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Anne Gracie | Do you like Book Groups?


There are two kinds of readers in the world — those who love analyzing a book, talking about themes and metaphors and some of the literary devices used and what the author was really getting at — and those  who hate analyzing, who just want to read and enjoy a book and who maybe want to have a bit of a fangirl gush and tell their friends if they love it, or move on to the next book if they don't. The first type of reader will often belong to a book group; the second to a book club.

But there's more than one reason to belong to a book group.

A book group — well, I call it a literary society, because that's what they called them in the Regency era — plays an important role in my new novel, THE AUTUMN BRIDE. But it's not to understand books better — it's to meet men.

Abby and her three impoverished "sisters" (in reality, one sister and two friends) have been taken under the wing of recovering invalid, Lady Beatrice Davenham, who has claimed them as her nieces. Lady Beatrice wants to help the girls to find husbands, but her autocratic nephew, Max, Lord Davenham knows perfectly well they're no relation, and utterly forbids her to take these impostors into society.

So how can the girls meet suitable men? They could go walking in the park at the fashionable hour, of course, but unless they're connected with other members of society, any offers they'd be likely to get would be highly unsuitable.

Abby and the girls have introduced the bedridden Lady Beatrice to the delights of a good book. They read to her aloud from some of their favorite stories. When her old friend Lady Beddington comes to visit, she waits while Abby finishes reading the chapter aloud, and at the end she says:

"Bless my soul, I never knew a book could be so entertaining."
"I know," Lady Beatrice said. "Before these gels came to live with me, I can't remember when I last read a book. All the books I'd ever been made to read were dreary, improving things, full of morals and lessons and homilies or facts—and that's when I could understand the dratted things. But Abby and the gels always find the most thrilling tales, and the only thing that's improved when we're finished is my mood."

This gives our heroine, Abby, an idea. If they can't go into society, they'll bring society to them. How? By forming a literary society while Lord Davenham is away on a business trip.

"A literary society?" Lady Beatrice exclaimed, screwing her nose up. "Where they discuss books nobody wants to read, and everyone pretends they're all very learned and compete to say the most intelligent things?" She grimaced. Her old friend nodded in agreement.
Abby leaned forward eagerly. "Ah, but this won't be that sort of literary society. It will be fun."
"Fun?" Lady Beatrice said doubtfully.
"It'll be much the same as we already do—one of us will read a chapter at a time, aloud, and then we'll have conversation, tea and cakes, just as we usually do."
Lady Beatrice's eyes narrowed. "No clever remarks? No looking for metaphors and themes and hidden dratted meanings?"
"Not if you don't want them," Abby said. "It will be your literary society, after all, and you will make the rules." Lady Beatrice clearly liked the sound of that.
"Just for the story, then, and the company?" Lady Beddington asked.
Abby nodded. "What do you think?" It wouldn't exactly introduce Jane to eligible men, but at least they'd have made some connections with their mothers and aunts.
"A literary society for people who don't want to be improved," Lady Beatrice said thoughtfully. "Just a good story, with wine and cakes . . . I like it." She looked at Abby and added, "The kind of thing an eligible young man could be prevailed on to escort his mother to."
"I'm not so sure of that. It's not really a young man's cup of tea—"
"Nonsense, we only need to get them here the first time. Once they meet those pretty gels, they'll be fighting to come back."
Abby laughed. "I like your optimism."

You'll have to read the book to see how they fare. And how Lord Davenham reacts.

So do you belong to a book group or not? Do you like analyzing books or do you just want to read and enjoy them? And if you love a book, who do you usually share your pleasure with?

I'll send a copy of THE AUTUMN BRIDE to someone who leaves a comment.




82 comments posted.

Re: Anne Gracie | Do you like Book Groups?

