Circle of Sisters of Columbus Interview with Helen Gibson and Georgette Martin
Helen Gibson, Circle of Sisters Book Club is a straight country girl from Alabama who currently resides in Columbus Georgia. She is a lifelong reader who honestly cannot remember a time that she did not have a book in her hand. She’s told that even as a toddler she was reading magazines upside down!
BPM: Please tell us about your book club, store or blog!
Our Book Club started after many years of me and a fellow reader saying “We should start a Book Club in our church when we finish….”. There was always another program, another event, another ‘something’ that made us hold back starting the club. In 2009 when we both got our first Nooks we again talked about starting a book club, but held off. It wasn’t until 2016 that we finally realized there will always be SOMETHING going on so let’s just do it. We decided to have an interest meeting to see how many were interested but rather than invite only members of our church, we also invited other friends and coworkers. We were truly astonished about how many readers were members of our own congregation and had no idea we all shared a love of books. That was amazing for us! We now have 23 members to include 6 out-of-state members who join us via skype or what’s app.
BPM: Tell us about your members. What is the demographic of your group?
Since we are located near a military base, our group is diverse: single, married, young, older. We are a lively bunch!
BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? When do you select the books?
The first few months of the club, it was difficult selecting books. No one wanted to actually nominate a book; we got a lot of “whatever the group decides…”. After talking it over, my co-president and I decided to just make the selections ourselves since everyone wasn’t participatory in nominating and voting.
For 2017, we made book marks for the year’s selections with no problems. Every other month we read an AA book; we decided early on that we would not limit ourselves to a particular genre of books. This has worked well for us during our first year. We read one book a month for discussion, but if we read a particularly good book in between we make sure we tell the others to get it.
BPM: What are you reading now? How did you find out about this book? What books are on your reading schedule?
Right now we are reading Destiny Lingers by Rolonda Watts. Georgette and I met Rolonda at the NBCC last year and purchased her book; from the buzz we have received so far everyone is enjoying it. A few other books that we will be reading this year are Glass Houses by Brian W. Smith, Private Sins by Brenda Barrett, and Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. We just finished The Perfect Affair by Lutishia Lovely and whew! what a ride that was!!
BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? Do you prefer to read digital books? Does the price of ebooks play a big part in the purchase? Would you ever stop buying printed books?
Early on we made it clear that it did not matter how you read the book. We just encouraged reading; that was our main goal. We do, however, stress the importance of supporting AA authors, buying their books instead of sharing their books, and leaving reviews for the books we enjoy. So far, the price of e-books has not been questioned and has not hindered our reading selections. Although most everyone in the group has an electronic reading device, I don’t think we will ever stop buying DTB. I visit our local B&N store at least once a week.
BPM: Do you host special events during the year or do you work for any charities? Do you get together as a group to socialize outside of your book club meetings?
Since our club is still relatively new, we have not had the opportunity to host any special events or participate in any type of charity work. Hopefully, as we enter into our second year we will be able to help spread the joy of reading! We are also thinking of ways to annually celebrate our club of sisterhood reading so maybe an annual get-a-way is on the horizon for us. We’ll see.
BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers who are in or who might want to start a book club?
If you want to start a book club…JUST DO IT….don’t wait for ‘whatever’ to happen or not happen. Just send out the invites and start your club. If only two people show up, meet and keep it moving. If you’re already in a book club, enjoy the experience and don’t stress about the rest.