Hello again Readers,
I hope you’re doing well. We have a lot to get to in this blog post, so I’ll just dive right in. Before I do though, I’m curious to know whos keeping their Christmas decorations up past the new year? 🙂
I’m starting my own personal reading circle online to share the books I read for each month, and to invite others if they’d like to join and share theirs as well. As per my reading plan outlined in
this blog post,
I’m selecting a theme or genre for each month of the year. This is a tentative list for now, which will be periodically evaluated to reflect important changes that may cause us to make slight revisions, but I hope to keep this list as organized as possible. Each year, I will put up a whole new set of themes, either selected by myself of members of the book circle. For those interested in joining, read further on the page past the theme headings for each month. This is to ensure a diverse selection of books make their way into my shelves, and with everyone choosing their own book, more ground is covered each month. If you just want to review the list, check out the headings below this, which you can follow along if you’re reading on your own or in your community. Check the post each month, as revisions may occur, but most likely the list will remain current until the end of the year.
Themes for each month of 2024
I’ve selected the themes for the upcoming year, but once the book circle is formed there may be slight modifications. Until then, this list will stay the way it is. If you have comments or would like to suggest a different theme or genre, either post a comment to this blog, or contact me via email or Mastodon. My email address is email@example.com
and Mastodon is firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to reading your thoughts and responses. For now, here’s the list.
January: A Time to Grow
At the beginning of each new year, we might start by doing a little house cleaning, making New Year’s resolutions, experimenting with new wellness trends, or maybe we’re just one of those people who like to throw caution to the wind and take whatever life throws at us. Whatever the case, all of us can use the opportunity of a fresh start each new year brings us to do a little bit of personal growth. Maybe you’re in a failing career or relationship, and you have to get up the courage to close one door so that others can open. Maybe you’ve experienced a recent traumatic event in your life and are trying to move past it. Perhaps you’re interested in following a new religion or movement, and you’re taking steps to learn and make the necessary lifestyle changes. No matter what, all of us have potential for growth, and even if growth isn’t a priority in your life, there are plenty of inspirational stories that will lead us on someone’s journey of deep exploration and growth. Maybe their story can teach you something, and that’s the most important take-away here. Pick a book that in some way, helps you grow, even if it’s learning a lesson you may not have once thought important to your own life story.
February: She Loves me, She Loves me not
Is romance in the air in your life? Perhaps you’re not romantic, but you have deep love for nature, or a labor of love you find most enjoyable? How about love amongst family and friends? Are those just as important to you as your romantic relationships? Well, in February, we’ll read a book that has to do with love. With flowers, chocolate and Valentine’s day cards in abundance, do you often find yourself thinking about finding your own special someone? This month’s theme invites you to focus on the very idea of love. Pick a book that touches on love in a way that matters to you. I hope it’s a good read. 🙂
March: Marching into the Future
Have you always been interested in what lies beyond our planet and one day hope to venture there? Are you concerned with the way technology is advancing and are curious to glimpse into another universe for a deeper understanding of what could be? Speaking of technology, what about AI? Do you like it, run away from it, hide in a corner until AI sneaks up behind you and yells “Boo!” What does the current literary landscape suggest to you about the possible directions humanity will go? This is your chance to explore your future Earth. Again, there’s no criteria for the book you’ve chosen as long as it fits with the theme, so it could be fiction or nonfiction. I can’t wait to see what you picked!
April: Laughter is the best medicine!
