Book Clubs

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Sankofa Literary Society
Address: 20783
Long Business Description:

The Sankofa Literary Society founded in 2007 consists of authors, librarians, 80 established bloggers, 42 nurses, 15 independent bookstores,  45 reviewing book clubs and  has over 2,700 members online and offline in total, with 877 of those members coming from book clubs or established reading groups.

Quarterly the SLS publishes the popular TOP 100 BEST BOOKS lists. Each summer the SLS hosts the annual Chocolate Socials which brings readers and authors to Atlanta, GA and New Orleans, LA for the private literary events.  Sponsored by EDC Creations Media Group  and the Black Authors Network (BAN) .

The SLS members and BAN Radio guest speakers are dedicated to providing information to black business owners and authors so that they may gain access to the global consumer and to helping promote the growth of black owned publishing related businesses and  more diverse literature.

Come join our lively discussions each week as we tackle a number of topics relevant our community. Each week, the Black Authors Network Show interviews special guest authors, community leaders, educators, and experts from various fields in publishing, who want to make a difference in the lives of Americans.

Our mission is to improve literacy in our community and to help improve relationships, all relationships in the African American community globally! If you’re not a part of the movement, don’t let another day go by without joining us.

 Visit our website today: https://edc-creations.com/sankofa-literary-society.html

 

U.S. G.I.R.L.S. Jacksonville, Florida
Long Business Description:

U.S.G.I.R.L.S. Interview conducted by Founding Members: Karen Lewis, Jennie Blue, Valerie Jefferson and Ardee Harris. Unique, Sophisticated, Girlfriends Inspirational Reading and Literary Society, located in Jacksonville, Florida formed in October 2004.

It all began with an email from founding member, Karen Lewis, in September 2004 entitled: “Calling All Bookworms.” With the new phenomena of book clubs forming throughout the city, Karen visited several, with intentions of joining, but was not impressed with any of them. She called upon her friend, Jennie who was in another book club and her sister-in-law Ardee “Dee” to consider forming a book club. Jennie then called her friend, Valerie who was also in a book club at the time.

Karen hosted our first meeting in October of 2004. During this meeting, the four of us formed by-laws for our book club and gave suggestions for a name. We were nameless and simply referred to ourselves as “the book club” until 2007, when Karen came up with our clever name and acronym “U.S. G.I.R.L.S.” During the formation meeting we also agreed that we would not elect officers, and preferred to have the “Founding Members” designated as the governing body.  We currently have nine active members.

We are all professional women of color; our youngest member in her early 40s. We have various undergraduate and graduate degrees, and possess strong, diverse personalities which always make for an interesting meeting. We enjoy debating and agreeing to disagree on various book discussion topics.

BPM: What legacy will your club or blog leave for those watching in the community?

Founding Members: As our mission statement says, our main focus is to bring attention to issues of interest to women of color, while encouraging and increasing an appreciation for literature. Over the years we have become more than a book club. We are not only “black women who read” but we are have also extended our involvement through book drives and other community outreach ventures. We feel that those watching in the community see us an active group of black women operating with a spirit of excellence in our endeavor to uplift, inspire, promote and encourage women both young and old, while building lifelong friendships and relationships.   Website: http://usgirls04.wix.com/usgirls

 

Sweet Soul Sisters Book Club
Long Business Description:

Intimate Conversation with Shana Plummer Chapter Secretary of The Sweet Soul Sisters Book Club.  Shana, how did your organization develop? How many members are in the group?

In October 2005, four ladies that enjoyed reading books by African American authors decided to change their causal conversation about the latest book into a formal monthly meeting. They named themselves The Sweet Soul Sisters Book Club. Over time, they opened these discussions to other friends and family and now The Sweet Soul Sisters Book Club has 9 members.

The primary mission of the book club is to broaden our literary experience by reading books written by authors of African American descent. Keeping abreast of the latest books and meeting the author that wrote them all while building life long relationships.

Ella: Ultimately, what do you want members to gain from your union?

First, we want our members to gain the desire to expand their literary choices. Since each member has a choice of a monthly selection it allows for a good variety. Second, we want our members to gain a connection. The Sweet Soul Sisters are more than just a book club, we are a family and we treat each other with sisterly love and respect.

Ella: Shana, what do you define as Quality Literature?

Quality Literature is piece of written work that has the ability to withstand time and be passed down through generations. This is a book that you would want to pass on to your children and your grandchildren. Quality Literature also has the ability to evoke emotion. It can provide you with a feeling of joy because of a happy ending or a tear because of sadness or sympathy. It draws you in and holds a place in your heart and memory.

 

Girl Fridayz Book Club – Buffalo, New York
Long Business Description:

The Girl Fridayz Book Club was conceived in August, 2005 out of the founder’s love of reading. She brought together a group of “sisters” who also have a love of reading and on September 30, 2005, the Girl Fridayz Book Club was born. We meet the last Friday of each month with different members hosting the meeting. The founder’s name is Karyn Davis and she and the other members of the book club reside in Buffalo, New York. We currently have ten active members.

The main purpose of our book club is to strengthen our passion for reading, share our faith, explore quality works by African-American authors, share ideas and opinions and fellowship with like-minded friends. We have supported authors who have come to our city for book signings/workshops (Virginia DeBerry, Kayla Perrin and Beverly Jenkins), as well as other book clubs who host authors. Also, at least once a year, we contribute to a young adult pursuing his/her dreams. This year we contributed to a young athlete so that she would be able to attend the regionals for track and field.

Last year, we contributed to a young lady’s fundraising efforts for Jabberwock, an evening of elegance and entertainment that showcases the gifts and talents of the young women participating in the program while advancing the goals and objectives of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s scholarship program.

BPM:  Do you feel as if African Americans are represented in a good light in the novels you read?

Our book club read mostly African-American Christian fiction. Although some of the characters get themselves into situations that are not very Christian-like, they usually find their way out through prayer and a willingness to do what is right. What we feel puts African Americans in a bad light is when characters consciously conduct themselves in a certain way without thought of consequences and repercussions.

BPM:  Do you think digital books will ever replace a printed book? 

We don’t believe that digital books will ever replace printed books. We love to turn the pages of a book and most of our members will not purchase a e-book priced more than $5.00 The majority of our members will NEVER stop buying printed books and the only way we could be forced to not buy them is if they stopped selling them.

