Friday, November 7, 2008

Bumble Book Club Meets Jess Riley


The Book



Green Girl & Jess Riley, Author
(no, we did NOT call each other to coordinate our outfits)
I've mentioned the cool things about my book club--we actually discuss the book each month, we generously recommend & lend books to each other and we read a wide range of books. Because we don't know each other from one common place, there's fewer distractions when we get together each month. The Bumble Book Club gals are committed bibliophiles.

We were terribly excited to choose another book by a Wisconsin author and have her attend our meeting. (For you non-reader types, book club with the author is kind of like watching an NFL game while sitting next to Eli Manning.) Jess Riley is as friendly and funny in person as you might imagine after reading Driving Sideways. She fit right in with our little group, eating, drinking wine, and talking books--both her own and a long list of others. (Getting book recommendations from a writer is like getting restaurant recommendations from a chef--I really pay attention to such fortunate advice.) We shared our admiration or distaste for various titles and our observations about Midwestern women and bargain shopping.

Some authors tend to be reserved and introverted, but Jess is that cute, confident girl voted "Most Fun" in their high school yearbook--making her even more popular and fascinating to the rest of us. Some authors act all coy and superior when you ask them questions--What inspired me to write this book? Oh, I don't discuss my writing process--that's between me and my muse. Jess really answered our questions--the amazing story about how she conceived the plot, anecdotes about real people who inspired her characters, the almost-ending her editor suggested (Jess's was better--we're glad she stuck to her guns) and how she felt about the book's cover. I came prepared with my questions written out for fear I'd get all tongue-tied and forget them--no worries there, she made us all so comfortable that I even came up with new questions.


While we discussed her book, Jess participated more like a reader than like the author--I loved her affection for different scenes and characters. Imagine watching a DVD with the director's comments--we got the bonus of her behind-the-scenes knowledge--like how the "swingers" in the desert became something else entirely (no spoilers here, buy your own copy to read it) and how she conceived the mysterious black car following Leigh on her road trip to California. She told us stories about her newly finished book, publishing, other authors (like Jen Lancaster!), her family, her book launch, and prisons. We had no shortage of laughter--or good food or wine thanks to our hostess, Char.


We were a lucky bunch to have a Real Live Author take the time to meet with us--it was a very special opportunity for a group of book lovers. Thanks, Jess Riley, for a memorable night.




16 comments:

  1. Sounds like the most fun evah was had.I wish I had been there!

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  2. That is too cool. What an opportunity.

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  3. How great! I'd love to be part of a book club - I'd love to be able to read a whole book:)

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  4. What a memorable experience. Your book club sounds great.

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  5. I need a book club like YOURS. Mine always ended up being all about the social rather than the books.

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  6. I wish my book club was as devoted as yours. There are only usually about 2 of us and went for a whole year without meeting last year :(

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  7. What a great event! I'm curious to read that book now, too.

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  8. That's one thing I'd always thought I'd do ... but haven't yet. Problem is these days I'm reading the papers more than books. But I'm always paging through some of my coveted books ... that doesn't count though, I know.

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  9. what a great little book club!! So fun..

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  10. What an awesome book club! Thanks for sharing - I'm jealous. I like my book club very much, but mostly we drink. The book is an afterthought.

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  11. Wow! Are you going to post her recommendations? I need to put her book on my wish list!

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  12. I loved the book and Jess' comments on my review.

    We've had the author of a YA book come to our book group--you're right, it's very exciting.

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  13. What a wonderful experience and what a cool author!

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  14. how wonderful. are you accepting members from georgia? i could make the drive once a month...

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  15. That sounds like SO MUCH FUN!! I'll keep an eye open for that book too :)

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Spill it, reader.