Sunday Book Club: Talk to Me

Posted July 23, 2017 by meezcarrie in Sunday Book Club / 24 Comments

As the countdown to #CFRR2017 (and a book contest I’m judging) gets smaller and smaller, it seems that my ability to come up with Sunday Book Club topics is also getting smaller and smaller.


Soooooooo …. I’m turning it completely over to you for today. Talk to me.

What would you like to discuss in a future Sunday Book Club post?


24 responses to “Sunday Book Club: Talk to Me

  1. I’d like to know what readers like best in a series.

    Do they like a long series? Or do they prefer to move on to something else after a few books?

    Do they like added characters? Or would they prefer to keep mostly the original set?

    Do they like lots of different locations? Or would they prefer to stay mostly “at home” with the main characters?

    What makes readers keep reading a series?

    • Megan Hamsher

      1. Well, I’m what I call a “series jumper”.
      That is, I’ll start one series, then go to a completely different genre and series and start, then I’ll go back to the first series.
      I have about 4 series I’m doing that with right now.
      That way, I don’t get burned out in a particular genre,
      and I always feel like I’m re-uniting with “old” friends wherever I go!

      2. Some series have 2 books. Some are a trilogy. Still others have 5-8 books.
      One series I looked up last week had 13 books and counting in it.
      Others have 15-20 books in them.
      One series I was looking up a few weeks ago had 52 books in it.
      I’m not picky about how long they go, as long as the characters and story keep me hooked.

      3. It depends on the kind of series it is.
      Some series are “separate” but just have a common theme,
      like a Mail-Order Brides collection, Masterpiece Series by Kristy Cambron,
      or Women of Valley series by Sharon Srock.
      These are the series you can pick up any ol’ book and start reading, and it won’t affect anything. They have different set of characters in each book.

      Some series are “loosely connected”, like Sarah Sundin’s Wings of the Nightengale series – each book is a different set of main characters, but folks from previous books pop up now and then, and occasional reference to something that previously happened might be mentioned.
      Often, crime dramas, like “The Cat Who” books by Lilian Jackson Braun (yes, I know it’s technically not fiction, but best example I have) fall into this type of series.
      In this type of series, you COULD read them out of order, but it still makes more sense to read them in order.
      So it’s a mix of old and new characters in each one.

      Then you have the series that are completely connected, and those are the ones that get the “I accidentally read them out of order and I highly discourage that!” notes, like Mitford series by Jan Karon, The Liberator series by Stephania McGee,
      or the 2-book series by Tessa Afshar.
      These are the kind of series that have pretty much the same group of characters throughout each book (with a couple added characters here and there), each book building on the last one and often referring to several things that happened in the last book.
      Family sagas, like the Love Saga by Janette Oke, is another example of this type of series.

      Like genres, I tend to jump between the different kinds of series as well.

      4. Locations … I would have to say it depends on the genre.
      If you’re in the Armed Forces, chances of staying in the same place is not very high … or a Resistance member, or a Ranger, for that matter. Always on the move!
      On the other hand, maybe you’re just in a little diner in that little town in Texas, waiting for a creep to show up and try to kill you, or visiting tight-knit community in Pinecraft, Florida.
      Doesn’t really bother me much where they go, as long as I’m enjoying the story.

      5. What makes me keep reading a series?
      That’s easy – getting attached to characters and a plot that keeps me going.
      (Sometimes the book is over – it has a satisfying ending –
      and when you start the new one, it’s like, “Oh, here we go again!”
      Other times, authors like to “torture us” by leaving us dangling on a darn ol’ cliff-hangar, as majority of TV shows these days seem to do, baiting us into reading the next one)

  2. Rebecca Maney

    As the facilitator for a “live” book club, I would love to hear how others choose their club books. So many really great stories do not fit well into a book club format (don’t ask me how I know this). For instance, suspense is a category that I love to read, but few suspense novels have strong discussion points for groups.

    • Kristy Shelton

      I know what you mean about finding discussion points with suspense novels. I’ve written a book that came out last year called Restitution. Check it out. I wanted it to be a thriller, but also a story of redemption. I tend to write redemption stories. Restitution has been a part of several Christian book clubs.

    • Rebecca, I feel your pain! I used to run a book club. We read Rene Gutteridge’s Boo, and we all loved it but had absolutely nothing to talk about. :/ So I learned what kind of books to pick and not to pick. Women’s fictiony books/general fiction books seem to be good choices for book clubs. At least, that was a lot of what I did for an all-women’s group. Some contemporary, some historical. I tried to get a lot of variety in. It’s tough, though, choosing the book.