 

Brown Girls Read 
Long Business Description:

Tamela C. Todd founded Brown Girls Read in March, 2016. The program provides age and grade level appropriate workshops that are engaging and educational. There currently are 40 members enrolled in the program.  Brown Girls Read operates out of the Northwest Activity Center on Detroit’s west side near Meyers Rd.

Brown Girls Read is a book club/mentoring program. Our purpose is to increase adolescent literacy and to empower our youth in the community. Our program strives to provide workshops that are both fun and educational. The members learn essay writing, tips for applying for college, best practices for obtaining financial aid, money management and more. Our clubs are divided into groups based on age and grade level for girls ages 7-15. The groups are as follows:  Group Yellow:  ages 7-9,  Group Orange: ages 10-12 and Group Green:   ages 13-15.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? 

Brown Girls Read has a theme for each month. Book selections are based off of that particular theme. Example: For November our members will read about voting, presidents, debates. We feature our monthly books, for all three groups, on our website.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you borrow books from the library?

Brown Girls Read book club is open to all books as long as they fit the age range for our youth. We are very supportive of all authors. Yes, I personally borrow books form the library.

BPM: How do you feel about attending literary festivals and events?

I absolutely love any type of literacy event. Brown Girls Read was apart of the Motor City Book Experience where we met other book clubs and many wonderful authors promoting their books. In June, 2017 Brown Girls Read will be looking forward to attending the 9th Annual AAMBC Literacy Awards in Atlanta, GA. I would like to see more participation from the community at literary events.

 

Sisters Sippin’ Tea Literary Group–Tulsa Chapter
Long Business Description:

The Tulsa chapter of Sisters Sippin’ Tea Literary Group is committed to providing an opportunity for women from all walks of life to come together for a common and primary goal…reading and promoting literacy through our community outreach programs.  Our pledge is to transmit our passion for literary pursuits to future generations.

BPM: How did your organization develop? How many members are in the group?

The African American Resource Center was hosting Roslyn McMillan and extended an invitation for people to read three of her books and we would meet once a month for three months prior to her visit to discuss. We had an awesome time and wanted the group to continue but because of prior commitments and time constraints the AARC Coordinator could not commit.  A couple of us located book clubs but they were not a good fit, they lacked structure and consistency.  Several months later I attended a weekend Literary Retreat with two friends at a secluded B & B in Texas hosted by Sistah Circle Book Club.  We had an awesome time.  I decided then that if we couldn’t find what we were looking for I would get a few ladies together and we would discuss starting our own club. My vision was to form a sisterhood who shared a passion for reading, promoting literacy and making a difference in our community.  We began as Emerging Minds Books and More.

After a few months I started investigating national book clubs and brought the idea to the group of becoming affiliated with a national group where we could broaden our literary experiences and connect with other sistah’s from all around the globe. I provided the group information on three national organizations and it was a unanimous decision that we join up with Sisters Sippin’ Tea; it’s been a wonderful journey every since! The Tulsa chapter currently has 11 members.

BPM: What is the primary mission of the group?

SST is dedicated to promoting literacy in our community.  We are actively involved in various activities that are geared towards raising literacy awareness through mentoring, counseling and outreach programs.

 

Fourth Sunday Book Club
Long Business Description:

The 4th Sunday Book Club was founded in the 1994 by six professional African-American women from the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area . These women shared a desire to read books of quality and substance and formed a loosely structured book club simply referred as “the book club”.  The objective was to read books written by African-American authors. Over time the club diversified to include at least one non-fiction book per year and has grown beyond solely African-American authored works.

The book club, which met on fourth Sundays, soon found that contemporary literature did not reflect them or their lives. Motivated by this realization, the club began writing its own book. The result is Fourth Sunday: A Journey of Book Club, which was written under the pseudonym B.W. Read and published in May, 2011 by Strebor Books for Simon and Shuster. In honor of the success of the book, “the book club” was renamed “4th Sunday Book Club.” The 4th Sunday Book Club has grown in membership and purpose. The club now has 13 active members. However, it remains an unstructured, intimate club where books are our connection and our bond is our strength.

BPM: In your opinion, why is reading important in our lives?

Reading is important because it exposes us to experiences and information we may not otherwise encounter. Reading helps us to become more educated and well rounded. Books, like “A Wrinkle In Time” by Madeleine L’Engle, influence lives at an early stage and have lasting effects.

BPM: What types of books does your group read? How do you select the featured books?

The club reads11 books per year. At least one non-fiction and a book with a romantic theme or undertone are read each year in February. The club meets only once during the summer months, for a co-ed meeting where spouses or significant others are invited. Books are selected at the January meeting and are selected by consensus.

BPM: Is there anything you would love to see more of in books? 

YES. More diversity including, but not limited to mixed race couples, gay characters that aren’t caricatures or stereotypes, people doing meaningful things with their lives that make them happy, and people being accountable for the decisions (good and bad) they make without blaming society, lack of money or their parents.

 

Girlfriends Book Club – Dallas Chapter
Long Business Description:

My name is Shameka Latimer, President of Girlfriends Book Club Dallas Chapter. GBC was founded in 2004 by Tamika Shamberger, CEO in Sacramento, CA. Dallas Chapter Officers are: Shameka Latimer- President/Secretary, Tonya Henderson-Smith-Vice President and LeTanya White-Kennedy- Treasurer. GBC Dallas was founded in July, 2009 and is the fifth out of seven chapters. As of now we have a total of eight members.

Our mission is to promote sisterhood and utilize this book club for self, as a stress reliever and a motivational tool. We look forward to working with all local and mainstream authors as much as possible to promote their novels.

BPM: What impact has reading had on you? 

Reading has been a stress reliever for us. It helps to take our mind off of things we may be going through. Reading has opened me up to new author and great discussions.

BPM: What impact has being in a organized group had on your life? 

GBC has been more then just a book club, it has been an outlet for me. All women face challenges, everyday, be it at home or in the work place. When we get together we open up our hearts to each other. This organization has led me to meet some wonderfully encouraging women. It’s like having an extended family.

BPM: What is your favorite genre of books?

This is a tough question. We enjoy Contemporary fiction, Memoirs, Biography, Self-help, Mystery, Romance, and other genres. Since we all have different personalities our taste in books varies. Books that relate to our everyday lives are the ones that remain on our mind long ever the books are closed.

