Book clubs are not a thing of the past. In fact, they are all the rage for book lovers everywhere, especially given the technological advances that have made it possible to find, join, and even host one online.
How to Find a Book Club
In days past you were most likely to find a book club by word-of-mouth from fellow readers, or through your local libraries or brick-and-mortar bookstores. The good news is those tried-and-true methods still work today.
But now you can find the book club that’s right for you with a simple internet search. Bookclubs.com is a popular one which allows you to search for a book club by preferred genre or your location, with parameters of how you far you’re willing to travel. (I found that “local” book clubs were few, this site only listing 146 such groups internationally. It may still be best to find your local club through local sources.)
Virtual Book Clubs
Some book clubs are virtual, meaning they meet online using webinar platforms such as Zoom. This allows you to join the group you like best without geographical restrictions, which might be preferred for those who are less able or willing to get out and socialize.
But I would recommend the traditional type of book club, even if it forces you out of your comfort zone. It’s a great way to meet new friends, discover new authors, and have lively discussions about a passion you’ll share with everyone in the room—reading!
My Recent Book Club Experience
Last week I had the pleasure of appearing as a guest author for a local book club, a small group of serious readers, all ladies, the lot of them serious athletes as well—each hardcore CrossFit athletes and one of them even a coach. Trust me, this was a tough crowd, and I was well behaved!
In the interest of full disclosure, my daughter was among them.
They had selected my memoir, NOTHING LEFT TO PROVE: A LAW ENFORCEMENT MEMOIR as their book-of-the-month. Their feedback was terrific, their discussion and questions energetic and engaging.
The Tragic Story of Baby Vanessa
Cassie, a mother of two who is expecting again in November, went straight to the tragic story of Baby Vanessa. She was effected profoundly by the story of how my partners and I responded to a “baby not breathing” call with such intensity that we raced around the guard arms at a railroad crossing, narrowly beating an oncoming train in our effort to save her. How we scooped the baby from her distraught mother’s arms and raced to the emergency room, instinctively knowing the paramedics were too far out. It’s a story that will touch everyone, and as I told the group after discussing that case, I still get choked up when I read my own memoirs about it.
Not a Badass
One of the two Katies said she never knew I was such a badass. I assured her I wasn’t, and that I never have been. I don’t consider myself tough or a hero or anything other than someone who doesn’t quit at anything I set my mind to. True, I’ve been through life-altering, hair-raising deadly encounters—many of them, as chronicled in my memoirs—but those were only the things I found along the path God chose for me, and thankfully, He guided me through them mostly unharmed.
In the Beginning
We talked about how I began writing, which of course forces me to tell a story about the case of a human head found hanging in a tree, a near-deadly vehicle mishap, and a visit with the shrink. Okay, a series of visits, and a grim but not unexpected diagnosis.
The Security Gig
Sarah said she couldn’t believe the things that happened to me when I worked security in the years before becoming a cop. “You did more there than many cops will ever experience.” She was referring to several deadly encounters and great felony arrests, but that quickly segued into the story about a bloody man running down the streets not far from Cielo Drive where the first Manson murders occurred, in the middle of the night. It is a frightening story that strangely has a humorous ending.
Someone in the group asked what I hoped people would get out of my book. Truthfully, I wish every first responder, and those who hope to be, will read it and embrace my honesty about how I left law enforcement a broken man, and how I have and continue to recover. PTSD is deadly and we in law enforcement—especially—have not been good at addressing it with and among ourselves. There are more cop suicides every year than line-of-duty deaths, and that is a terribly tragic situation.
Maybe the coolest part of the night for me—other than being the center of attention to some wonderful young women—was meeting the visiting sister of one of the club members who had also listened to the audio version of my book in the days leading up to the meeting. When introduced to her as Danny, she became quite animated, saying, “The author? No way!” As if I were special in some way. Well, she and my mother can start their own group now, because I’m pretty sure they’re the only two who think so.
Invite me to Your Book Club Meeting
If you have a book club and your group wants to read any of my books, I will join your meeting live if I can, virtually if not. Yes, I live in Idaho now, but I do travel for book promotions, and you may be able to lure me to your town. Especially if you live somewhere that engine block heaters are not found on trucks, and you don’t even know what they are.
Email me: email@example.com
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Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you will share it with your family and friends.
I will keep this in mind! I am hosting the book club I belong to next month. We take the summer off so you will still have to think about that engine block heater!
Hahaha! Excellent, Alissa. Just let me know. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Growing up with a library card, guess that was my first book club. Smitty makes good points. Remember when I taught him to spell big words and he started using the pointy end of the pencil much more that the rubber one.
We’ll done brother
Hahahaha… you taught me how to be a street cop but let’s not get too carried away there. (;
Danny is a personal friend and golf buddy of mine. What he says about the book club atmosphere and discussions is so spot on. I’m not a member of any clubs officially, but I’m lucky enough to be able to voice my likes and dislikes, opinions, and commentary directly with him. This blog post has given me the boost to find a like minded group. I don’t tell him this often, but he’s right about this!
Haha… thanks, Schauer. Funny as I wrote this I thought about our informal book club. It’s great to have friends who you can talk books with, and not everyone has that. Another reason to find a club!
I’m glad those ladies had a chance to meet you, and trust me, you’ll always be a bad ass hero in my book. You battled in the valley of darkness and emerged battered, but unbowed. Keep giving us those great books. Stay strong, Danny.
Thank you, brother.