I have notyet read Autumn Bride, but all of the information given about it has made me really curious about the ladies and the book's hero. I look forward to reading it.
(Jan Rogoway 7:35pm January 30, 2013)

I don't belong to a book group. I like to read & enjoy a book
without analyzing it. I was a literature major in college &
had enough of that back then! At this point, I will comment on
blogs, but don't have any friends that enjoy the type of
romance novels I read, which are historical & contemporary.
(Sharlene Wegner 7:47pm January 30, 2013)

Hi Anne,
I like to simply read and enjoy them- it's relaxing. And when
it's a well-told story, then it also becomes...entertaining.
After reading an enjoyable novel I tell friends/family.
(Susan S 7:53pm January 30, 2013)

I simply like to read and enjoy books. I often tell others,
especially if it touches me in some real way. I pass books on
to my daughter, daughter-in-law and sister as well as others.
Once in a while an especially good book goes to the local
library so many can enjoy it.
(Mary Hay 8:24pm January 30, 2013)

I do not belong to a reading club right now but I love reading and sharing with my friends.
(Silvia Demmy 8:27pm January 30, 2013)

no to book group. Love to read. analyze a little.
(Beth Elder 8:52pm January 30, 2013)

I don't belong to a reading group. I'm a retired librarin who enjoys not having commitments to live by, but I thoroughly enjoy the entertainment provided by my reading! I cannot imagine a life without books/reading. Your book sounds great..
(Leanna Morris 9:07pm January 30, 2013)

love the cover of the book. dress would look great now...
(Teresa Roberts 10:21pm January 30, 2013)

I don't belong to a reading group, but I have a good friend I work with and
we discuss what we are reading. Sometimes the same book, but not
(Ann Sheiring 10:23pm January 30, 2013)

I don't belong to a reading group but I love to read especially mysteries and historical fiction. Looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for the contest!
(Teresa Ward 10:31pm January 30, 2013)

I love to talk about books :) It is also interesting at times to see how other people perceive some of the same books. When I find a book I love I usually talk about it to my friends and share with them
(Kim Atchue-Cusella 10:47pm January 30, 2013)

I don't belong to a reading group. I love to relax and read my books, and get away from the real world for a while. Thanks for a chance to win.
(Linda Hall 10:47pm January 30, 2013)

i would love to read this book and you have a great looking cover..
(Kimberly Hoefs 11:11pm January 30, 2013)

just read and enjoy, thanks for the chance
(Debbi Shaw 11:49pm January 30, 2013)

I am house bound so a reading group is not p[ossible that's why I love all the blogs to hear others review of different books!
(LeAnn Knott 12:25pm January 31, 2013)

I recently became a member of a book club, but I'm still a little on the shy side. I love it.
(Lisa Kendall 12:30pm January 31, 2013)

I belong to a book club.

I belong to a book club. We read books for the enjoyment of them and to see our friends. It really is a great to time to share a bottle of wine.
(Kathleen Yohanna 3:03am January 31, 2013)

I don't belong to a book club. I read books for pure enjoyment although I do
exchange them and would recommend books I've read with my work
colleagues most of which are also avid readers.
(Liesl Lane 3:48am January 31, 2013)

I really enjoyed The Autumn Bride!
I have been invited to join a book club within a society of which I'm already a member but have not had time yet.
(Clare O'Beara 6:04am January 31, 2013)

Sorry to get here so late — I've been out all day. Jan, I hope you enjoy the book.
Sharlene, I think it was being a literature major that ruined me for regular book
groups. i do like an occasional conversation and analysis, but there's something
about the "organized" manner of it that reminds me of university tutes too much. :)
(Anne Gracie 6:10am January 31, 2013)

Susan, for me reading is all about relaxation and pleasure, too. Mary, if I love a
book I force it on everyone I know who might like it. *G* I probably should have
been a librarian.
Silvia and Beth, isn't it great to share a book you love with friends?
(Anne Gracie 6:13am January 31, 2013)

Leanna, all my life I've wanted a job that just involved me reading — nothing else
-- not editing or reviewing or doing anything practical — just reading for my
own pleasure. When I was young I thought that's what librarians did. It was the
perfect job... until I discovered the truth.
(Anne Gracie 6:15am January 31, 2013)

I just like to read books and enjoy them. I find it difficult to talk about them.
(Michelle Donaldson 7:42am January 31, 2013)

I wish I did belong to a book group, but I have very little free time right now. Despite that, I'm carving out a evening for this book. I always look forward to one of your releases:-)
(Leigh Evans 7:55am January 31, 2013)

(Kent Cook 9:04am January 31, 2013)

I attend a book group at our local used book store. We all
just read what we want and share with each other. It is the
most eccentric, interesting bunch! Love it.
(Diane Peterson 9:25am January 31, 2013)