BPM: How do you feel about electronic books?

As far as electronic book, I think its convenient and great. I think it depends on the person because some people want to collect the books they have read and some don’t.

 

BPM: Do you think our authors are leaving the same legacy as authors from other generations? 

Yes, I do think the authors of today are leaving the same legacy as authors from other generations and some are leaving even better ones!

 

Divas Leaving No Pages Unturned Book Club
Long Business Description:

My name is Toshona E. Carter and I am the Founder & President of this awesome book club.  I currently reside here in Little Rock, Arkansas. My book club name is Divas Leaving No Pages Unturned Book Club located here in Little Rock, Arkansas. Divas Leaving No Pages Unturned Book Club was established on July 17, 2010.  Our first meeting was held at the Texas Roadhouse Restaurant in Little Rock. We started with only four members. We have grown to 18 members and counting.

Divas Leaving No Pages Unturned Book Club was created to promote “Togetherness” among all Women of Color. When we thought of the word Diva, we thought of someone beautiful who knew what they wanted and would do what it takes to make things happen. Our invigorating club thrives to enrich the lives of Women “one page at a time” through literacy & community service.  Our mission is to help uplift, magnify, encourage, respect and provide a nurturing environment for women of color; who are strong mentally, physically, spiritually by educating, encouraging and supporting each other while utilizing “POSITIVE” energy from one to another.

BPM: What has the main focus become over the years?

Our main focus over the years has been on community service.  We have given financially and of our time to many local organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Union Rescue Mission, Arkansas Food Bank, Ronald McDonald House, The Dorcas House for Battered Women & Children, New Beginnings Pregnancy Resource Center, Fund-a-night Stay at the 20th Century Lodge in Little Rock for cancer patients and the Salvation Army to name a few.  We have participated in numerous projects over the years.

We would like to leave the legacy of service behind to those watching in the community.  We want to make a difference. At the end of the day, we hope that our contributions will positively impact our society. We would like to encourage every one to be a Drum Major as in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. in his sermon “The Drum Major Instinct.”

Another main focus of our club is to promote literacy through reading and encouraging other to pick up a book regularly from local and well-known authors.  Facebook:  Divas Leaving No Pages Unturned Book Club

 

The Book Worm Diva’s Book Club
Long Business Description:

I am Shabrika Mitchell, The Secretary/Treasurer of The BookWorm Diva’s Book Club. We are The BookWorm Diva’s which consists of  Val Hinton as The President,  Tamika Cloud as The Vice President,  and I, myself, as The Secretary/Treasurer. The BookWorm Diva’s Book Club is located in Newnan, Georgia.  In March, 2010, Val, Tamika and I started the club because we all had an interest in reading. We now consist of  9 members.

Our name has its own special meaning  each letter stands for something different. BOOKWORM  DIVAS  means Brilliant. Obedient. Observant. Kind. Women. Outstanding. Reliable. Mindful. Dedicated. Intelligent. Vibrant. Awesome. Sisterhood.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person?

We are looking for a commitment and passion for reading and helping others.  We have an Cyrus probation period before  you become a member.  Basically a trial period to see if your heart is really in it. We have a Facebook page which is open to the public.

BPM: How do you feel about attending book signings, literary festivals and events? 

We love attending book signings, literary festivals, and author meet & greets. We enjoy hearing the authors reading from their books.

BPM: Do you  host special events during the year or do you work for any charities?

Yes, we host several events yearly such as an  Easter Egg Hunt,  Family and Friends Day,  Thanksgiving Dinner,  and a Christmas Toy Drive.  We sometimes do a girls night out or just hang out.

BPM: Do you  have any words of wisdom for other readers starting a book club? 

Yes, make sure everyone has love and passion for reading and set goals  and achieve them. Also set rules for everyone to follow  and it should  help the club last a long time.  We are 5 years and counting and we love it!!

 

Real Divas Read and More Social Club
Long Business Description:

The Real Divas Read & More Social Club, located in Conley Georgia, began in 2013, and currently has 10 members. The conception of RDR was an idea that Diva Wanda established, after not receiving the fulfillment and satisfaction that she truly desired out of other groups, therefore; she blended her love of reading and interacting with other women that shares the same passion as she does.

The Real Divas Read & More Social Club was conceived, to build everlasting friendships with beautiful women who are ambitious, hardworking, optimistic, passionate and enthusiastic about life and reading. As a “Sisterhood”, our book club signifies the words of our mission statement as follows: “Enlightening, Uplifting, and Empowering Women through Fellowship, Service and Support”. The women of this group portray a more positive, sisterly and supportive attitudes with one another to debunk the myths about all of us being catty and confrontational, which ideally sets us apart from groups.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person?

The Real Divas Read social club welcomes women who are authentic. They must enjoy participating in community awareness events, social events, and of course have a passion for reading. We would like to have divas that have the time, dedication, and openness to be a part of our club. Life happens to all of us, therefore ones priorities change because of circumstance, so we understand when a diva wants to leave the group. Ladies request to be a part of the group all the time. Meetup and our Real Divas Read Facebook page are the two ways women who are interested can learn more about our group.

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore?

The days of purchasing printed/hard copy books has become obsolete, but in order to support authors that are invited to our meetings we do support them by purchasing their novels and having it signed. Although, the price is cheaper that is not our deciding factor. Ebooks come into play because they are convenient. A member can log on from any device to enjoy a great read on a tablet, phone or desktop at work. Being avid readers who may travel a lot, digital books provide the convenience (no packing) of having several books on hand at once not to mention purchasing a book in a matter of seconds.

 

 

Destined Readers Book Club
Long Business Description:

Destiny Hawkins and Tiffany Booker are the Co-founders of Destined Readers Book Club. Destiny Hawkins is an Admin. Asst., a wife, a mother of two sons, ages 17 and 18, and the adoptive mother of two small furry dogs. Destiny enjoys attending book events.

Tiffany Booker is a children’s author, a current middle school teacher, a wife, and mother to two young men. Tiffany hopes book clubs will some day become as prevalent as being a sorority member. Books are Tiffany’s passion of choice.