You don’t always have to have a box of Kleenex at hand when you read, but you might want to keep one near by in case you laugh yourself into tears. Everyone needs a good laugh once in a while, and books are full of them. Whether you want to explore a romantic comedy, laugh at everything going wrong during someone else’s vacation and be thankful it’s not you, invite yourself into a fictional office or factory full of quirky workers, or just laugh at the madness of strange characters in a faraway town, humor is as necessary to life as air. You simply can’t live without a little laughter, so lift your spirits and reach for a page turner that is bound to make you laugh to death, metaphorically speaking of course. 🙂
May: A Legacy of Amazing Souls
Have you been curious about the life of a celebrity, a civil rights activist, an inventor who’s either famous or isn’t well known, or is there someone whose story of survival, courage and perseverance captivates you? Are you ready to explore this person’s legacy and understand them on a deeper level. With many biographies and autobiographies to choose from, some stories slip past our radar, and are often forgotten. Maybe you’ve been wanting to explore the life of a politician to gain insight into the core values that influence their decisions, or delve deep into the life of a historical figure from a bygone era. Perhaps you might want a fictional spin on things and are eager to try out a biographical novel. I haven’t read those in ages, and Irving Stone was one of my favorite authors for those. Either way, all of us leave behind a legacy on this planet that deserves to be told. Who is the soul calling out to you? Will you be the first to crack open a book and learn from them?
June: That Old Summer Magic
Dreams come true underneath the summer sun, but only if you have faith, trust, and a little pixy dust! Okay, well maybe pixy dust is a far reach, but don’t you remember those hopeful summer months, when school was out and the wild woods beckoned you? Did romance blossom under the stars, or do those stories around the warm campfire give you the chills? There’s something special about magic. You can choose to believe in it or not, but you can’t deny magic’s powerful hold on entertainment and culture. This is your opportunity to travel to a magical world of spellcasting, adorable creatures and fantastic tales where the impossible doesn’t exist. You’ll want to get out your wands and broomsticks for this one! Just open a book and let the magic do the rest. 🙂
July: Bon Voyage
The ocean is a magnificent place with all its wonders and terrors. Are you curious to explore its mysterious, mesmerizing depths? Want to feel the thrill of surfing the waves from the safety of your couch? Ever wanted to go on a cruise, but couldn’t because the finances wouldn’t allow, or you easily get seasick? Maybe the scientist in you is itching to explore wildlife or shipwrecks in a submersible. Okay, perhaps that last scenario hits a little too close to home in light of recent events, but you get the idea. Now is the moment to pack your bags, dawn a lifejacket, and ditch the solid ground of your boring world for distant shores. We’re about to set sail, so wave good bye! 🙂
August: Road trip!
If your preferred mode of transportation is on wheels instead of waves, don’t worry. We have you covered. 🙂 Road trips possess their own set of fun and frightening tales that are just too good to pass up. Perhaps you can read a story about a family who takes a road trip with its detours and family drama. A couple’s road trip might invite you to explore life on the road with your own partner, or maybe you’re the loan traveler who enjoys experiences similar to those of Jack Kerouac. Get behind the wheel of a good story, and set your GPS to destination adventure! 🙂
September: there’s no Place like Home
After you’ve sailed the seven seas and spent hundreds of dollars on gas, there’s nothing like returning to the comfort of home. That feeling of slipping under the covers of your own nice warm bed just ties your life up in a pretty bow, doesn’t it?
The idea here is to choose a book where a house is central to the story. Maybe you’ve invited a crew of wild, rowdy guests into your home who are causing chaos and mischief. Perhaps you’re the one doing that to someone else. Either way, a house is important to the plot, and we reflect on what makes our own house a home. Curious to explore abandoned belongings in a dusty attic? Do the creepy vibes of your neighbor’s old basement send shivers up your spine? Maybe the family dining room is the backdrop of a beautiful memoir, and you’re the fly on the wall spying on dinner-time chats. Are you ready to knock on the cover of a good story and let the cast of characters invite you inside? Will you be able to leave? It’s time to turn on that bedside reading lamp and find out!
