to one with 20 people. I like our little six people one best.

Phyllis said...

Thank you Vicki for such a great topic.

Honestly, I can make more time for audible books. I've become so busy in my life that for me to sit and read-it is hard. I keep feeling like I should be doing something that needs to get done. So, audible allows me to get chores and errands done AND I get totally immersed in the book.

When I do have time to sit, that when I should be writing.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Phyllis, and you are welcome. Audible books are awesome. I used to walk and listen all the time. Not as much lately, especially after listening to a male actor do a female's voice. LOL

Janice Seagraves said...

Sounds like fun. :)

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Janice. We do have our fun. Mimosas? Chocolate? Cake? Books? Not bad stuff at all. Thanks for visiting with me today.

J.Q. Rose said...

Books are binding aren't they??? Thanks for the quickie review of your past reads. 5 stars for To Kill a Mockingbird for sure. Sobbing about this post because it is so wonderful AND listening to Chris Botti....nothing better. You are blessed.

Kathy Ivan said...

Isn't it lovely to have friends you can talk books with. My life is just blessed abundantly when I can talk to other people about the great stories I've read. Wish I had time for an official reading group, maybe someday. Like Elizabeth Essex, though, I'm a romance girl. The genre doesn't matter so much as the romance and happily ever after ending.

Thanks for reminding us about our true friendship through books, Vicki.

Sheila Seabrook said...

Vicki, I wish I lived in your neighborhood because I'd be begging you to let me join. Maybe you and your book club will have to move to Canada. Do you like snow? LOL!

I love how you cherish all of your friends so much. Thanks for a look into your book club. :)

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, J Q Rose and thanks for following me to the PP. Isn't to Kill a Mockingbird the best? Here's a tissue for your tears and thanks for visiting with me.

Hi, Kathy: after reading mysteries and romance for years and years (won't go there. LOL), I was a little apprehensive about trying other books. But I did and realized I would have missed something. I have finished all but one in ten years, too.

Hi, Sheila: Do I like snow? Mostly to look at. LOL. We don't get much down here and when we do, it is a major event. AND if you lived nearby, you'd be in like Flynn. Thanks, girlfriend.

chris k said...

I am such a paty pooper- : )

like my movies - I like my books to be unrealistically optimistic with clearly happy endings.

I've never seen Gone with the Wind because a) I don't like people dying and b) Tomorrow's another day is NOT a happy or even positive ending.

I never watched titanic because I know how the story ends - the boat sinks.

I'm the same with books - I could join a happy books book club. But I could never handle the tearjerking or even the baffling. LOL>

You my dear - are a better woman than I!!!

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Chris: HEA's-sigh. Yep, some books don't have them; yet, we read and possibly learn from them. For example, To Kill a Mockingbird--not a romance. And the children are terrorized in the end, and it is resolved in an unusual way. Miss this one? Not a chance. It's got a powerful message.

I'm betting if you were in a book club, you'd participate!

Cara Marsi said...

Your book club sounds like fun. Wish I lived close enough to join.

Karilyn Bentley said...

Great post Vicki! I'm in a book club too and love it! We used to call it the wine club. Need I say more?? :)

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Karilyn! A wine club is hilarious. Did you even read a book? LOLOL

Anonymous said...

Great post, Vicki. Congratulations on the six of you making your group work for so long--that is hard to do and takes a lot of good will.

I liked the category summary of each book--it let me match my opinions against yours. (Loved The Corrections & The Golden Compass; have somehow made it to my middle yrs never having read Mockingbird ... and I made a note of the others I hadn't read yet, either.)

Keep up the good work!


Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

To Greta: thank you for stopping and I'm sorry I'm just now seeing your comment. We've had an interesting mix and if you are ever interested in seeing all the titles, let me know!