Destined Readers Book Club was founded in Marietta, Georgia in August 2014 by Co-founders Destiny Hawkins and Tiffany Booker. We started a book club out of the sheer frustration from attending several meetings of another book club whose club seemed, to us, to be very snooty. They did not have a sense of genuine warmth, fun, nor true friendships in their club. Destiny and I are very down to earth people and have a lot in common, so we wanted to create a book club with like minded women as well.  Destiny Hawkins is so humble that she makes it a point to ensure everyone knows that she WAS NOT responsible for creating the name of our book club. It was actually my idea to name the club Destined Readers Book Club. Due to our frustration with the other book clubs unwelcoming club culture, we WERE DESTINED to begin our own club. The rest as they say, is history or in our case HERstory. Although we are still a fairly new club, we are nine members strong with several prospective members awaiting acceptance. We want to keep our book club at a maximum of 15 dedicated members.

We have successfully developed a culture of a genuine kinship with one another, which has allowed us to forge ongoing, true and genuine friendships that we know will last a lifetime, all while having fun doing it. For example, one of our members took a teaching job in Japan, but she comes back every year to visit the club and facilitates a book discussion. This is a true example of what our club means to her. It’s the friendships, the fun and the books that keeps her coming back.

BPM: In your opinion, what makes a good book club conversation?

In Tiffany’s opinion, what makes a good book club conversation is our unique Trivia Question segment of the meeting. It is our tradition to ask random trivia questions to our members as a good book conversation starter. This keeps members on their toes in reading the selected novel thoroughly and paying attention to key details in the book. This leads into a well prepared discussion. We either use the available reading guide the author has provided or we use our own to lead the discussions, but the key is having fun while doing it. Our trivia questions are the key to our book club discussions. Most times if the book is interesting enough, then we tend to keep the book discussion on topic, however, if for some reason we conclude that the current book was either boring or we didn’t like the book, we tend to roam off topic, but our agenda keeps us on task to ensure we do not waste valuable time during the book discussions.

 

Round Table Readers Literary Book Club
Long Business Description:

The Round Table Readers were founded by La Sheera Lee. The book club is located in Danville, VA. The group was founded on the principles of spreading literacy, fostering sisterhood, and assisting their local community.  The group was founded in 2010. Currently, we have eight members. Their names are Tora Ballard, Latonya Terry, Hannah Lee, Kay Edmondson, Traci White- Williams, Twozynn McGhgee and Joyce Laverne Mayo.

The Round Table Readers has hosted five events to date. Each event presented their local communities with the opportunity to meet their favorite authors and to learn about the world of publishing. The literary events have also served their communities. One event featuring Zane, raised funds for a Breast Cancer Survivor. Attendees of other events, have donated can goods and school supplies for admission.

The Round Table Readers also likes to connect with other book clubs. The Sisters of the Red Tent, Sistahs of Urban Literature, and Victorious Ladies of Reading are all considered their sister book club. The Round Table Readers have enjoyed organizing book club events with these wonderful ladies!

BPM: Has social media changed how you feel about authors?

Social media has forever changed the literary landscape. Authors, book clubs, readers are able to engage and discuss books. Video sharing platforms have also made it easier for readers to virtually host authors for meetings etc.

However, I think that authors need to be mindful of comments or pics presented online. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinions. However, if you are a public figure, you must be mindful of the impact your actions might have own your readership.

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers starting a book club?

It is essential for all members to respect the time and opinions of all members. It is also important to make sure you have members who personalities click.

 

Lady LOTUS Book Club – Louisiana
Long Business Description:

The Lady L.O.T.U.S (Loving Others Through United Sisterhood) book club began in July, 2013. They are located in Monroe, Louisiana. The Lady L.O.T.U.S book club consists of 20 sisters (members). The first book that they read was The Reverend’s Wife by Kimberly Lawson Roby. Their first literary they attended was the National Book Club Conference in Atlanta.

Tammy Washington, Lady LOTUS Bookclub Founder, is a country girl at heart, with a love for reading that takes her imagination beyond the stars. She is a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Monroe. She is an Early Childhood & Elementary Ed. Curriculum Monitor. Most of her adult life has been dedicated to mentoring and servicing children and families. Tammy said, this is not just a passion, but her ministry.

She loves to encourage others with a famous quote by Dr. Seuss, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” She shares this quote in an effort to help others embrace who they are in spite of what society says they should be. Tammy’s very own quote is, “True beauty begins with the heart and mind, and then flows to be seen through the eyes and smile.”

Amanda Presley, Lady LOTUS Bookclub Co-Founder, is somewhat of an Army brat. Both her parents were in the army. She was raised and still lives in Monroe, Louisiana. She currently works at an elementary school as a Pre-K Paraeducator. She has been in this position for the last seven years. Amanda also does after school tutoring through the school’s tutoring program.

She is very active in the church. She sings in the church singing group and also work with the mentor program. She loves spending time with her family and friends, especially her girls. In her alone time, give her a good book and she is good to go.

BPM: What legacy will your bookclub leave for those watching in the community? 

The lesson and legacy that Lady L.O.T.U.S bookclub purposes to leave is that reading is not only an outlet, but can unlock doors in the mind to build, strengthen, and enhance knowledge (spiritually, mentally and academically). They strive to model UNITY and SERVICE to our community. As God allows us to be a blessing to one another, so shall we be to our community.

 

Indulge Book Club – Washington DC
Long Business Description:

Indulge Book Club was started December, 2005. We are located in Washington DC. We currently have ten members. Indulge Coordinator/Founder is Micole Marbury, Secretary is Marcia Horton, Activities Coordinator Latarsha Reid, Photographer Chaquita Goode, Indulge little readers facilitator Mailka Watkins.

We started Indulge because we love to read and we wanted an outlet from our daily lives and to fellowship with friends. We are a group of individuals who meet every 1st Sunday at various member homes for book discussions. We are varied in age and are of numerous backgrounds. We are passionate readers who have been reading together for twelve years.

The mission of the group is to free our minds from the stresses of life and indulge ourselves in great books, food and conversation. Indulge was not originally established for community service purposes, but in the upcoming years we plan to start promoting the importance of reading.

BPM: What types of monthly activities do you enjoy as a group? Do you travel?

We meet once a month for our book club meetings. We have activities planned for every three months in the year. We have an annual game night, we see movies together, go to dinner together, and for our 5th Anniversary we went on a cruise on the Odyssey.

