poetry and prose about place

A Book Club: a new experience for me

with 4 comments

I love to read. For years I have considered joining a book club. To meet with like-minded people, to delve deep into the elements of a book, to experience a new way of considering the merits of a book – these all seemed to be good reasons for participating in a gathering dedicated to reading of a book.


This past week, I had my chance. Our new local book store, Dog Eared Books, in Oromocto, has organized a book club event featuring a book by my friend and admired author Alexa Bowie. The book — Death Between the Walls.



I have read the book before, about a year ago, but I wanted to be knowledgeable, so I re-read the book the day of the meeting. So enjoyable to dedicate a whole day to reading!!!! Not a hard book to read in one sitting since it is engaging and hard to put down. I love the main character and her ‘relationship’ with her long-dead father. I also like the setting, in New Brunswick, in the area of Miramichi.


I read a little, on-line, about what to expect at an author-led book club. The best questions to get discussion going abound on the web. See for 50 Great Book Club Questions for a Meaningful Discussion.


A simple way to approach a book club discussion is in terms of the 5 Ws: Who, What, Where, When and Why; add to this, How. In terms of the book: characters, subject matter, setting, year and season, motivation, and means. Each of these categories can be broken down into positives and negatives; for example, which character do you like/dislike the most. As a writer, I am also interested in how the story and plot unfold.

Story and plot may seem similar but:

  • story is the who, what and where
  • plot is the when, why and how.


How it went:


Eight people met at Dog Eared Books. Lots of room, iced tea and baked goodies. Introductions, all around. The discussion was fun, informal. The author is a great facilitator and everyone got a chance to talk.


We learned a lot about the writing process, what idea leads to telling a story and how subsequent ideas get incorporated. The author told us about the two main approaches to writing: plotting and pants-ing. The first can be very prescriptive and involves lots of planning and characterization. The second is ‘by the seat of the pants,’ following the whims of the characters and the dictations of the setting. Death Between the Walls was mostly written using this second method.


The group ended with a book-signing and a promise to get together again, once a month on a Friday evening at 6:30. We will keep in touch using a Facebook group and vote to select a new book from one of the genres.



I’ll let you know how it goes.

All my best,


Written by jane tims

July 18, 2022 at 7:00 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Happy to hear this event went so well.

    Liked by 1 person

    allan hudson

    July 19, 2022 at 6:42 am

  2. Thank you for your insights, Jane. One interesting element of the evening was learning WHY readers like the protagonist: Emma. They found her a relatable, sympathetic character. ‘I want Emma to be my coffee friend!’
    It was also pointed out that the ancillary elements: the Manse, the field in Taintville added to the richness of the setting and plot. Join a Book Club!

    Liked by 1 person


    July 18, 2022 at 11:47 pm

    • Yes, and I noticed great interest in how the author brought an idea from experience to fictional account!


      jane tims

      July 21, 2022 at 6:47 pm

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