There are all kinds of firsts involved in being a published author. I’ve had some wonderful opportunities to speak at interesting venues. I’ve done public speaking before–in business, as a nonprofit leader–so these weren’t 100 percent firsts, just first for being an author. BUT a total first was my first book club meeting. Ever.

A San Francisco friend, Carol Parlette, invited me months earlier to her group’s meeting in November. She told me that the group had chosen my book as their book for their month, that they’d never had an author of one of their selections speak before, and that they’d love me to join them at their monthly meeting, which includes a dinner at a member’s home. Now, I love meeting new people (and Carol is the only member of this group I’d met before) and generically enjoy dinner with bright, interesting women. And the fact that they’d chosen After the Auction as their book club selection of the month was a huge honor. And, guess what? None of the members of this book club is Jewish! Dinner and wine were great, the questions incisive, and it was a rewarding and fun evening. I’ve got another San Francisco book club booking in March, thanks to another friend, Hazel Kawaja, the inspiration for the glossary of  Jewish terms in a past post.

So, you might ask, you’ve always been a reader, you’ve written a book–and you’ve never been a book club  member in your whole life, anywhere you’ve lived?

That is correct!  The closest I came was 30+ years ago, when, as a young mother, I moved back to Milwaukee and made friends with members of two predominant book clubs among women I knew. One was closed to new members, the other not. When I inquired about joining the latter, the new member chairperson called to interview me and then said she’d get back to me after the committee “would talk about” me. To be honest, my initial impression about the process of joining either of these clubs was that it reminded me of sorority rush, a process that led me to be a “GDI” (G-d damned Independent–talk about dating myself!) at Michigan. Let’s be honest–I didn’t make the cut, anyway! Once I heard the “talking about you” line, I bolted, said, “Oh, it really is like AE Phi and SDT,” and withdrew from consideration. Never to bother again. NOT a commentary on book clubs in general, I’m sure, just an unpleasant experience.

In addition to fear of rejection, I think my book club instincts relate more to wanting to allocate the time I have for reading to read what I want to read. Guess that’s the GDI in me. I love the camaraderie of women’s groups–any groups–and am hardly anti-social–but I’ve heard from too many friends about their book club selections dictating their reading time, not always pleasurably.

However, I hope that clubs reading After the Auction (and I know of a few) are enjoying it and I’m happy to talk to them either in person or via Skype!

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