BPM: How do you feel about electronic books such as for the Kindle, Nook or iPad, etc?

These devices are good because it helps the reader now have so many books all over the place. But they do not hold the same substance as printed books.

BPM: What impact has reading or being in a organized group had on your life? 

As the Organizer/Founder of Indulge Book Club, it has been a great pleasure to know and meet so many amazing people and to hear their thoughts and emotions. The experience helps us grow as individuals. The books are a bonus.

 

Mississippi Magnolias Book Club
Long Business Description:

Mississippi Magnolias Book Club was founded November, 5, 2012 in Gulfport, Mississippi by Antionette Gates, President. MMBC officers are Antionette Gates, President, Ethel Smith, Vice-President, Taironzika Wesley, Secretary, Angela McNair, Treasurer, Photographers, Lisa Ladner and Kimberly Robins. MMBC currently have ten active members. Our first book read was Money Can’t Buy Love by Connie Briscoe.

MMBC was created from avid readers that also happen o be members of Unity Festival, Incorporated, a non-profit organization. Yes, a few of us post reviews on Amazon. We contribute to all UFI events throughout the community; Thanksgiving baskets to needy families, books or prizes for the Children’s Book Jamboree, and sponsor Angel Tree children, at Christmas. MMBC members also volunteer at the organizations various functions including the neighborhood Unity Festival in March of each calendar year.

BPM: What type of books does your group read? Do you support self-published authors?  

Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Erotica and Mysteries are group favorites. Some members thoroughly enjoy paranormal books as well. There is no genre that we absolutely will not read. A book excerpt does not help in the book selection. The majority of books read by MMBC are by authors of color, but books have been chosen by authors who aren’t of color.

MMBC members definitely support self-published authors. Any support given self-published authors help promote awareness of the book and enlighten other readers about both the author and their books. This action in turn will someday garner a larger following for the self-published author.

BPM: What factors help a book remain on your mind long after the last page?

A few key factors are great characters, realistic problems or events, and a fantastic location.

BPM: What legacy will your club leave for those watching in the community?

Our goal is to improve our community through literacy and literature. We hope to bring a sense of joy, hope, and adventure associated with the love of reading, and volunteerism to the youth on the coast. It is our goal to further these efforts in future through a youth reading group or book club.

 

Sandra Randolph  Literary Ladies Book Club
Long Business Description:

In October 2008, the Literary Ladies Book Club was established in Rahway, New Jersey by sisters, Sandi and Maria. As busy career women with little free time to enjoy friends, fellowship, adult conversation and a good “Girl’s Night Out”; the sisters decided to start a book club driven by their love of African American Literature and their shared desire to engage in honest, enthusiastic, enlightening discussions with other individuals that truly enjoy reading. In order to rise to their fullest and purest potential not only as readers but also as women, they encouraged members to empower one another by sharing ideas and materials throughout the month that promote personal growth and enhance awareness within literary, social, spiritual and economic areas.

In a nutshell, the original eight members gathered with the purpose of creating unity, friendship, and sisterhood amongst positive women of color. Presently, we have 11 active members.  In addition, our members are busy scheduling authors to participate in future monthly discussions. Currently, approximately 80% percent of our monthly discussions entail author participation either in person or via video or phone conference.

 

BPM:  What is the purpose for your organization? Do you host events during the year or provide services for the community?

The purpose of our group is to gather literary women who enjoy reading. We come together to fellowship and discuss our book of the month along with what is going on in the literary world. We explore many different genres and writing styles. Literary Ladies looks forward to growing the club, possessing a stronger presence in the literary world and to whatever the universe has in store. We host an annual bowling party every August and  we host the “Lunch with the Literary Ladies Book Club & Friends” every Fall.

BPM:  As a loyal reader, what are some of the things you want to see more of or less of in books?

The African American community includes people from all socio-economic levels; so we’d like to see a broader representation of us as a people overall in African American Literature. We would also like to see more books for teenagers. As loyal readers, our biggest pet peeve is poor editing. Often, there are so many typographical and grammatical errors that it becomes necessary to go back and reread a sentence, paragraph or worse yet an entire page in order to understand and follow the storyline. It is very frustrating to say the least.

 

Don’t Read Me, Read A Book (DRMRAB)
Long Business Description:

DRMRAB members have earned the nickname, “The Paperback Gang,” due to their high level of participation at the many book festivals held throughout the year, and their voracious appetite for purchasing paperback books. Members are proud of their expansive bookshelves, many of which hold books with personal, handwritten notes and signatures from their favorite authors. Their motto is: “We are not just a book club, we are a movement.”

Don’t Read Me, Read A Book is based out of Columbus, Ohio, with chapters located throughout the United States and on Facebook. DRMRAB started online as a Facebook group in January 2015. I started the book club because I wanted my own group, instead of administering someone else’s. Fast forward to April of the same year, when I became acquainted with a couple of local readers and decided to start an in-person club that would meet once a month here in Columbus. A very good friend of mine, author Fabiola Joseph, suggested that I start offering readers in other cities a chance to organize under the DRMRAB umbrella. So, in February 2016, the first chapters began. Our Facebook membership has grown to over 2,000 members and our chapter members now total over 200 and growing!

DRMRAB promotes literacy in the African-American community, while supporting authors in a positive, judgement-free environment. We stand out from other groups for a few reasons. First, our members support the authors we read by purchasing thousands of paperback books. With the popularity of eBooks, common thought was that paperbacks were dead until we came along and showed everyone how false that assumption was. Second, we host and participate in face-to-face discussions with authors, and you really don’t see that anymore. The name of our organization has a very special meaning to me. My favorite cousin (who passed away last year) helped me come up with the concept during a battle for my attention, while I was trying to read. That memory is so dear to my heart, that I give out a yearly award in his honor.

BPM:   Do you host special events during the year or do you work for any charities?

Every year, we  gather at the Sistahs on Lit Book Festival. Papaya Wagstaff, who happens to be our DMV chapters chairman is the owner of this great event. S.O.L is amazing because it gives book clubs a chance to mingle with fellow readers as well as different authors. Yes, we also participate in several charities. When we first heard of the Flint, Michigan, water crisis, we teamed up with Hood Books to send over 8,500 bottles of water to Flint’s residents. In 2015, we adopted a family for Christmas, and in 2016 we adopted two families. We’ve also donated countless books to children. This year, we will also assist families with back-to-school and Christmas needs, among other initiatives. As far as hosting event every chapter host several authors throughout the year.

