I first met Kira, from Kira's Cottage book store, when we were scheduled to speak at a conference downtown Atlanta, this past January. We were speaking about my favorite topic book clubs. Kira is the owner of Kira’s Cottage in Franklin, IN and has run a book club out of her store for a few years now. She holds book club meetings at her store once a month after her store is closed.

I work at a book store and run a book club during the hours our store is open. We talked about the topic from two different points of view. We were speaking to book store owners and encouraging them to start up a book club in their store or sponsor a book club and encourage them to hold meetings inside their store.

Kira’s store was a private individually owned store and I work for a book store that has stores throughout the USA. We spoke to owners and/or managers from both camps. The discussion was good and the questions from the audience were fun to answer. I’m thankful for the opportunity to have spoken to this group. Thanks to my husband for putting this power point together for me so that I could show people what I do and the events that we had taken place in our store!! Thanks Fred for being my biggest fan and cheerleader without your help an event like this couldn’t be possible.

When I sent these questions to Kira I had no idea (and either did she) that her store would soon be closing. It’s a thing that is happening all over the country. Borders book store just close hundreds of their stores and Barnes and Nobel is in trouble as well. The book store I work at downsized last year. The economy is tough, gas prices are high and many people are buying their items on-line. I’m not sure how long book stores will be open but one thing I am certain of is Book Clubs are here to stay. They can be held everywhere and the desire to share with others about a book they just read will always be there. Without further delay here’s Kira and her book club interview.

What lead up to you starting a book club? Had you ever been apart of a book club before? What's your club name?

I started our book club, Beyond the Book, because I was trying to market our store, Kira’s Cottage Christian Store. I LOVE to read and thought it would be awesome for a group of book lovers to come together and fellowship while discussing awesome Christian books! I had never been a part of a book club before, so it was all new to me.

You’ve recently joined TBCN (The Book Club Network) how has this site enhanced or helped you with your book club?

I can honestly say that I haven’t had the opportunity to reap the full benefits that TBCN has to offer due to time constraints. Now that my store is closing, I will have more time to focus on it and how it can help our Book Club! I do love all of the info about so many different books. It’s nice to have a website with so many book ideas!

Hi, I’m interested in being apart of your book club, could you please describe for me what I can expect? What does your typical meeting look like?

Well, we always eat. Food is very important! We have an entire month to read the book, then when we get together we discuss how it made us feel. Usually the one who picked out the book for the month will lead the discussion with questions and why they felt the book was important or discussion worthy to them. It goes from there…

Please describe to me how the book selection process works for your club? Do you vote with a secret ballet? Or some other method? Do tell. This will be helpful to book club leaders just starting out!!

-We rotate who picks the book each month. At the end of the year, we do a big drawing on who will pick the book each month of the following year. We read fiction and non fiction, so it is nice to give everyone the opportunity to pick their favorite genre!

When did she become leader of your book club? You mentioned in an email to me that the duties are shared in your group so the task of leading is not overwhelming.? How does that work for your group?

 Inquiring minds would like to know. –I am the official leader, however, whoever picks the book for the month leads the discussion if they feel inclined to. It helps to see why they chose the book and what it meant to them.

Does your book club socialize outside of your regular meetings? If so, what did you do or have you done as a group that you all enjoyed?

Some of us are together all the time because we are besties…we all love movie nights and themed nights. I love it when we read a book that is a movie too…it works out great!

What have you read at a book club recently that really touched everyone’s heart and created good discussion?

- The Help! Not a “Christian” book, however such important issues for everyone. This is such a wonderful discussion book and I highly recommend it to all book clubs!

What is the most creative thing you all have done for book club? What was something that was way over the top for you and everyone loved? Special event, field trip, retreat?

We held a Twilight party last year when the Twilight movie came out. Again, I know this isn’t a “Christian” book…at all, however, we took the opportunity to hold a discussion about the books in a different way. We discussed questions like, “Why do you think young girls or women love this book/movie? Are they looking for a greater love? How healthy is the relationships in the series? Is the love aspect realistic? How can our longing for love be transferred to our relationship with Christ?” We also played games, had themed food…it was AWESOME!

How do you get the word out about your book club? How did you get this book club started? This will be helpful for new book clubs or people wanting to take the plunge into leading book clubs.

We got the word out through our store advertising. I know not everyone has a store, however, we never paid any money to advertise. We let the word spread through local churches and libraries. It took a while to build up, but it was worth the wait. In our store, we hung up signs and passed out fliers. Facebook and email is a wonderful tool to get the word out too.

Have you ever had an author speak at your book club, in person, or on the phone? If so, who? How did the meeting go? Any surprises you learned about the author and/or the book you didn’t know about before the chat?

We LOVE author appearances! We have a few come and speak with us. It is awesome to chat with them about their process of writing. Those meetings are always fun! It is nice to hear them talk about where they came up with the idea for the book, how they got it published, and to tell them what we think about their book. Those meetings are great!

Can you tell me some books that you’ve read your members just raved about? What made them love the book so much? This might help other clubs in their book selection process.

Riven by Jerry Jenkins
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Rooms by James Rubart

These were all books with a deep message. Something beyond a fru fru romance with a happy ending. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE sappy romances that end happy, but in a discussion, it’s the books with grit that create the best discussion.


What are your three favorite books of all time?

Little Women, Riven, Redeeming Love

Please name three things you’d rather not live without?

My family and friends, My store was one of them: but I guess I have to figure that one out, and Disney World

A friend of yours has given you an opportunity to take a trip in a time machine—What two events in the history of the world would you like to experience?

Well, I’d like to go back in time and figure out at what point I could change the course of my store so I didn’t have to close it, and I would go back and experience the summer program at the Savannah College of Art and Design that I was too afraid to go to my junior year in high school.

You have the chance to hang out with any two people (alive or dead) in the history of the world (besides Jesus) who would you pick and what would you do? Walt Disney and he would tell me EXACTLY where his success came from.

What movie most impacted you as a child? Why?

The Neverending Story was so wonderful! I used to watch it over and over. I think I loved the fact that the little boy was so intrigued by the mysterious book that he skipped school and hid in the attic to read it. The story was so vivid and creative, I loved it!

THANKS for sharing your book club experience with me even in the middle of such a change. I appreciate you taking the time to discuss your book club experience. It was a pleasure to talk with you about this topic at the conference in Atlanta. Praying for you on your new journey Kira!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network CEO

NOTE TO READERS: Kira contacted me and wants to do an up date about her club. They've meet a few times now that her store has close and she wants to talk about the changes. I can't wait to hear from you Kira!


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