Tag: Oprah

Finally! A Book Club Anyone Can Join Anywhere

“Introvert Happy Hour”. Three words that Guinevere de la Mare would use to describe the Silent Book Club. Bookstr had the chance to (virtually and cross-coastal) sit down with the group’s founders and get an SBC blurb.

Silent Book Club is a renowned hobby-turned-business that longtime friends Laura Gluhanich and Guinevere started back in 2012. What began as two friends carving out reading time in their busy lives, grew into an ever-expanding organization of groups of readers meeting to read together, in public, in silence. According to the founders themselves, SBC is an easy, low-friction way for people to connect with a shared passion.

The Silent Book Club has an origin story worthy of a New York Times bestselling novel. Laura and Guinevere are both incredibly busy women and in 2012, they decided to meet at a local bar in San Francisco, committing to reading at least one chapter of the books they had on the go at the time. They followed this up with gossiping and chatting, before deciding to make it a regular occurrence. Guinevere herself even harks back to the early days of SBC as “an excuse to have a glass of wine!” Whenever Laura or Guinevere posted on their social media about their meet-up, they deployed an instagram hashtag. Friends started asking to come along, and for the first year or two, it was a core group of ten or so. When a friend moved to New York, they decided to co-ordinate bi-coastal meetings, using their trusty hashtag to virtually link up.

 

 

This new chapter starting up in Brooklyn, alongside another in L.A., was “the seed that put it [Silent Book Club] into the world”. Afterwards, a Facebook group was launched, along with a website. Suddenly SBC was not just a core group of friends, but strangers started joining and the group took on a life of its own. The growth hasn’t stopped since.

image via silent book club

In February of 2019, Silent Book Club was featured on Oprah’s website – that’s right THE Oprah. Later the same year, in August, they were featured in an NPR article. This article, in particular, caused an explosion of growth. Within six weeks, they had doubled the number of active chapters. Positive press, alongside word of mouth, have benefited Silent Book Club immensely, allowing for continual growth and movement from strength to strength.

What this growth meant for Laura and Guinevere is that they now had an organization to run. Luckily, as self-professed “tech veterans”, they were no strangers to start-ups. Their familiarity with that world gave them expertise they could tap into. Most importantly, they both had experience in building communities and at the end of the day, Silent Book Club is one big reading community, connected by a shared love of books.

The community aspect is hugely important to the group’s founders, and requires active effort. Guinevere points out that the twitter community of readers (or book twitter) used to be a wonderful, nurturing, intellectual and funny space, before it was “eaten alive by marketing and all that it is now”. Silent Book Club tries to avoid the same fate, keeping the ethos of understanding and lack of judgement paramount. Judgement does sometimes come externally, though, but the people that are scornful of the groups or look down on them generally don’t come out from behind their online avatars.

 

 

A Silent Book Club, while not stringent in its execution, does follow a formula. Turn up, order (or not), take a seat, have a chat, an hour of reading, and maybe some more chat. The administrative side of operations has its own formula, too. When you join the network, you have to agree to some guidelines. Rule number one is Be Kind and that stays true online. On their Facebook page, all members answer screening questions, are monitored for spam and all posts are pre-approved. Guinevere points out that neither she or Laura have any qualms about kicking people out if they aren’t adhering or are being rude as “Facebook is not a public town square” for arguments. The group share a set of core beliefs and acceptance is one of the most important aspects. “All readers are welcome, even e-readers!” Now that’s truly inclusive.

 

image via pinterest

While book clubs often have a stereotype of being inherently female, the SBC has a more balanced demographic. Their London chapter is fronted by a male organizer and he is one of the longest running organizers of the group. By taking the pressure of an assigned book off, the book club is opened up to a lot of different people with different interests. Publishing and book selling or buying is often skewed towards women, but as Guinevere points out; “men read”. The SBC offers a space for anyone and everyone, so long as you come bearing a book!

 

The group’s founders find it rewarding to see the spread of Silent Book Club, and to see how many people it impacts. Laura and Guinevere also cite their continued connection as one of the best things to come out of their hobby-turned-business. Starting a business with a friend can destroy a relationship but theirs has flourished. Every once in a while, they even meet up just the two of them like the days of SBC yore.

 

Guinevere and laura | image via silent book club

The Silent Book Club has over 250 chapters in twenty-seven countries. Check out the crew in Pasadena, Innsbruck, Fort Wayne, New York, Newport, Geneva, London.