Book Pearls Book Club – Chester, Virginia 
Long Business Description:

There are readers, individuals who may casually stroll from series to series as film adaptations have peaked their interest and driven them to the nearest bookstore or library. Then there are literary advocates, individuals who believe that books are as recreational as they are academic and socially impactful; these are individuals who have made it their life’s work to foster and nourish the livelihood of literature despite society’s shift and focus on media that can be absorbed quickly.

Opting to combine the base philosophy of literary advocates like herself with her personal beliefs, Yvonne Bailey has founded Book Pearls, a book club devoted to increasing readership within Black communities and uniting women through sisterhood and fellowship.

The Book Pearls meet monthly to discuss the chosen book of the month. Each discussion is different as these women have chosen to embrace all literary genres. “We love to read all genres, each book that we read carries a different message and has touched our lives in various ways”.

Often, the monthly meetings carry the Pearls to various locations within their community and surrounding areas as they believe literature is a moving art form that reflects the world we live in. As the Pearls grow, they hope to become more involved within their local communities and reading communities worldwide.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month?

Whoever host for that particular month gets to choose the book. This gives each member a voice and a chance to pick a book they may have been wanting to read for some time. We generally do not read and discuss books outside of our book club pick. We may read other books during the month and suggest them to one another but we do not discuss them. We are currently on Facebook and will be branching out to Instagram and twitter within this month. We share our bookclub meetings as well as our featured books on Facebook.

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers starting a book club?

The biggest advice to give to someone who is wanting to start a book club, Go for it! Life is too short to not live it beautifully, so why wait or let fear cripple you. Call a few friends who share the love of reading and choose a book. Interview submitted by Renee Bailey, president of Book Pearls Bookclub.

 

Mocha Girls Read Book Club
Long Business Description:

I’m Alysia Allen. We are Mocha Girls Read an online and in person book club for Black women. We are located in five cities right now in Los Angeles and San Diego, California; Tempe, Arizona; New Lenox, Illinois and now Waldorf, Maryland. Mocha Girls Read started in October, 2011 after I looked all over the internet for a book club, I found two and joined them both. They were good and I have made a few new friends from them. But I noticed one thing about both of them…I was the only black, woman of color, African-American, mocha girl in the clubs. I thought about this for a while and finally said to myself, “Self, there has got to be some sistas in LA who like to read.” After much thought and discussion with family and friends MOCHA GIRLS READ was born. As of today Mocha Girls Read book club has about 2,000+ members world wide.

Mocha Girls Read members are all ages. Our youngest member in 21 years old and our oldest is in her 80’s. We have working mom’s, single women, grandmothers and newly weds. We even have a few non Black members who just love what we are about and want to support us in all our efforts.

We are a group of black women who love to read, want to read more and meet like-minded women. The books we read range from fiction, self-help, historical romance, best sellers, good ol’ short stories and basically anything we can get our hands on. Mocha Girls Read brings black women in the community together to read great literature, online and in person chit chatting about the monthly selection and a whole lot more. We are different form other book clubs because:

  1. We read all genres, by authors of all genders and races, and from any publication date.
  2. We are free to all women.
  3. We never close meetings and membership.
  4. We are ageless. We just ask that members under 18 years old have the permission of a parent each month.

 

BPM: What legacy will your club leave for those watching in the community?

Our main focus has been sisterhood. Our members are so diverse and have various reasons for joining but the end result seems to be the same. We love being in each other company. I hope Mocha Girls Read brings the joy of read to each community and uplifts the Black women in each chapter through fellowship.

 

Soul Sistahs Book Club – Chattanooga, TN
Long Business Description:

Soul Sistahs Book Club was founded in 2011 by Kenya Ervin of Chattanooga, TN. Initially comprised of coworkers, membership has been extended to close family and friends that share a passion for books. Soul Sistahs Book Club’s mission is to promote literacy and encourage sisterhood among women of all ages and backgrounds through the love of reading and lively conversations. Currently, we do not have officers assigned, but everyone comes together to get things done. We have five active members.

BPM: When accepting members into the group, what are you looking for in the person?  Do you have an online version of the group?

When accepting members into the group, we explain all of our requirements in detail. We look for people that love to read and are willing to commit to attending meetings once per month. Over the years, it has been difficult for people to stay in the group due to their lack of commitment and participation. We do not offer an online version of the book club at this time but we do have dedicated Facebook and Twitter pages to interact with other readers and authors.

BPM: How do you make your book selections for the month? When do you select the books? 

SSBC: When we started the book club, I would search online and best sellers lists to choose our book of the month. I would choose three books and allow my members to vote on the book they would like to read for the following month. Recently, I started a “Book Box”. I allow my members to write names of books on a slip of paper and drop it into the box whenever they like. Each month, I draw from the box and that’s what we will read. It’s been very interesting so far.

 

Sisters With Books – Los Angeles California
Long Business Description:

We are Sisters With Books. We are located in Los Angeles California. Our group began in 1995. A group of black women mainly educators decided they wanted to discuss books after they’ve read them. On roll, we have 25, we average 15 to 20 every month. Sisters With Books consist of black women, ages 40’s 50’s 60’s and 70’s. We’re high energy, love to debate and generous. The purpose of our reading club is sisterhood, and to read books written by black women. We have made exceptions: Leonard Pitts, Amy Tan, Daniel Black, and Guy Johnson.

BPM: Have you faced any challenges as a group? If so, what and how did you deal with them?

One of our original book club members, lost her only child in a horrific car accident. It was in the month of June, she had just retired from teaching, her anniversary week-end and Father’s Day.  We rallied around her. There are some books, that are just to difficult for our sister friend to handle. She has started attending book club again. This happened 3 years ago. We had a special meeting just to talk, it was therapeutic. This is an example of how our book club has served many purposes.

BPM: Do you post book reviews? How do you handle bad reviews or books that flopped?

Individuals have posted reviews. We give suggestions and identify what we didn’t agree with. In 2011, Sisters With Books participated in DIGG INTO BOOKS web show, created by 4 Hearts Productions. It can be found on YouTube.