    • Hi, Rebecca. I write romantic suspense and have reader questions on my website in case you’re interested. I have two series that are tied by location. The Logan Point series and Memphis Cold Case Novels. 🙂

    • Martha T.

      If the book is boring or throws in a sex scene or the characters are dumb or impossible to relate to,then I refuse to read the book! Another thing is a plot that is hard to follow.

  3. Don’t know if this will suit your peeps, but I write fiction where the main character is always 50 or older, and I have a collection of 50 titles of #midlife fiction (47 that weren’t written by me!) I’m so interested in this time of life because (a) it’s where I am, and (b) there’s so much going on!!!! I mean, you reach the second half and maybe your kids are grown or about there, and you have as many good years left as it took you to raise them. What do you do for the next 30 years? So here’s my question: do you think there’s a market for fiction about people in the second half? Would you read it? So there’s my topic idea.

    • Megan Hamsher

      I see comments all the time over on the Avid Readers of Christian Fiction:
      Where are the characters that are my age again?

      One of my favorite ladies is 87-year-old Dorothy in Welcome to Partonville series by Charlene Ann Baumbich.
      The Ladies of Covington series has ladies in their 60s-70s.
      Guideposts-published series Home to Heather Creek has grandparents in their 60s
      Guideposts-Published series Miracles of Marble Cove has 4 friends at different life-stages.

      Actually, I have to laugh because in the “old days”,
      I – not even 36 years old yet – would be called an “old maid” a long time ago.
      Really, there’s babies/toddlers, teenagers, 20s, early-mid 30s, then 50s, 60s, and low 70s.
      would you like to point out where the folks in their 40s and 75+ age groups are?
      (my grandmother’s 91 years old…yeah, not too many feature folks in their 90s either!)

      • Carrie

        oh my gosh – this is a little off topic but i was reading a general market novel not too long ago that made a point of how old the guy was …. in his late 30s. The gray in his hair, wrinkles around his eyes, etc. I was a little offended LOL

        • Winnie Thomas

          Wait until you’re MY age, Carrie! In books I’m always the little old gray-haired grandma with quirky ways. (Okay, I’ll admit that some of that fits!) 😀 I actually like reading about younger people, because it makes me forgot my creaky bones and aching joints and muscles.

  4. Megan Hamsher

    What topics and locations do you wish there were more of in Christian fiction?
    (yes, I “stole” this question from the Avid Readers of Christian Fiction FB group)

  5. Sabrina Templin

    I prefer stand alones. I am not a big fan of a series. If I do a series I prefer 3-4 books in a series. But that’s just me. I have read a series with more than that but they were children’s books (A Series of Unfortunate Events and Harry Potter). It is rare for me though.

  6. I’m going to come at this from a different angle. I’m a reader. Why am I drawn to books with a cute animal on the cover (ex. Love at First Bark by Dana Mentink), or fall in love with books that feature food (ex. Twist of Faith by Pepper Basham or The Wishing Season by Denise Hunter)? How do authors know what convinces me to buy a book?!

  7. Andrea Stephens

    How does everyone feel about series books with cliffhanger endings? I personally dislike them with a passion. I don’t mind reading series, I just want each book to have an ending before moving on to the next book. I just finished a series where each book ended in the middle of a scene or conversation with the last book ended with a cliffhanger too.

    Another topic of interest is popular books. The ones people can’t seem to stop talking about. Now, I admit I am sometimes one of those people, I get excited and want to tell everyone about a great book. Does anyone ever feel let down when they read this so called “Fantastic” book? I have had it happen a couple of times. I go back and read reviews and think there must be something wrong with me or maybe I missed something. Does anyone else feel this way?

    • I detest books that end on cliffhangers. Being the type who reads the back of the book first I hate it when there isn’t a resolution and that I have to wait several months to a year for the author to release the next book. I want to KNOW now.

  8. I’m a reader and blogger. I’d like to know how much influence a blog book review has on a potential book buyer. Personally, I’m very swayed by blog reviews made by bloggers whose posts I enjoy.

  9. Gloria Anderson

    I am addressing several of the topics mentioned. I read for escape and pure enjoyment. I want to like the characters and feel like they are real people that I could have as friends maybe. The location is not too terribly important but can be a plus when the author describes a location that sounds nice or lovely or even if I know the area. I live in Florida and enjoy reading about the Gulf Coast where I live. I do enjoy series where I can revisit old friends even if they can be standalone books. The length of the series doesn’t matter as long as I am still enjoying it. I agree with you, Andrea, I like for the story to have an ending and not end as a cliffhanger. I also feel that books are like art in that they are subjective to each person; what one person likes, another might not. I used to worry if my star rating was different from others but I don’t care anymore. By the way, blog reviews matter to me. 🙂

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