Anne I LOVE everything you write :P Bride By Mistake was one of my fave reads last year. LOVED it.
None of my friends are in to romance or historical romance so when I'm reading that I kind of have to go to online book groups through blogs or Goodreads. TBH though I kind of absorb the book quietly and look towards book groups for recommendations for future reads or to see how they rated current releases. It makes my to be read list miles long, but I'm not complaining.
(Sharon D 9:37am January 31, 2013)

I don't belong to a book group. And I tend to switch between books where i want to analyze everything and then those I just want to read for fun.
(Pam Howell 9:37am January 31, 2013)

No... I don't belong to a book group. Unless you count discussions on blogs and Goodreads...
(May Pau 9:40am January 31, 2013)

I've thought about joining a group - but never have done it. I LOVE to read - for the pure enjoyment of it. I don't tend to over-analyze anything, but I definitely will recommend a book I've liked/loved to friends but without much commentary so that they can decide on their own. Your book sounds great! Thanks for the chance to win. Even if I don't, I'll be getting it to read. Thanks again.
(Nancy Reynolds 9:47am January 31, 2013)

I don't belong to a reading club. Your book sounds real good.
(Wilma Frana 9:55am January 31, 2013)

I don't belong to any book groups. I don't want to analyze and discuss, just read and enjoy. If I discuss a book at all, it is with people on online blogs.
(Cheryl Castings 10:01am January 31, 2013)

I'm one that just wants to read the book and enjoy it, no analyzing for me. I love the cover of this book also. I've never belonged to a book club because I like to read the books that interest me and simply enjoy them.
(Bonnie Capuano 10:07am January 31, 2013)

I don't belong to a book club, I just enjoy reading and don't care about discussing or analyzig. Enjoyed reading your blog.
(Sheila True 10:34am January 31, 2013)

I belong to several book clubs and they are not all similar to the ones in THE AUTUMN BRIDE, which is GREAT btw and I highly recommend. Our book club talks about what we liked and didn't like about a book, listen and question an author sometimes, but mostly enjoy friendship of other members and get great IDEAS for books to read next

As avid readers we all want to know what to read next.
(Sara Reyes 11:10am January 31, 2013)

I do not belong to a book club... I like to enjoy a book in my own time and speed... I will tell those closest to me about a book if I found that it was really really good or was funny... liking the sound of your book... thanks for sharing!
(Colleen Conklin 12:01pm January 31, 2013)

I read for fun and would find it distracting to analyze or discuss a book.
(Anna Speed 12:03pm January 31, 2013)

I don't belong to a book club, but to a group of friends who share which books we just have to read. We all read different things and we don't break them down into catagories, just enjoy them.
(Carolyn Overholser 12:09pm January 31, 2013)

I read for fun and read because... well, I have to. I
brought my children up reading and my daughter looks forward
to break in from college so she will have time to read. My
son, not so much but now that he is in the Marines he tells
me he finds more time to read in the bunks. If I
particularly enjoy a book I will leave a review in the usual
places and definitely share my opinion of a good book with
friends. I also join in chat groups when work and time
allows. Interaction with authors and other readers is great.
(Pennie Morgan 12:10pm January 31, 2013)

I don't belong to a book group. In fact, I don't even know
of any in my area. I do love to read. I have always made a
point to get up a little early so I can have a few minutes
of reading time, and I usually read at least a chapter or
two before going to sleep. I can't imagine my world without
books (or my kindle!).
(Marguerite Guinn 12:22pm January 31, 2013)

I have signed up for a few book groups...I love finding new books and authors and I like real opinions. I always pass on good books to my mom, sister or sister-in-law.
(Sue Galuska 12:26pm January 31, 2013)

(Shelly Caggiano 12:31pm January 31, 2013)

Love our book group.
(Linda Calvert 12:32pm January 31, 2013)

I would love to have access to a Book Group, but we only have book clubs that read and gush over particular books the members feel have literary standards. If you were to mention sub genre reads, those who attend, and who are rather upitty,feel it's beneath them to read such nonsense. I think all genres are relative, even if I chose not to read them. I'm a retired English teacher with advance degrees and adore Romance. The Autumn Bride has been on my Amazon wish list for months. Can't wait until it is released.
(Melissa Justice 12:32pm January 31, 2013)

I don't belong to a book group at the moment. I moved away
and have not yet found the type of camaraderie that most
appealed about the group. We did do some analyzing but we
enjoyed the books and each other's company.
(G. Bisbjerg 12:53pm January 31, 2013)