BPM: What type of books have generated the most interesting discussions?

The historical fiction “Wench” was the book we discussed on YouTube slavery vs enslaved. “Gathering of Waters” by Bernice McFadden, spirits, and so many of the women experienced spirits. “Before I Forget” by Leonard Pitts Jr., a Black man realizing he wasn’t a good father.

BPM: What legacy will your club or blog leave for those watching in the community?

Sisters With Books’ legacy will be black women coming together through adversity as well as celebrating each other.

 

Reading with Soul – Columbus, Ohio
Long Business Description:

My name is Sheryl Towns, President of “Reading With Soul.” We are located in Columbus, Ohio. Reading has always been a passion. I had friends, family and co-workers who read all the time. We would share books and discuss them whenever we got together. I was a member of a bookclub previously and I realized I wanted to join another bookclub, but then I choose to start my own. I made fliers, posting them in places where you would see readers (hair salon/work).

In November, 2006 we had our first meeting at Barnes and Noble. We started with five members. Those same five ladies are still members. Our membership has been up and down. Thank God we are blessed to have a total of nine members. Our purpose is to give back to the community and to read for enjoyment, enrichment and knowledge. -Pat, Reading with Soul Member

BPM: What are key factors that help a book remain on your mind long after the last page?

The key factors that I look for and remain long after the last page are, when a book club member relates, and feel happy or sad for a character, or when we want to just say a prayer for when the pain of a character effects our soul. -JoAnna Clark, Reading with Soul Member

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore?

I prefer to read hard copy books, because I prefer to read hard copy books and keep them as keepsakes. The price of the books does not matter to me. I would not stop buying hard copies and I doubt that I would switch to digital books permanently.  -Deanne Payne, Reading with Soul Member

BPM: Do you serve or donate to any charities?

For our charitable giving, and as our way of giving back and supporting the community, since our book club started we have been involved with a homeless family shelter. A couple times a year we purchase food, cook and serve the residents. In addition to that, we donate items and gift cards to this shelter.  -Leslie, Reading with Soul Member

 

 

Sistahs and Friends Book Club
Long Business Description:

Founders of Sistahs and Friends: Yvette Barrett, Malinda Burden and Priscilla Myers. In December, 2014 we lost our 4th founder, Theresa Jackson. Sistahs and Friends Book Club started in 1997, in Chicago, when 4 young professional co-workers, Priscilla Myers, Theresa Jackson, Malinda Burden and Yvette Barrett discovered they shared a common passion. That passion was the love of reading and the desire to share their thoughts with each other. We had our first book club discussion in a conference room during our lunch hour. It was such a great experience that we decided to continue and called ourselves, Sistahs Bookclub. Later on we had a male that wanted to join us. So in fairness to him and other potential males, we changed our name to Sistahs and Friends Bookclub. We started with 4 and currently have 12 members.

Our members are mature professionals who all grew up from various backgrounds and areas in the city of Chicago. We started this group 19 years ago as “Bubbies” and have grown into mature outgoing, outspoken women who love a great book, with a great meal, a great glass of wine and a great discussion. These is no room and no tolerance for pettiness and or catiness. We may not always agree on the rating of a book but we will always have a great debate regarding the merits of our selections or lack thereof.

BPM: What legacy will your club leave for those watching in the community?

Sistahs and Friends exemplify the true essence of sisterhood. Our legacy will be that true Sistahs support, lift and motivate each other not tear them down.

BPM: Do you prefer to read books by authors of color? Do you borrow books from the library?

In the early years of Sistahs and Friends we only read books by African American authors. However over the years we have developed an appetite to broaden our horizon and not limit ourselves. During the years we have supported all authors as well as self-published authors and invited some of them to attend our bookclub discussions (via in person, Skype, FaceTime and conference calls). Yes, a few of our members still borrow books from the library but the majority have Kindle or a Reader.  Website: sistahsandfriendsbookclub.com

 

R.A.R.E (Reading And Rapping Experience)
Long Business Description:

Patricia Turner Smith is the presiding president of RARE Book Club.  Patricia resides in Memphis, TN and lives each day enjoying retirement. Patricia is an active member of the Orange Mound Energizer Line Dancers, Family and Friends a group of members from various churches that meet to share ideas to improve the community and provide assistance to the less fortunate.  Patricia volunteers her time by reading books to elementary school students at various schools and assisting the teachers when administering tests.  The ladies of RARE Book Club is located in Memphis, TN.  R.A.R.E (Reading And Rapping Experience) was founded September 7, 1997.  We will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of RARE this year. There are twelve active, unique and energetic members of RARE.  The ladies enjoy reading and rapping about various book selections.  They are imaginative, and don’t hesitate to put their twist about a story line.

BPM:  What is the purpose of your organization? Does the name have a special meaning?

The ultimate goal of RARE is to read and have book discussions, network with other book clubs, coordinate and host author’s book signing events and all other literary influences as we promote the importance of literacy.  The ladies of RARE have a “Reading And Rapping Experience” during our book discussions. They have shown enthusiasm and dedication for literacy by collectively reading 801 books from September 15, 2015 thru August 26, 2016.  It is their goal to read books, have intelligent discussions and promote the importance of literacy.  RARE was presented the 2016 award by BWABC (Black Writers and Book Clubs) Literacy Rocks Association for “Reading the Most Books”.

BPM:  Do you host special events during the year or do you work for any charities? 

The ladies of RARE host an Annual Tea and Social in February that feature spoken word, poetry and local and out of state authors.  The authors have included but not limited to Christian fiction authors, EMMA and African American Literacy Awards Winners, Rosa Parks Award Winner and new authors. The authors have an opportunity to expound on how they got involved in writing and provide their experience based on their writing career.  The authors and guests have an opportunity to mix and mingle, take pictures and purchase signed copies of books.  The fellowship has built lasting relationships thru literary genre. RARE Book Club had the distinguished honor of receiving the 2016 Book Club of the Year Award by BWABC.  The ladies do socialize other than at the book club meetings.

Circle of Sisters Book Club of Columbus
Long Business Description:

Circle of Sisters of Columbus Interview with Helen Gibson and Georgette Martin—Helen Gibson, Circle of Sisters Book Club is a straight country girl from Alabama who currently resides in Columbus Georgia.  She is a lifelong reader who honestly cannot remember a time that she did not have a book in her hand. She’s told that even as a toddler she was reading magazines upside down!

