All Booked | My Love for Book Clubs

Indy Book Club Offers Monthly Literary Insights

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This edition of All Booked was originally emailed to subscribers on August 2, 2022. To receive our literary newsletter in your inbox, sign up at independent.com/newsletters.


Hello, book lovelies!

August has always been a funny month for me. When I was a kid, I spent my Augusts trying to soak up every last bit of summer while also squeezing three months of summer reading into a couple of weeks. It’s funny to reflect back on that time, because I really did not enjoy summer reading. I didn’t like being told what to read, and especially not during my vacation. Yet once I was grown and no longer had required reading, I sort of missed the structure of having my next book already chosen for me, and I really missed the class discussions. I think this is why I love book clubs so much.

Book clubs can be great in that they sort of are “required reading” but without the pressure of having to write an essay on it. They also allow you to talk about the book with others. There have been so many times when I finish a book and I recommend it non-stop in hopes that someone else will pick it up and I’ll get to talk to about it. But book clubs can also be dangerous creatures. You need to make sure the book club works for you! There have been a few times over the years where I make a book club commitment only to find that our book preferences don’t align, the book club meets every week, or no one actually reads the book — gasp!

We have gained a lot of new readers over here in our All Booked community, and I wanted to take a moment to shout out the Indy Book Club. In case you haven’t heard, the Indy Book Club is a monthly book club hosted by the Santa Barbara Independent and the Santa Barbara Public Library. Each month, we pick a book to read as a group, and then at the end of the month, we get together to discuss. It’s very casual and fun! Plus, we actually talk about the book! Molly Wetta from the Santa Barbara Public Library joins me to host our discussions, which happen on the last Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. on Zoom. We usually spend the first 30 minutes talking about the book of the month, and then the last half of the discussion giving and taking book recommendations.

In August, we are reading When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole, a thriller centered around gentrification in Brooklyn. Our discussion will take place on Wednesday, August 31, at 6 p.m. on Zoom. You can register for the discussion here. If you love to read, and you love to talk about books, we would love for you to join us!

Below, I am highlighting a few of my favorite past Indy Book Club selections, so you can get a feel for what we have read in the past. You can check out all the books we have scheduled for 2022 here. Plus, you can get some more information about the book club here.

I am a big believer in going into a book knowing as little as possible. I try not to read too much of the synopses or reviews, since most of them over-share. My pitches below are short and sweet just for that reason.


Hard-Hitting Non-Fiction

She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement, by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey was our book of the month for March 2020. This book recounts the process and story of two New York Times reporters discovering and investigating Harvey Weinstein’s treatment of women. This book is soon to be a film, coming out in November 2022. It’s a tough read, but also a fascinating one.

Indy Book Club Pick: March 2020


Feel-Good Sci-Fi

If you’re looking for a good time in space and with a great bunch of characters, then look no further than The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. I was hesitant to pick this one up at first, but I’m so glad I did. This is the perfect pick for someone looking to dip their toe into the sci-fi genre. You will feel all the feels reading this one. It is also the first book in a series, but this book itself is a complete story, which is great if series aren’t your thing.

Indy Book Club Pick: January 2021


Stunning Poetry Collection

An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo was the S.B. Reads pick for 2021. I would have never picked this one up if it wasn’t for the book club. Poetry is not something I gravitate toward, since most of the time I don’t think I “get it.” But our Indy Book Club discussion for this book was one of my favorites. It turns out poetry is all about how you connect with the text. Everyone can read the same poem and get a totally different message or reading experience from it. If you’re planning to pick this up, I highly recommend reading it while also listening along to the audiobook. Joy Harjo narrates it, and it is so lovely to hear her recite her poems.

Indy Book Club Pick: November 2021


Email me at emily@independent.com and let me know any books you’ve enjoyed and read as part of a book club that you may not have otherwise picked up.

Your smitten bookworm, Emily


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