Book groups: the world's smallest book group.


Did you say you were the world's smallest book group?

We are not your typical book group, but we nonetheless represent the undeniable bond reading can form between people. Our book group is small but mighty and has been going strong although we live more than 1,200 miles from each other. Yes, each other. There are just two of us.

How did your group did started?

Debbie Ivy and I started as walking buddies. We lived in the same neighborhood in Mississippi and began meeting "at the corner" for early morning exercise. It didn't take long to realize we both had a love of reading! The first book we read as a "book group" in 2004 was Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife.

How is your book group organized?

As we began reading together, we started alternating picks. "Your turn to pick!" was, and still is, our most often heard phrase. We talked about our choices as we walked miles around our small town. In 2006, the unthinkable happened. My husband was transferred, and he and I moved to Pennsylvania. Although my whole world changed, one thing did not. "Your turn to pick!" became a balm to this homesick soul. Some of the books we read in 2006 after I relocated were The People's Act of Love by James Meek, Amagansett by Mark Mills, One Mississippi by Mark Childress, and In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant, which we still discuss from time to time. We read, on average, 12 to 14 books a year.

How can you both possibly have a book group "across more than 1,200 miles"?

Technology to the rescue! We text phrases, book page numbers, and quotations. We e-mail questions, thoughts, and plot twists that make us gape and ponder. Then, after every book, we conduct our "book group" by phone.

What have been your hits?

Markus Zusak's The Book Thief is maybe our all-time favorite. Debbie once phoned me and said, "I don't know what book Charlie Gibson is talking about, but tears are streaming down his cheeks, so it's my next pick." The Mine and the Well by Gin...

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