Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday Salon: Introducing the "Darling, but..." Book Club

The Sunday Salon.com There's no one in the world I love to talk to more than Mr. Nomadreader. And as someone who really likes to talk about books, Mr. Nomadreader and I have battering around the idea of a two-person book club for years. We finally started it last month:

The basic logistics
1. We each pick one book a month, so together we'll read two books each month. We are aiming to pick books we haven't read, although I've already sought (and was awarded) two exceptions for books I happened to be reading and thought he would love (and that would be interesting to discuss.)

2. Each year in our birthday month (August for me and September for Mr. Nomadreader), we're allowed to pick a book we've read before. I am already debating which of my favorite books from the last few years to pick in August!

3. I've invited Mr. Nomadreader to contribute to the blog, and we may play around with joint reviews, interviews about the book, and guest posts about our shared reading. It may vary based on the book. Regardless of what form it takes, I'm excited to bring a different perspective to the blog a couple of times a month.

4. Neither of us is allowed to pick Infinite Jest. If we do, it counts as two months. The rule will be similarly amended for books that are really long or otherwise daunting.

April 2015 picks
We kicked off our book club in April. I picked The Bees by Laline Paull because I was deep in Baileys Prize reading, and I thought it might be the title from the longlist that Mr. Nomadreader most liked. I've already reviewed it, and he's still reading it (we're getting a slowish start to our book club!) We've been chatting about it periodically. I hope to bring you our shared thoughts soon. Mr. Nomadreader was granted an exception (aren't we generous?!) and picked one of his all-time favorite books, Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. I've been meaning to read it for years, and I'll be reviewing it for you this week.


May picks
I picked The Ghost Network, the debut novel by Catie Disabato. I knew in the first few pages that Mr. Nomadreader would love it. I devoured it while traveling for work last week, and I'll be reviewing it Wednesday. Mr. Nomadreader debated for weeks, but he finally decided on The Lost Boys Symphony by Mark Andrew Ferguson. I'm debating if I want to read it or listen to it, but I'll be starting it soon.

June picks
I've already picked my June book, but I'll keep you guessing for now because it hasn't been released yet. I will say only this: I rated it six stars out of five, and it's my favorite read of 2015 so far. I'm planning to re-read it this month, and y'all know I hardly ever re-read books. It's that good.

First thoughts
One obvious benefit of The "Darling, but..." Book Club is that it has Mr. Nomadreader reading more again. He loves to read (and majored in Literature), but doesn't make as much time for it as he wants to. It also pushes me outside of my comfort zone. I don't think it's a coincidence that all of our picks so far have some level of science fiction present. We don't just want to talk about great books. In fact, I'll settle for not great books that have lots of interesting ideas to discuss present. I hope to pick some nonfiction titles too. There's something particularly magical about two people who know each other so very well picking out one book a month for each other to read and discuss. It's the highest level of book concierge you can get. Mr. Nomadreader and I may not always agree on books (or other things), but we always love to talk about things. Being forced to read one book a month not of my own choosing, but picked by someone who knows me better than anyone else in the world, is pretty fun so far.

Now tell me: if you have a significant other (or best friend), do you pick books out for each other?


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15 comments:

  1. That's a great idea! My partner's book taste is much in the non-fiction department (science non-fiction, to be precise), and while I've read some of his picks, he's not really into all the fiction I read. But once per year, we pick books for each other to celebrate St Jordi's (St George's day). It's a Catalan tradition which is celebrated at the end of April. Traditionally women give men books and men give women roses, but we judged this to be unfair and a bit sexist, so we pick a book for each other. We make a trip to the bookshop together and choose the titles together. I love it, it's a lot of fun.

    (P.S. - would you mind at all enabling the Name/URL option in the comments? I don't really use my wordpress ID as my blog is at booksbikesfood.com, but this is apparently the only way I can comment on your posts. Thank you :-) !)

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    1. I love your version of the St Jordi's tradition! How fun! (And yes, I will re-enable name/url. The spam was out of control for awhile, so I turned it off.)

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  2. What a lovely idea! I'm lucky if I can persuade my husband to read one book a year, but I always love talking about it with him when he does. I hope you continue to enjoy your new two person book club!

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  3. I love this idea!! Jason and I read one or two books together around Halloween every year and it's so fun. Right now we happen to be reading Jurassic Park together too. And I cannot wait to see my what your next 6 star book is!!

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    1. I am so excited for the new Jurassic Park movie!

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  4. I LOVE this idea. Usually, it is me reading books and setting them aside for my husband to pick up at a later date. By the time he reads them, it has been so long that we cannot have a meaningful discussion anymore.

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    1. Michelle, that is exactly what has been happening over the years. I read so much more than Mike, so it seemed unfair to just keep piling books on him. I hope this way we can have more timely discussions!

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  5. I too love this idea! My wife and I talked about doing this before and never followed through -- but I might steal this idea. Can't wait to see more of these picks -- and read Mr Nomadreader's thoughts!

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    1. Audra, I would love to see you steal this idea--the more the merrier:-)

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  6. This is such a wonderful plan, and I can hardly wait to tell my husband about it. My husband and I are in our 70's now, and books have taken on more and more importance in our lives as we age and lose some of our ahtletic abilities. I am the picky reader, and only read books I pick out for myself. My husband reads just about anything. We often agree with our assessment of a book we've both read, but sometimes not. I look forward to reading your husband's posts. Oh--when you mentioned June's books and the one that is not published yet, I thought to myself--maybe she means Kent Haruf's book. But then you talked about science fiction stuff, so I doubt it's Haruf's book, but hope you review that one eventually. I love your reviews.

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    1. Mij, I hope my husband and I are still reading together in our 70's! I am excited for the new Haruf, but I want to re-read the others before diving in. I'll get to it...eventually!

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  7. Forgot to mention Kent Haruf's book--Our Souls at Night.

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  8. I married a non-reader. I know,. Unbelievable, right?

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    1. Ha! The most amazing thing is that he's still a non-reader though:-)

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!