It’s Almost Time for The Enchanted April Book Club/Group Read!

Spring is peeping it’s head out here in our area by giving us some warmer days here and there and more sunshine! I love when the days begin to show signs of spring arriving! And The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim is the perfect spring read! Set in the month of April, the author whisks us away to a beautiful villa in Italy…full of wisteria and sunshine.

In The Enchanted April, four women agree to share the expenses of renting an Italian villa for the month of April. Each of these women are having their own troubles at home and are anxious to get away. In the beginning, they don’t know each other; but by the end they’ve become good friends. This story takes a look at their lives and how this holiday helps them learn more about themselves, helps them grow personally, and helps them each find needed healing in their lives. It’s easy to be swept away to Italy in this novel; especially in the movie also, which gives you all the beautiful scenery on screen. It’s a perfect read for April; not just because of the title and that it takes place in April, but also because in nature April is a time of renewal and restoration in the beauty of spring. And like the renewal and restoration in nature during spring, the characters in this classic novel also find their own lives being renewed and restored.

We will read this book together in April and have a live video discussion at the end of the month on my Instagram page. So be sure to follow my Instagram account so you won’t miss out! My Instagram account is @karenluvstoread or you can simply click on one of my Instagram pictures over in the sidebar area of the blog here.

I have created a page for our group read that gives all the information, includes links for a free printable book discussion guide and free printable bookmarks, and will be the landing page for the book discussion posts I will put up here on the blog to give us the opportunity to discuss the book as we read it. You will need to sign up below to be able to access the group read page. (It’s free!) However, you don’t need to sign up to participate in the video discussion at the end of the month. Simply join in for the live discussion on my Instagram page at the date and time still to be determined. You can find the group read page on the menu bar at the top of the blog here or you can click HERE.

I’m looking forward to traveling to Italy with you through the pages of this book!

Sign up below to join The Enchanted April
Group Read.

2021 Book Clubs Here at The Simply Blog

I’ve hosted a couple of read-alongs here on my blog but they were both done kind of short notice because I had an interest and simply decided to put it out there. 🙂 I have been already thinking ahead for 2021 and have been planning a handful of book clubs. A traditional book club format is a little different than a read-along format. With the book club format, you have a time frame to read a book and then get together to discuss it at the end of that time frame. A read-along format has a schedule of what to read each week and you discuss the book as you go. I’ve chosen the book club format for these three novels and will explain how that will work in an upcoming post. 🙂

2020 was a hard year. And we are still dealing with the pandemic as we’ve started 2021. Reading can be a great comfort when times are tough. When we read, we can escape to other places and times and also the lives of the characters. For the first book club title, I thought it would be great to choose a book that has lots of atmosphere and can easily whisk the reader away to another place and other people’s lives. That book is The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim and I’ll be hosting the book club for this title in April.

In The Enchanted April, four women agree to share the expenses of renting an Italian villa for the month of April. Each of these women are having their own troubles at home and are anxious to get away. In the beginning, they don’t know each other; but by the end they’ve become good friends. This story takes a look at their lives and how this holiday helps them learn more about themselves, helps them grow personally, and helps them each find needed healing in their lives. It’s easy to be swept away to Italy in this novel; especially in the movie also, which gives you all the beautiful scenery on screen. It’s a perfect read for April; not just because of the title and that it takes place in April, but also because in nature April is a time of renewal and restoration in the beauty of spring. And like the renewal and restoration in nature during spring, the characters in this classic novel also find their own lives being renewed and restored.

During the summer, I thought it might be nice to read a non-fiction title that’s all about the power of books and reading. So in July, the book club title is The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma. I love this book and have read it a couple of times now! This book illustrates the power of reading aloud and the power of books in general. You’ll find yourself drawn into the author’s world; sometimes you’ll be laughing …and sometimes you’ll be in tears. I think it is the perfect pick for summer time!

And finally, for a classic gothic pick for September and October, we’ll read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I’ve talked in the past of my complicated relationship with Dickens’ works. Ha! It took me a bit to determine if I actually liked his works initially. But I’ve decided I do like his writing style overall. A Tale of Two Cities is my least favorite of all the ones I’ve read; Great Expectations is my favorite. In Great Expectations, I feel like the reader is grabbed from the very beginning in the very first chapter. From there, an intricate plot unfolds with some unexpected twists and turns. I am looking forward to reading this novel again and to read it with you all! Reading it over the course of September and October means we can read a chapter a day if you like that pace.

2021 Read-Alongs Here at The Simply Blog

April – The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim

July – The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma

September & October – Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Interested in joining me in reading these three great books this year? I’d love to have you join in! Make sure you subscribe to my blog here so you won’t miss any posts for the book clubs this year. And I’m also on Instagram now so you can check that out in my sidebar and keep updated there as well. 🙂 Speaking of Instagram, I’ve posted a few pictures of my 2020 reading journal there if you want to check that out. I am still hoping to do a reading journal post here on the blog soon as well. 🙂

And due to a library book coming in and a couple of other titles I need to read, I haven’t been able to start Anna Karenina yet. I plan to start reading it in the next few days hopefully. So if anyone is inclined to tackle this Russian classic with me, let me know in the comments. I’d love to read it with other people!

What a Year It’s Been! Plus Anyone Up for Reading Anna Karenina?

2020 has been quite a year, hasn’t it? I think most people are ready to say goodbye to it and welcome in a new year. It’s not been easy. That’s for sure. My own family was quarantined and wasn’t able to spend Christmas with our family. My husband got covid somehow and ended up in the ER twice in a week because of it. Thankfully, he is on the mend and is doing much better. I, myself, exhibited mild symptoms; but I’m doing okay. So our Christmas shaped up to be nothing at all like we expected.

But you know, despite it all, we still have so much to be thankful for. I’m thankful for waking up on Christmas Day with snow on the ground outside. We got to have a white Christmas this year! The first in many years.

I’m thankful for friends who offered to bring us home-cooked meals on days when I just didn’t feel up to cooking. They were able to drop it off outside with no contact. I simply went out and got it after they left. It was so nice to have some healthy home cooked food when I didn’t feel up to making dinner.

I’m thankful for books and the reading community. First, books. Ernest Hemingway said, “There is no friend as loyal as a book.” Books are my friends (and yes, in case you are wondering, I do have people friends too. LOL). During our time of quarantine, I had a few days where my concentration wasn’t the best because I didn’t feel the best. But it didn’t take long before I was right back at it with reading. I dove into a YA fantasy book that proved to be interesting and a little bit odd.

I also love my reading journal. On those days when I couldn’t concentrate well, I worked on wrapping up my 2020 reading journal and started prepping my 2021 reading journal. There should be a post up and coming soon on that. 🙂

Second, the reading community. I love having people to talk to about books. I’m a reader, we know that. And I’m going to read whether I have someone to talk to about books or not. But I love it when I can chat about books. And I love to read in community. My love of reading with other people is why I often want to join in lots of read-alongs and book clubs. And often I can be a bit over ambitious in those endeavors. LOL

And speaking of reading in community, anyone up for reading Anna Karenina by Tolstoy? I hear it is a good pick for winter time so I’m planning to give it a go in January. I’d love to read it with others though! Anyone interested? Let me know in the comments.

Do you have any reading plans lined up for 2021?