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#IWSG : Have You Ever Founded a Book Club?

By 06/11/2019November 19th, 2019books, Featured, reading
Are you part of nay online or offline book groups? Founded any? What is the experience like? Do you think online book groups are similar to those offline?

Are you part of nay online or offline book groups? Founded any? What is the experience like? Do you think online book groups are similar to those offline?My debut literary crime novel,”You Beneath Your Skin,” published by the fab team at Simon and Schuster IN is slowly making its way into the world.

It is available in India here.

Worldwide, here.

If you’re a netgalley reviewer, snag a copy here.

Reviews are appreciated–please get in touch if you’d like a review copy.


Here on Daily (w)rite, as part of the guest post series, it is my pleasure today to welcome Tanu Sree Singh, who founded Senior Reading Racoons, a book group with nearly 30,000 members. She answers questions in all things books and reading!

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1. What inspired you to start a Facebook Book Group like Senior Reading Raccoons?

Honestly, it was a persistent nagging from the raccoons at the Junior book group, The Reading Raccoons-Discovering Children’s Literature, that led to SRR. We were blissfully discussing children’s literature when murmurs turned into direct messages for creating a space for grown-up books and here we are.

2. What is a typical day administering such a large Book Group like?

  • Insane doesn’t even begin to describe it. A typical day looks thus:
  • Get up and check notifications first thing in the morning.
  • Quickly delete the porn video/fabric sale post/ ‘I have written this amazing book’ post, that the harmless looking user the admin added last evening posted. Block him/her/it.
  • Delete posts about unbelievable offers, ways to get children to be expert at Maths and English. And of course discounts on mobile accessories.
  • Try to answer questions, while keeping an eye on the clock since real-world work beckons.
  • Put the phone on silent as notifications keep popping up.
  • Quickly repeat process between classes. I am an expert at walking and jabbing at mobile at the same time.
  • Answer inboxed questions -sometimes harmless, sweet ones asking about books, and at others accusatory ones about being unfair since their post about reading class got deleted. Or that I was biased towards friends. Never miss a message.
  • Post a picture or a short review of a book you bought or the children thrust on you demanding that you read it.
  • Check membership requests. Basically go to the user’s timeline and try to figure out if the profile is fake or genuine. Sometimes fail, resulting in step 2.
  • Repeat everything before the eyelids deliver a rude slap across the face to be able to sleep.
  • Things sometimes take a serious turn when online hatred for the tyrannical admins spills in to real life resulting in bad reviews of our businesses, books and even a fight with the child at school since the other child’s mom had been blocked from group!

Are you part of nay online or offline book groups? Founded any? What is the experience like? Do you think online book groups are similar to those offline?3. You manage this group along with a writing career. Please tell us something about what you’re working on now.

The worst question to ask any writer! Thank God I can hide behind the screen while I answer this because we usually mumble and hide behind a slice of cake, glass of wine or a curtain when asked about our upcoming works at social events.  Here I have the liberty of giving a well thought out answer.

After thinking for a few minutes, I have still not come up with anything resembling a mature, writerly response.

On a serious note, I am working on a few story ideas, a sequel to the parenting book and am waiting for my picture book to come out!

4. What are the five books you read last year that you would recommend?

Again a tough one since I do not maintain a log, but the ones that left a lasting impact are :

  1. The year of Weeds – Siddhartha Sarma
  2. The Hill School Girls Series – A. Coven
  3. Partitionsof the Heart – Harsh Mander
  4. The Inquisitor’s tale – Adam Gidwitz
  5. The Winternight trilogy – Katherine Arden

5. What makes you consider recommending a book to others?

No conscious thought goes in to this. I talk about the books I like and usually put out the reason for liking them. I am not a professional reviewer. In fact I am NOT a reviewer! I just write whatever I feel on reading the book and it often resembles fangirling. I can not critique a book giving merits and demerits since I am no authority. Simply put, if I love a book, I shout from the rooftops.

6. How do you pick books for your To-Be-Read list?

I have a web of sources! I mostly rely on the network of friends in the publishing industry and the wide variety I get exposed to thanks to them is overwhelming. I rarely go by Goodreads reviews or the number of stars on amazon.

7. What tips would you give to fit in more reading into our busy lives?

There can’t be any tips. There can only be reading. I always carry a book wherever I go. Audiobooks and kindle are a great idea for people who travel a lot. And then there is the good old loo – the most peaceful place to finish a chapter or two before the kids tear the door down.

8. How can someone join your book group? What are the do’s and don’ts?

Simple. Put in a request, answer the questions asked honestly, and then wait patiently. We get approximately a hundred requests on any given day. So sometimes it can take up to a week for the membership approval to come through. The dos and don’ts are clearly stated in the group rules. At the end of the day, the basic thumb rule is – STICK TO BOOKS! No dissing, no promotions, no ‘my shelf is better than yours,’ and no hidden agendas. Also one needs to remember, the admins are humans and have a real life!