Take a look at their finder here to find one nearby, and if you can’t, start your own – bring a little slice of the Silent Book Club community to your own city! One thing is for sure, the SBC is only going up, and we for one, can’t wait to see their trajectory.

Featured image via read it forward

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Book Tour Canceled Due to Criticism

American Dirt, a novel that Oprah immediately claimed as part of her book club, is now causing an uproar. The author, Jeanine Cummins, is facing criticism for her stereotypical depictions of Mexicans. So, for Cummins’ safety, her publisher had to cancel the reminder of her book tour.

Image via Amazon

 

The novel is about a Mexican woman and her son, and how they flee to the U.S Boarder. Before the controversy the book was widely praised, even before its January 21 release. Then Mexican American writers began to criticize Cummins, who is of Irish and Puerto Rican descent, for the way she stereotyped the characters. According to her Publisher at Flatiron, Cummins spent the past five years writing this book and they’re saddened by the backlash, because Cummins had good intentions for this work of fiction. Now her book tour is cut, and even before it was cut, Cummins already did some promotional work, but a Saint Louis based Bank Books canceled an event, and others, including California stores canceled their events as well.  However, despite the backlash Cummins is facing, her novel is still doing quite well. It is number 8 on the Amazon best seller list.

Image result for jeanine cummins"
Image via NBC News

 

Even though her tour is canceled, Cummins still has one more interview left. She has a major interview with Oprah this month that will air on Apple TV in March. Her interview is the third one chosen by Oprah to air on the streaming service. Oprah picked the book last fall for her book club, before the criticism arose, and according to Oprah, she hears the Latinx community and understands their concerns, and by meeting with Cummins she can get a better understanding from both sides.


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Featured image via CBS Baltimore

The Queen of Media Oprah Winfrey Turns 66 Today

Oprah

image via the atlantic

Talk show host, actress, philanthropist, author, and overall Queen of Media Oprah Winfrey celebrates her 66th birthday today.

Winfrey was born Jan. 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi to Vernita Lee and Vernon Winfrey. Her parents separated soon after her birth and she was left in the care of her maternal grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee. Winfrey moved around frequently as a child, bouncing from the urban, poor life of her mother to the safety of her father’s home.

 

 

Oprah says that her life was saved by her father. Her father was quite disciplined and had a focus on education, which made Winfrey a star pupil. Winfrey went on to get a full ride to Tennessee State University and received two offers from CBS before accepting a role as co-anchor of the evening news on WTVF-TV. Winfrey’s role with CBS was groundbreaking because she was the first ever African-American female anchor in Nashville history.

 

Oprah with kindle.
image via pinterest

Her role as anchor wasn’t the only groundbreaking thing Oprah would achieve, as many readers already know. Her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which launched in 1986, won several Emmys for Best Talk Show, and Oprah herself was honored as Best Talk Show Host. She also launched her own production company, Harpo Inc., in the summer of 1986 so she could produce on topics that were important to her.

 

 

Besides her roles on the screen, Oprah has played a significant role in the literary world. Between writing almost 20 books, launching her book club and the Oprah stamp of approval, she has inspired many people to read.

Launched in 1996, the Oprah book club has meticulously selected books for her audience to read, many titles that she selected go on to be bestsellers. Some titles on her prestigious list include Becoming, The Invention of Wings and many other titles.

 

Oprah holding sun does shine book

image via youtube

For all that she has done, in all of her many fields, we here at Bookstr wish the Queen of Media a very happy 66th!

featured image via Biography


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8 Best Things to Happen to the Book World This Decade

This decade has been truly revolutionary for the book world. From opening up literature to the masses via the internet, to delving deeper into your favorite books with podcasts and apps, reading and writing has never been easier. Here are the best things to happen to the book world in the last ten years.