BPM:  How do you make your book selections for the month? When do you select the books?

The first few months of the club, it was difficult selecting books.  No one wanted to actually nominate a book; we got a lot of “whatever the group decides…”.  After talking it over, my co-president and I decided to just make the selections ourselves since everyone wasn’t participatory in nominating and voting.  For 2017 we made book marks for the year’s selections with no problems.  Every other month we read an AA book; we decided early on that we would not limit ourselves to a particular genre of books.  This has worked well for us during our first year. We read one book a month for discussion, but if we read a particularly good book in between we make sure we tell the others to get it.

BPM:  Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? 

Early on we made it clear that it did not matter how you read the book.  We just encouraged reading; that was our main goal.  We do, however, stress the importance of supporting AA authors, buying their books instead of sharing their books, and leaving reviews for the books we enjoy.  So far, the price of e-books has not been questioned and has not hindered our reading selections.  Although most everyone in the group has an electronic reading device, I don’t think we will ever stop buying DTB.  I visit our local B&N store at least once a week.

BPM:  Do you have any words of wisdom for others who might want to start a book club?

If you want to start a book club…JUST DO IT….don’t wait for ‘whatever’ to happen or not happen.  Just send out the invites and start your club.  If only two people show up, meet and keep it moving.  If you’re already in a book club, enjoy the experience and don’t stress about the rest.

 

Chocolate Beauties – Pontiac, Michigan
Long Business Description:

We are the Chocolate Beauties Book Club located in Pontiac, Michigan.  We were established in 2010 by our president and founder Angela Hunt.  Currently we have 14 members. We are a sisterhood of fun loving, reading women.  We are all African American women (single, married, mothers, working, 35 years or older)  Our group is good hearted, comedians, some what serious – great combination that works together. 

The Chocolate Beauties purpose:

  • To have a strong, positive and divine sisterhood
  • To uplift and not tear one another down
  • To push each other forward when we are stuck in our situations
  • To encourage each other to reach our goals
  • To pray for one another
  • To fellowship and have fun
  • And of course to discuss the book of the month

 

 BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? Do you prefer digital books?

Members are responsible for purchasing their books. Most are purchased online and/or in bookstores. Some members use/have the Kindle reader. Cost/price does not play a part in book selection/purchase. Yes, we will continue to purchase printed books.

 

Marcus Book Club – Oakland, CA 
Long Business Description:

Marcus Book Club started in August of 1997, in Oakland, CA as a part of Marcus Book Store (the oldest, African American owned bookstore in the nation.) We gathered that first time as a group of 232 readers, divided into 6 “Chapters.”  Each Chapter met once per month, at the bookstore. Over time the numbers decreased, eliminating the need for Chapters. Today we are 12-15 strong and meet on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. Meetings are still held at Marcus Book Store.

Our book club’s main focus is in alignment with the tradition of Marcus Books; to read and discuss books BY and ABOUT Black People everywhere. The book club has the name of the bookstore, which was named in honor of Marcus Garvey. We tend to be serious about great literature and sometimes have to remind ourselves to “lighten up” and make some “completely fun” book selections. We enjoy diverse opinions and lively discussions.

BPM: What types of books have generated the most interesting discussions?

Books that force us to address cultural and societal issues have generated the most interesting discussions because everyone has some level of investment in the topic. It is not out of the ordinary that we will “agree to disagree” during these discussions.

BPM: Do you have any words of wisdom for other readers starting a book club?

Have fun, give everyone equal voice and be open to reading books you might not choose on your own. There have been many times when we did not like the book and had amazing discussions or developed a different appreciation for the book.

 

Books and Booze Book Club – Chicago 
Long Business Description:

I’m Lutisha Bass from the Books and Booze Book Club. We are based in Chicago, IL. A few of us have known each other for years and knew we shared a love for reading. One day our founder, Jomonique Moore, posted a request online asking anyone if they’d be interested in forming a book club. The response was great and we’ve been meeting ever since. That was over a year ago to date. Our first meeting was August, 2014. We have 62 online members that join our chats via social media. However, we have 15 members who come out face-to-face every meeting. We have not elected any officials for the group.

 

BPM: Do you primarily purchase books online or in a bookstore? 

Usually I stick with the authors of books that I’ve previously read and enjoyed BUT if I step outside of that norm I seek the recommendations of friends/associates whose opinions I value.

BPM: What genre/types of books do you prefer to read as a group?  

The genre of our books vary. I would like to see our group venture off into possibly making our own ‘Books n’ Booze guide to ‘Owning your own kind of beautiful, self love and empowering women’ kind of guide. Some of the experiences we’ve shared with each other has the capability to reach other women in a positive way.
I really don’t know if the types books have changed over time.

BPM: What are key factors that help a book remain on your mind long after the last page?

Great characters will help a book remain in the mind long after the last page. If you can’t remember the characters you are less likely to remember what they did.

BPM: Have you faced any challenges as a group? If so, how did you deal with them?

The only problem we’ve faced is scheduling our meetings. With everyone leading fruitful and busy lives everyone is not always available. We are now trying to be a static date, like the last Sunday every other month, to meet so people can plan their lives around the block club date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sistahs BookClubbing Shreveport, LA.
Long Business Description:

My name is Tannie Lewis Bradley, I’m a member of Sistahs BookClubbing in Shreveport, LA.  There are 25 active members. Our book club meets the first Saturday of every month to discuss the book of the month. On occasion, authors of the books have joined our discussion by phone.

Sistahs BookClubbing organized Shreveport’s first citywide read, “One Book One City: Shreveport on the Same Page” in 2005. I was a member of the Northwest Louisiana Management Team for the 2009 “The Big Read,” an initiative of the NEA, designed to restore reading to the center of American culture and bring together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment.

In response to the need for hair care products for African American service women deployed in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Ships at Sea, our book club organized and implemented Shreveport’s first Sister Soldier Packing Party. A total of 452 hair care packages were packed and shipped from 2009 thru 2012 when President Obama brought the troops home.

I was named 2015 Book Lover of the Year by The Shreveport Times.

Please visit our website:  http://sistahsbookclubbing.webs.com