October: It’s a Mystery to Me
You zip your sweatshirt closed a little bit, or shove your hands into your coat pockets. Maybe it’s just the crisp, cool autumn breeze that’s giving you the shivers, or perhaps the spookiness of the season has begun to creep under your skin. Maybe you’re dancing on an adrenaline cloud after you’ve successfully solved a crime and brought the killer to justice. Maybe you think you have it all figured out, until the suspect creeps up behind you and you’re now fighting for your life! Full disclosure here. I actually adore mysteries. It is my favorite genre. I love putting on my detective cap and trying to find a killer, or searching for the ghost from the Civil war days who is longing for her lover. Whether it’s a suspense, a thriller, a ghost story, or a quest to investigate a rare artifact, mysteries come in all shapes and sizes. Get ready for a world of puzzles, plot twists, and clever disguises. Try to stay alert; your life might just depend on it!
November: Remember this?
Memories are a tricky thing. They run and hide from us sometimes when we are desperately looking for them, and then there are the ones that manage to penetrate the walls of a structured daily routine. I like to think of memories as grains of sand on our own personal beach. Sometimes, I like to sink my feet into memories of precious moments and reminisce during a midnight stroll. Sometimes, I like to build a sand castle of memories that remind me of happy times, and I can laugh and relive them all over again. Sometimes, a past traumatic event gets blown into my face by the wind and stings my eyes.
do you think memories are reliable? Have you clung to a false memory to maintain a polished narrative? Is it really healthy to explore traumatic memories? Now is your opportunity to plunge into a world where memories lurk around every corner, and just may be the key to finding closure, or will they lead to more confusion? You’ll never know until you turn the page.
December: A Festive Feast
Food brings people together from all walks of life in the most beautiful way. Whether it’s a fancy spread to cap off a wedding, a holiday feast for the community to partake, or a potluck in the park that gets crashed by a cast of characters you didn’t see coming, food helps build strong community and revives us. Maybe you’ll read a story about inheriting a family recipe that still draws people to your table, or perhaps a kitchen mishap sends a holiday feast into chaos. Just make sure the story involves both food, and a community eager to devour it. You could eat alone, but where’s the fun in that?
Well, there you have it. This is a good list to get things started, and as you can see, some of the themes overlap, so you should have little trouble finding a book to enjoy each month. If you have any suggestions that could help revamp the list, or possible future themes for 2025 and beyond, don’t hesitate to get in touch. 🙂
The Book Circle, and How you can Join
My intent is to combine the nostalgic feel of a typical book club that recommends books to read once a month, but with the long reach of the internet to build a community. The main purpose is not to rely a ton on social media. I’m still ironing out all the details, but the goal here is to make a small community that comes together to enjoy the passion of reading, without all the flood of book notifications clouding our precious reading time. We appreciate the good intentions of social networks like Goodreads, which is still a great place to keep up with our favorite authors, but information overload only adds to the frustration of picking a good book. Think of this place as a strange time warp that takes you back to the days when you talked about books with family and friends, but now, there’s no limit to the distance in which you can communicate. The mission is simple, but the doors are wide open for whoever wants to join.
For now, my focus is on gauging interest in participation. Once I know how many members we’ll have in general, I can start setting up outbound channels to distribute announcements about monthly reminders of the theme chosen, as well as any meetings that may occur. Meetings will be held virtually over Clean Feed, and shouldn’t take more than an hour and a half depending on the number of people. Each person chooses a book from the theme for the month, then when it is there turn in the meeting, they’ll give book details, a brief summary and their rating and review. Finally, they’ll say why they picked this particular book, and then the floor passes to the next person. Even if the book club doesn’t get off the ground, I’ll still post my monthly themes, book reviews, and my book club pick of the month here on my blog for those who may be interested. Finally, if virtual meetings are difficult because of time, locations and hectic schedules, I can collect each member’s book picks and compile them into a monthly digest that can be sent out to all members. Think of it is a newsletter that would arrive in your inbox, giving you a blurb about each member’s bookish interests, but not overwhelming you with heavy mailing list traffic.
If this interests you, please get in touch either on social media, by email, or put a comment on this blog. Be sure to include contact information so I can get in touch if we start hosting virtual meetings. Once all the details have been set, I’ll send an update post with the appropriate information.
Until then, this is Mel. I wish you a fond farewell, and a prosperous new year. Catch you on the flip side! 🙂