In this week’s dive into Choosing Gratitude, I’m sharing about Fiction Matters, hands down my favorite bookish place on the internet.
Sara started her Instagram account over six years ago and added a Patreon last August. The Patreon includes a monthly bookclub (with a “Bookclub Kit” from Sara that includes discussion questions, author interviews, and reviews, plus a discussion on Zoom – because there are members around the globe, she offers two meeting times each month and some folks attend both), a podcast from Sara about what she’s read/reading, a monthly Bibliobrunch where members share book recommendations with each other (also on Zoom), and a Discord channel (admittedly it was intimidating to start, but Katie encouraged me to just dive in and she was right). Yep, daughter Katie is also a member and she gets all the credit for introducing me to FictionMatters’ Instagram a few years ago.
The first bookclub was last September; we read Zadie Smith’s On Beauty. I was blown away by the discussion – so many smart, thoughtful readers! This is not the neighborhood bookclub with gossip, wine, and maybe a few questions about the book. This was serious bookish delight! These discussions have encouraged me to be a better reader and for sure to read books I might not pick up on my own. I have a special Goodreads shelf for our bookclub books; you can see it here.
Over the months, I’ve gotten to know Sara and a handful of those other readers well enough to arrange buddy reads and share more personal book recommendations in our online connections. and now I’m a huge fan of Discord, too.
Last month, Katie reached out to eleven of my/our closest Fiction Matters’ friends and they replied with book recommendations tailored for me. Katie purchased thirteen of them and gave them to me for my birthday, along with tags that recorded who recommended each title.
These friends checked my Goodreads – not only are these books I haven’t read, in many cases they’re books that were nowhere on my radar. Having someone know you well enough to press a book into your hands and say “This book mattered to me and I want you to read it, too” is such a gift.
I created a special place for these books in my study Can you see them sitting on top of the hutch?
I also created a “Birthday Bibliobrunch” shelf on Goodreads (link)
Of course – you know me! – it’s tempting to drop everything and read these books. But another part of me is looking forward to savoring them, one title at a time over the next year. I have already finished How the Word is Passed (I borrowed it from the library and knew I needed to own a copy … it’s already full of highlights), but the rest are happily sitting on on the (To Be Read) shelf.
Bottom line, Sara and the Fiction Matters community are now an essential part of my life, and my reading is all the better for those connections.
and just curious – if you’ve read any of the books on my new shelf, do you have a suggestion of where I should begin?
Happy Thursday my friends!