Yes, I love book groups but....there is always a but, isnt
there...I like to feel comfortable enough to be able to say
exactly what I think about characters, books, story etc. And
thanks to Janga , I now found another fresh new author for
me to dig into ! Cannot wait to get your books! Here goes!
(Hope Stern 12:54pm January 31, 2013)

I have a hard time taking a book apart and so belong to the second group. I belong to some online book clubs and discuss books with family and friends.
(Connie Schultz 12:55pm January 31, 2013)

I simply like to read and enjoy the story. No book groups or clubs for me.
(Bonnie DeRosa 12:56pm January 31, 2013)

I don't belong to a book club, but would love to! I would enjoy sharing my views on a book with othrs who have read the same book. I haven't been able to find a group to join in my area.
(Sybil Derderian 1:20pm January 31, 2013)

I do not belong to any book clubs. I share all my books and write reviews of ones I have read on though! Thanks for the chance to win!
(Angie Lilly 1:20pm January 31, 2013)

I do belong to a book group - I find that books are to be enjoyed and to be discussed. There are different books out there that feed these needs and more than a few that cross the lines into both.
I love reading, and I love sharing what I get out of a book and bouncing the ideas off others - which can change a perspective on a character or even a writer.
I have a site that I review books on and find that I will share my books with family, friends, and people I never met (other than online) so that they can experience a book. Some though must be put on my shelf to return to.
(Carla Carlson 1:35pm January 31, 2013)

congrats on the new release! I don't belong but I would love
(Erin Fender 3:21pm January 31, 2013)

I'm getting the good book feeling from this one.
(Callie Stuck 4:53pm January 31, 2013)

I don't belong to a club and i am someone that just loves to enjoy a book! I also like to push my friends into reading my favorite books!!
(Ioana Churchill 5:02pm January 31, 2013)

The Autumn Bride is definitely going on my reading list. I would love to read how the "literary society" works out. I do not belong to a reading group. I just like to read for pleasure.
(Bonnie H 6:00pm January 31, 2013)

I don't belong to a book group -- I like reading what I want,
when I want. I always have my Kindle or a print book with me,
and I'm always getting into book discussions wherever I go.
(Elizabeth Hyatt 6:33pm January 31, 2013)

I did belong to a book group at one time, but left when members did not read the books chosen. I occasionally join the book discussion at my local library.
(Mary C 6:33pm January 31, 2013)

I don't belong to a book club although I would like to exchange ideas with others who enjoy your books as much as I do.
(Dolores Feagin 7:17pm January 31, 2013)

I'm in an online book group where we talk about favorite books and recommend to each. We take turns picking an author of the month where everyone tries to get at least one of those author's books to try out if not read before. Have found several new authors to me that way.
(Pamela Pellini 7:39pm January 31, 2013)

Haven't really been interested in a book club. Reading for me is my down
time. night when everyone is asleep. I do enjoy comparing books
with my daughter, our time to bond.
(Margaret Murray-Evans 7:53pm January 31, 2013)

I've never been interested in joining a book club. Most of the ones in my area don't seem to read the kinds of books I enjoy.
(Diana Thomas 8:17pm January 31, 2013)

I don't belong to a book group, but I will share my books with friends when I love them. I do get excited when I can talk to someone who loves books to give my recommendations. I love the cover of your book and wish you success!
(Renee Pajda 8:26pm January 31, 2013)

Sad but true, I do not belong to a book group yet but would
love to do soon in the future. I have always loved English
courses in school and writing and reading Poetry. I would
love to be a book author like you someday soon too. I have a
bunch of great ideas and would love sharing them with
friends soon. Your book THE AUTUMN BRIDE sounds like a
fantastic book to read and I would love to give You feedback
when I am finished with it too. Thanks for the great contest
and Happy New Year everyone. Thanks, Cecilia CECE
(Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez 8:43pm January 31, 2013)

OK, Sorry, fighting a Bad Cold so fixing my earlier
Typos:Sad but true, I do not belong to a book group yet, but
love to join a book club soon.I have always loved English
courses in school and writing and reading Poetry. I would
love to be a book author like you someday soon too. I have a
bunch of great ideas and would love sharing them with
friends soon. Your book THE AUTUMN BRIDE sounds like a
fantastic book to read and I would love to give You feedback
when I am finished with it too. Thanks for the great contest
and Happy New Year everyone. Thanks, Cecilia CECE
(Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez 8:43pm today)
(Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez 8:50pm January 31, 2013)

