With over 10-million book club members across the country, 90% of them women, it would seem as if every modern mom would already be in a book group. And yet, almost every day, I run into a harried mom at the supermarket, school, or the gym and she says to me, “I wish I could find the time to be in a book club.” After listening to how much they miss reading for pleasure, I realized that many of these extremely bright women were just putting off joining a book club out of fear. Book clubs have become trendy and hip, with each group vying to select the best books and create Food Network-inspired theme meals. Hosting a book group has become one more thing that women feel pressured to do perfectly, which defeats the premise of the book club. These literary gatherings do not have to be a formal affair; they should be fun and stimulating. All you need is a book.
With that in mind, I invite you to Join Modern Mom’s Online Book Club: The easiest way to instantly join a book club is to be part of a stimulating discussion online. You can read the book at your own pace and log on to your computer whenever it is convenient. I will select a novel each month, especially for the Modernmom.com community. These novels will all deal with personal issues and choices, controversial topics, interesting cultures, characters, and ideas. We will discuss each month’s selection on the message boards, with me as your moderator.
Our first Modern Mom Book Club selection is: The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean
About The Book: Bit by bit, the ravages of age are eroding
Vivid images of her youth in war-torn Leningrad arise unbidden,
As the people braved starvation, bitter cold, and a relentless German onslaught, Marina joined other staff members in removing the museum’s priceless masterpieces for safekeeping, leaving the frames hanging empty on the walls to symbolize the artworks’
eventual return. As the Luftwaffe’s bombs pounded the proud, stricken city, Marina built a personal Hermitage in her mind—a refuge that would stay buried deep within her, until she needed it once more. . . .
About The Author: Debra Dean worked as an actor in New York theater for nearly a decade before opting for the life of a writer and teacher. She and her husband now live in Miami, where she teaches at the University at Miami. She is at work on her second novel.
Beyond The Book: This book seamlessly weaves together two storylines, similar to the popular novel, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. As you are reading the novel try to think of ways that Marina’s story in the present, is parallel to or intersects with the story in the past. Debra Dean also adds a third layer to the novel by integrating particular pieces of art from the Hermitage Museum. Pay close attention to the descriptions of these works of art, they are relevant to the plot and the overarching themes of the novel.
Enjoy the book; it is an interesting and fast read.
Think about the beyond the book ideas and post any thoughts or questions you have on the message boards in the MODERN MOM BOOK CLUB section. I’ll post some other questions for you there, and e-chat with you about your thoughts. Happy Reading!
Julie Robinson is the creator and facilitator of Literary Affairs, a Beverly Hills-based organization that takes readers on unusual and entertaining journeys inspired by literature and authors. For more from Julie, check out www.literaryaffairs.net