1. Bookstagram

 

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A pie-fect look back at 2019… Here’s to a new TBR pile for 2020! ?#RBCregram @pieladybooks

A post shared by Reese’s Book Club (@reesesbookclub) on

With the rise of Instagram has come bookstagram: social media users who photograph and talk about books and authors online. From beautifully aesthetic, creative blogs like @lifebyesther and the @chroniclebooks feed, to genre-specific accounts like the fantasy-focussed @thisgirlhasn0name. Celebrity bookclubs like Reese Witherspoon’s @reesesbookclub continue to post beautiful and inspiring content daily! Which brings me to my next point…

 

2. Celebrity Book Clubs

reese witherspoon .jpg
Image Via E!News

The internet has connected people like never before, and now with just a click of a button or a few taps of a keyboard, you can get in touch with other readers all around the world. This has meant that celebrities with a passion for reading are able to share this passion with their followers, and bookclubs headed by famous personalities have been springing up left, right and center. Perhaps the OG celeb bookclub is Oprah’s Book Club, a career maker for any author chosen. Emma Roberts’ Belletrist, Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf, and Reese Witherspoon’s Reese’s Book Club are all making waves too, with Witherspoon choosing to adapt, produce and sometimes star in adaptations of many of the books she selects for her followers. Don’t miss her alongside Kerry Washington in the Hulu miniseries of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere, coming to your screens in March 2020.

 

3. Podcasts

Image via Irish Examiner

Podcasts are definitely one of my personal highlights from the last ten years. I just can’t get enough! And as a lover of a good yarn, there have been several that have really stood out for me. True crime podcast Serial, written and hosted by journalist Sarah Koenig would top any podcast enthusiasts Best of the Decade list. An intricately woven and brilliantly wrought tale of a botched murder inquiry, an unfair trial and a fight for justice, Serial documents the real-life case of the murder of Hae Min Lee and Adnan Syed’s conviction. Fictional podcast series have also been huge successes, with series such as Welcome to Nightvale and Limetown topping the charts. If you’ve just finished a book and are dying to get into some deeper discussions, all you need to do is search on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts, and you’ll find countless episodes of podcasts reviewing and chatting about it!

 

4. Facebook Live

Image Via Twitter

We love a good Facebook Live interview here at Bookstr, and here’s why. Facebook Live is a unique way for authors to connect with their fans and gain new ones, while interacting with them in real time. Fans can type questions in the comments and the host will ask the author whatever it is you want to know! We’ve had some brilliant Facebook Lives on Bookstr over the last few years, including Jeanette Wall, Daniel Handler, Meg Wolitzer, Lee Child, Peter James, and LIGHTS. Be sure to check them out!

 

5. Book con

John Green, Kristine Froseth, at BookCon 2019 presents Hulu's John Green's Looking for Alaska at the Javits Center in New York City
John Green, Kristine Froseth, at BookCon 2019 presents Hulu’s John Green’s Looking for Alaska at the Javits Center in New York City | Image Via Just Jared

So comic book fans have been going to Comic Con since it started in in 1970, but Book Con kicked off in 2014, giving readers of all genres a chance to cosplay their favorite characters, connect with other passionate readers, and meet their beloved authors. Since then, Book Con has been held annually at the Javits Center in New York, and has seen the likes of John and Hank Green, Jodi Picoult, Mindi Kaling, Julianne Moore, Khloe Kardashian, Bill Nye, Meg Cabot, Margaret Atwood, Krysten Ritter, Angie Thomas, Holly Black and more!

 

6. Apps 

 

Image Via Pinterest

Apps have made many things in our lives a whole lot easier, from tracking our steps, to listening to music, to getting the bus, paying for dinner, chatting with friends, and searching information. Apps have been especially beneficial to the reading and writing community, with apps like WattPad allowing authors to write for the masses while on the move, Kindle allowing us to read without having to lug around heavy tomes, and apps The Brainstormer, Mindnode, and StoryTracker making it easier than ever to keep track of your next big ideas!

 

7. Fandoms

Image Via the Sassologis

Books have always had large followings. Fans used to go wild for the next installment of Charles Dickens’ serialized stories in the newspaper! But the rise of the internet has allowed these followings to grow and gain momentum and become… fandoms. Urban Dictionary defines a fandom as ‘A group of people who willingly have their souls devoured by an obsession.’ A little extreme, perhaps!

From Tumblr blogs to video blogs, fanfiction to Facebook groups, fandoms have run rampant in the last decade, and have provided safety, community and a sense of home for diehard fans the world over.

 

8. Book merch

Carry the beautiful sight of fully stocked bookshelves everywhere with this Bookshelf Charm Bookmark

Online shopping has pretty much taken over the entire world (thanks Amazon…) but with that, has provided a space for creative book fans to make and sell book related merch. From beautiful bookmarks like Book Art Bookmarks, to Etsy sellers creating beautiful fan art, jewelry and collectibles, to companies like Dynamite Books and Out of Print clothing, readers are spoiled for choice, and never have trouble filling out their Santa lists! 

 


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