When Kate and I dreamt up Book Box Club, one of the most important things that we wanted to create was an online community of friendly book lovers: a space where our unashamedly bookish members could chat openly about their recent reads and be allowed the unique opportunity to also chat with the authors of their favourite books.
It’s no surprise then that our Clubhouse book group meetings have become one of the highlights of our diaries each month. For those of you who are not (yet) members or have not yet had a chance to come to one of our meetings, they really are a whole lot of fun!
In each Book Box Club box our members receive a brand new YA release, lots of curated handcrafted bookish goodies and an invite to our members-only online book club with the author of our featured book. Our book groups are full of chat about inspirations,characters and sequels and give our members the chance to ask those burning questions to the brains behind the books: our lovely featured authors. We also show exclusive short video readings with the author sharing an extract from their book.
It’s so great to see our loyal members excitedly joining in the book group each month, but The Clubhouse is also a genuinely warm, welcoming atmosphere for new members. It honestly feels like we are all hanging out in the cosy backroom of a coffee shop!
Unlike other online book groups, which sometimes whizz by on Twitter with a limited number of characters for each response and that anxiety that you’re going to say something truly stupid and everyone in the world will be able to see it (!), our Clubhouse book group is 100% private. At our book group everyone is super friendly and we give all our members a chance to speak (but only if they want to). Your answers can be long essays or short quips and we think that his flexibility means more in-depth book chats and a relaxed environment that won’t leave you reeling and struggling to follow!
For any of our members who can’t make the meetings we also publish our book group minutes so that you can catch up with all of the chat in your own time.
We have had some brilliant book groups so far with lots of really different, equally brilliant authors including Peadar O’Guilin, Laurence Anholt, Cylin Busby and Laura Ruby and we thought we would offer you all a little sneak peek into what goes on behind The Clubhouse’s closed doors. Here’s some of our favourite moments from book groups gone by:
Our members discuss survival strategies at our book group with Peadar O’Guilin, author The Call:
KATE: I have a question for the whole group (Peadar included of course)… How would you survive The Call? GINTARE: I wouldn’t, I would most definitely be dead (that’s the spirit! haha) MOON: You could make a deal Gintare? AMY: It’s all to do with luck I think… LIBBY: I honestly don’t think I’d survive. I’m terrible at running and dealing with stress! I think I’d try to hide in a dark corner until it was all over! Haha! PEADAR: I would write myself a special hiding place that only, I the author, knows about… CORNELIA: I’m a great tree climber! That’s all I’ve got. PEADAR: The trees aren’t great for climbing on… I have some particularly interesting trees in the next book. CORNELIA: Oh, I’m screwed then. MOON: I’ve survived a few events before, and know self-defence and all that, but it’d depend on luck. CHLOE: I’d head to water and try to find those windows asap! But I’m not a brilliant swimmer so I’m not sure how that would go… MAJA: I would go below ground. to the traitors. trying to blend in. Kinda like Peeta does in Hunger Games!
Pearls of wisdom from our book group with Laurence Anholt, author of The Hypnotist:
LAURENCE: Yes, read read read… I think fiction is so important because a) it’s a beautiful creative way to relax and b) it’s like a gym for our ‘empathy muscles’… when you think about it, reading fiction is about the only way in which we can actually inhabit the minds of others… in a lifetime of reading we get the chance to live the lives of 1000s of diverse people, good and bad, young and old…!
An insight into book cover design from our book group with Cylin Busby, author of The Stranger Game:
KATE: I also have a question for Cylin. The cover really hints at that scene, I was wondering about how much involvement you had in the presentation of the final book? The cover and the blurb must have been a difficult thing to get right without giving away the book’s secrets. Please can you tell us a bit about your involvement after you finished writing?
KAREN: Oh yeah! I wondered about the cover too. It almost gives something away.
CYLIN: So glad you asked this! I think readers believe that authors have a lot of say over the cover and the copy that appears on the book and honestly, we don’t! You can sometimes have a clause in your contract that gives you “cover approval” but even then, you just get to see the cover in advance. I’ve been very fortunate to have amazing cover treatments on all of my books thus far in my career, and I thank the design team at HarperCollins for finding this photo for THE STRANGER GAME.
Writing tips from our book group with Laura Ruby, author of Bone Gap:
HOPE: I have a question about writer’s block: What’s your fix, Laura?
LAURA: My fix for writer’s block is 1) running 2) swimming 3) taking a shower. There are days I’ve taken five showers just to think through a scene I’m struggling with. Also: filling your head with other kinds of art. Music or photography or paintings or whatever.
HOPE: At least you know what works! 🙂 I think it’s really interesting how different writers deal with it!
KATE: Haha! I love that. 5 showers sounds like a dream day.
LAURA: They get your brain going and will sometimes unlock you.
LIBBY: Nothing beats a long hot shower! I am so using that excuse next time I spent half an hour in there!
LAURA: I’m very clean.
And here’s a couple of lovely quotes from our members about their experiences at our book group:
AMY: I’ve never been part of a book club before and found the idea quite daunting at first, but I’m so glad I signed up for The Book Box Club. I was always nervous that I would be out of my depth in a book club but the 2 girls that run it and all the other members are so great, everyone gets on like a house on fire at the monthly club groups and I love getting involved with the discussions which can range from in-depth world changing affairs to what snack everyone is eating! The authors are also at the chat groups and are very insightful – I love getting a few sneaky hints on up and coming sequels
GINTARE: There’s a monthly book club event where you can speak to the author and other subscribers online! I adored that part, and was pleasantly surprised I didn’t miss it hah! Whilst other book boxes do this on Twitter, I personally get stressed out by Twitter and hate the pace of it so this exclusive chat/event was a much better choice in my opinion.
If you want to be part of our book group, you’ll need to be a Book Box Club member. In your Book Box Club box you’ll find an invitation to our next meeting and we’ll remind you beforehand so you don’t forget to join us! To sign up to our TIME TRAVEL box (featuring a brand new, YA time-hopping book and lots of lovely goodies) and join our follow-up book group with the author, head over to our website now and subscribe.