Are you part of nay online or offline book groups? Founded any? What is the experience like? Do you think online book groups are similar to those offline?

 

Are you part of nay online or offline book groups? Founded any? What is the experience like? Do you think online book groups are similar to those offline?Dr. Tanu Shree Singh is a Professor of Psychology, specialising in Positive Psychology. Tanu runs two online reading groups of around 45k people, and has set up two libraries, and assisted 11 others.  Her book Keep Calm and Mommy On is much loved and acclaimed. She has written for anthologies for children. I’d Rather rRad published by Red Turtle is a collection of experiences and anecdotes about favourite books and libraries.  She has also written for Harper Collin’s collection of Horror stories slated for release this year.  Her picture book is expected to be released in 2019.  Her latest is a biography of C.V. Raman with DK Books. She also writes for leading online dailies. Her Indian Express Podcast on ‘Difficult Conversations with Children’ is currently the second most popular on the platform. Dr Tanu Shree Singh is also the Regional Advisor for SCBWI – India. 

 

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Social media by Chrys Fey 

This post was written for IWSG: Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) every month! Go to the site to see the other participants. In this group we writers share tips, self-doubt, insecurities, and of course, discuss the act of writing. If you’re a writer and a blogger, go join rightaway!

Opional question: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever Googled in researching a story?

I have googled so many strange things, so many of them NSFW, that I lose count. In recent times, I have for a flash fiction googled “how snails have sex” and it has uh…led to some interesting results, shall we say.

The co-hosts today are Sadira Stone, Patricia Josephine, Lisa Buie-Collard, Erika Beebe, and C. Lee McKenzie! Please go and give their posts some love.


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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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27 Comments

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyanti and Dr Tanu – I’m late … but this is so interesting to read … amazing story. I need to read more … and have joined a book club here in the next town – so hope to increase my reading ‘of reading books’ rather than light researching etc… cheers Hilary

  • rolandclarke says:

    Fascinating IWSG post with a difference. I’ve never been in a Book Cub until I joined the IWSG one on Goodreads; and we’ve read some books I might have missed. Like ‘The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society’.

  • macjam47 says:

    At the urging of a neighbor, I started a book club for our neighborhood. There was a lot of work getting it set up and getting members signed on. After a year I decided it just wasn’t for me. With all the books I read and review, edit, proofread for others, I just want to read a book of my choosing when I have the time to read for pleasure.

  • Pranita says:

    Some times I feel that our life itself is a big book must have to find stories from real life.

  • Good post. I know the woman who runs my writer’s group works way too hard. She’d gladly let anyone take over the leadership and no one’s hand is in the air!

  • Liz A. says:

    I’ve occasionally wanted to be part of a book club. Maybe someday.

  • Great interview. Never founded a book club but I am moderator for IWSG Goodreads Book Club It has not been as involving as such a large club like that, but it is enjoyable.

  • Pam Lazos says:

    I can’t imagine trying to corral 30,000 members. What an accomplishment!

  • Lidy says:

    Don’t think I have it in me to start and run a FB book club. Been a book lover since elementary school age and been an introvert for as long as that as well but I’d join one. Only concern is keeping up with the posts. And the bathroom is definitely a good place to read (always have to make sure the door is securely locked so the kids won’t burst in on me).

    Congrats on the release Damyanti!

  • JT Twissel says:

    Wow. I wish I had that kind of energy!

  • Kaddu says:

    Haven’t started an online book club, but did run an online magazine once. Oh and as a kid, I opened a small kids’ library at home (‘coz I had sooooo many books and comics, you see)… complete with library cards and everything! LOL! 😛

  • Soumya Prasad says:

    I’d love to be a part of a bookclub! It sounds like so much work inspite of the work and effort involved.

  • Simon says:

    I would like to be in a book club… I’ll have to look for one.

  • I’ve always kept extra books around, and have gotten out of the habit. I’m trying to get better about it again. It’s too easy to turn to solitaire on my phone when I have some extra time.

  • K.J. says:

    Congratulations on your new release!!

  • Carole Anne Carr MA says:

    Well done you, a marvellous thing to do and I should imagine very rewarding.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Tanu Shree’s book club is a hub for book-lovers, and I personally can’t thank her enough for all the wonderful works she does for the reading community.

  • Asha Seth says:

    I GUESS I WOULD LOVE A REVIEW COPY

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      I’ll put you in touch for review copies, Asha. Thanks so much.

  • Oops! I sent you a message when I meant to comment. Early mornings are not my friends! Books clubs take more than I thought to create and maintain. When I wrote THE NOT SO INNOCENTS ABROAD and THE NOT SO INNOCENTS AT LARGE, I wrote Reader’s Discussion sections at the end so that book clubs could check the internet links I left and find out that history is more strange than many believe … and so much is illusion not fact … ugly or embarrassing truths tend to be buried!

  • And I thought running the IWSG was tough! That’s a lot to handle. Especially all the spam stuff.

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