I don't belong to a book group. If I enjoy a book I talk about it with someone who enjoys that genre.
(Cheryl McEwen 9:03pm January 31, 2013)

I used to belong to a book club, it did tend to be just as you describe. A bit
overly analytical for me, so now I just read on my own.
(Elizabeth Krentz-Wee 9:20pm January 31, 2013)

Never in a group, just like to read, and will tell others ,if I enjoy the book.
(Deb Pelletier 9:37pm January 31, 2013)

great post! And the book sounds fun! I've always been a fan of regencies. I'm not in a book club/group. I like to read and enjoy. I tell everyone I can about books/authors I love!
(Christy Comstock 10:39pm January 31, 2013)

I look forward to reading The Autumn Bride and seeing how
their Literary Society turns out. I've never been part of a
book group so I can't say if I like them or not. I do know
that I don't like analyzing a book, to me that just takes the
joy out of reading it.
(Lisa White 11:00pm January 31, 2013)

I've never been in a book club but I enjoy reading and hope to join a club when I retire and have the time.
(Sue Farrell 11:15pm January 31, 2013)

I love reading and analyzing the book. I like to know why I love the characters in the book and hate certain characters in the book. I love knowing why the characters are who they are.

I belong to a book club. My group would get into hot, heated debate of the characters, story, and plot.
(Kai Wong 11:24pm January 31, 2013)

I do not currently belong to a reading group. I sometimes analyze the books I
am reading, but most of the time, I read for enjoyment. If I really enjoy a
book, I do tend to look at just why it was so good.
]I worked at a small rural county library for several years. One of the best
parts of the job was being able to talk with patrons about books and make
suggestions for their next book or author. We would sometimes compare
notes on a book and I always tried to see what they thought of it. That is one
of the things I miss the most about the job. It was nice being able to order
books for different collections. I was the children's librarian, but also the only
one that would admit to reading romance, so I had a lot of input into what
was being ordered.
I have heard wonderful things about THE AUTUMN BRIDE and look forward to
reading it.
(Patricia Barraclough 11:29pm January 31, 2013)

love book groups, but mine broke up--all seemed to be too busy
(Denise Holcomb 11:49pm January 31, 2013)

I don't belong to a book club...I'm happy when I can carve out time to read. I can see the enjoyment of reading and sharing/discussing the likes and don't likes of books with others who have read them---sort of a bonding and validation and sometimes seeing things from a different perspective or when something is pointed out that you may have missed. That being said, I'm not referring to really analyzing books but just sharing the enjoyment of the book.
(p c 12:22pm February 1, 2013)

I pretty much want to read and enjoy.
(Janie McGaugh 12:23pm February 1, 2013)

I've never belonged to a book group, but I love the idea.
(Mary Preston 8:05am February 1, 2013)

I don't belong to a book group, but it sounds like fun. I love the cover of the book.
(Rita Wray 10:15am February 1, 2013)

I don't belong to a book club. In fact, I don't know of anyone that I personally know that reads romance stories except me. I read to get away and enjoy the stories.
(Cathy Phillips 2:54pm February 1, 2013)

I have never belonged to a book club. I just love to read a good romance. Your book THE AUTUMN BRIDE sounds great. Would love to read it.
(Carol Woodruff 5:09pm February 1, 2013)

Anne I have been in a bookgroup for over 15 years. Only 3 of
the original members and currently 7 women. Have loved
sharing life's journey and have read many books that I would
never have accessed! We drift around re discussions and have
a cute set of "rules" including that you don't have to read
the book, and that not reading it doesn't preclude you from
having an opinion!
(Maggie Baron 8:17pm February 1, 2013)

I have never joined a book club but it is quite a coincidence that I found myself only this week comparing the writing styles of two different authors. I have read three books already this week by two diffent authors and the characters of one of the authors were so believable. Their actions and reactions were so like how real people do so. The storyline and characters of the other author left me thinking the author must have worked to write the most books, not the best books she could. I kept feeling "no body would do that."
(Gladys Paradowski 12:07pm February 2, 2013)

Have loved reading all these comments — thank you so much. And thank you to
Fresh Fiction for having me visit.
(Anne Gracie 5:18pm February 11, 2013)

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