Denise Kiernan Event!

Remember when we read Denise Kiernan’s The Girls of Atomic City?  If you enjoyed our discussion, I know you’ll be excited to hear about the upcoming discussion featuring Denise Kiernan herself! She’ll be speaking across the country throughout the year and coming to visit us here in Virginia in the next few weeks! A full range of dates and locations are available at her website, but here are the highlights for The Home Book Club members living in Virginia.

March 13th: 7:30 PM at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA

March 21st: 2:00 PM at the New Dominion Bookshop in Charlottesville, VA

March 22nd: 2:00 PM at the Omni Hotel in Charlottesville, VA

See the book club discussion Part I, Part II, and Part III.

Building a Community

Are you interested in giving back to your community? Can you use your love of language and communication to help others enrich their lives and learning? If this sounds like you, consider volunteering at your local library, leading an English as a Second Language (ESL)  group or tutoring session. If you’re in the Northern Virginia area, there’s a great opportunity right in your backyard! Every branch of the Loudoun County Public Library hosts ESL Conversation groups as well as pairs talented volunteers with interested students for one-on-one tutoring.


The Gum Springs location is looking for volunteers to work as tutors and group leaders. Contact them via email or by phone. What a great opportunity to share your passion for reading with others! Plus, their new facility is beautiful. Help them celebrate their first “birthday” by contributing your time and talent to their wonderful program.


Visit the Loudoun County Public Library website for more information and to find out how you can volunteer.

The Home Book Club has some exciting new projects coming up. Everything is still in development but it will be here soon, I promise! Here’s a hint: it’s related to this post and will offer a ton of opportunities for everyone to keep loving literature and learning new things!

Calling All Book Clubs!

The Home Book Club needs a recommendation! Where do you find your next book club selection? We here at The Home Book Club love Goodreads. Head on over to search by genre, read reviews, and even write some!


We also love to get recommendations from readers. Comment on this post with your favorite book and why you think it would be a great choice for The Home Book Club’s next discussion. Contest ends at midnight EST on February 28, 2014. Comment below to enter now!

Small Business Saturday

In all of your hustle and bustle this Black Friday, why not save a few of those errands for tomorrow? And support local businesses in the process!


Here are some of our favorites from the various places that we read:

Second Chapter Books, Middleburg, VA: This quaint bookstore, run by two of the nicest ladies you could meet, is set in rural Middleburg, VA, a small town bursting full of great restaurants, boutiques, wineries, and even some polo. It is well worth the scenic drive out from the more populated areas of Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. Check them out on Facebook to keep up to date with new events.

The Town Book Store, Westfield, NJ: Open since 1934, this store has every book that you’re looking for and a few you didn’t even know you needed! Visit them for personal recommendations, staff favorites, and to see the original ledger, dated September 1934 for a piece of literature history. This is the place to go for what they call “good, old-fashioned book selling.”

Main Street Books, St. Charles, MO: Located on historic Main Street amidst charming antique stores, old-fashioned ice cream parlors, and sophisticated restaurants, this bookstore is sure to please literature and history buffs alike. They specialize in local history, Western history (to include Civil War and Lewis & Clark), and Children’s books but have something to discover for every reader. The owners are published authors themselves, so stop by to talk lit with them. Make sure to stop by over the holiday season to engage in some old fashioned carols and chestnuts roasted on an open fire!

Bookends, Kailua, HI: Get lost among piles of new and used books at this lit-lover’s tropical paradise. If you’re searching for an out-of-print book, this is the place to go. Feel free to get lost rummaging through the endless stacks of books or ask the friendly staff where your query might be. They always know!

Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse, Santa Fe, NM: The oldest independently-owned bookstore in Santa Fe, Collected Works serves up an extensive selection of literature alongside a fantastic cup of organic, locally-roasted Aroma Coffee. Bonus: they offer 20% off all coffeehouse purchases between 8:00 and 9:00 am!

Can’t get to the store? It’s okay! The Town Book Store, Main Street Books, and Collected Works ship all over the country. Or check out your local bookstore to support your local community! Where are you planning to shop on Small Business Saturday?

Dinner Party: Thanksgiving Edition

Put down that tinsel! Get those ornaments back into the garage! For the love of Pete, take off that red, blinking reindeer nose!!! Don’t forget about Thanksgiving!

I love getting into the holiday spirit as much as anyone but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. If you haven’t picked up your Halloween costume from the dry cleaners yet, you are NOT allowed to start talking about Christmas. Let’s take a minute and remember the “forgotten” holiday, Thanksgiving. A time to spend with family or friends, reminiscing about the past year and express your gratitude for those people that have made it so memorable. If you had to face tough times in 2013- and in some way or another, we all did- be grateful for the people that helped you shoulder those burdens and tell them.


“Freedom From Want” – Norman Rockwell

Before you rush out for presents, Black Friday sales, or to go Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving (yes- some stores are skipping Turkey day altogether), take some time to share a meal and conversation with the important people in your life.

Dinner Party: Thanksgiving Edition

– If you could invite one person to Thanksgiving dinner, who would it be and why? It can be a real or fictional person, living or dead. You can invite them for any reason- their interesting experiences, unique perspective, or just because they would laugh at all of Uncle Herman’s cheesy jokes.

– If you had to put one object from the past year into a time capsule, what would it be?

– What goals have you reached this year? What goals would you like to reach next year?

And don’t forget to always end with a “thank you,” whether it’s for the person that helped you reach a goal, experience something new, or made their world-famous green bean casserole because they know how much you like it.

How do you express gratitude in your family? Do you have any unique traditions?


National Book Festival 2013

In spite of a somewhat drizzly Saturday, the National Book Festival, held September 21st and 22nd on the National Mall, attracted crowds of adults, families, and even a few pets. The DC Metro was packed with people going to the festival—mothers with daughters, young couples on first dates, even out-of-town festival-goers that needed help navigating the lines. The day featured authors from all genres talking to readers about what motivates them, the future that they envision for their favorite characters, and even a few readings.

My favorite discussion was given by Brad Meltzer, a  literary jack-of-all-trades. He’s written fiction, non-fiction, comic books, children’s books, and even hosted History Channel’s Decoded. His latest book, The Fifth Assassin, was the focus of much of his discussion, but Brad didn’t stop there. He spoke about why he thought the National Book Festival was so popular among authors (hint- it involves the White House breakfast for participating authors and their chance to take home some “complimentary” napkins), his favorite DC area museum which started the train of thought that led to The Fifth Assassin, and his upcoming projects. He did it all with a satirical sense of humor that made his words resonate with the entire audience. His latest project is a series of Children’s books that tell the true stories of real heroes (think Amelia Earhart and Abraham Lincoln) as children. Check it out over on his blog. He concluded the discussion in the most admirable fashion, speaking humbly about his opportunity to travel around the world with the USO. Follow Brad Meltzer’s lead and donate your time or treasure to the USO. Check out the USO’s site for more information.

After getting to hear from some beloved authors, we went over to the Pavilion of the States. Here, each state had a booth set up to show off the best of the book world from their region. In honor of the book club, I visited Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Virginia, and Hawaii. The gal at the Kentucky booth was so friendly, I couldn’t turn down a stamp from her. I’m not complaining; more book recommendations for me!

My Book Map!

I saw a booth set up where people could post answers to that all important question: what is a book? I saw pictures, things written foreign languages, and dictionary definitions. Many people wrote about how a book takes them “to a different world” or is a “time machine.” I thought that, as with most things, the best answer was the simplest one: “Magic!”

The best (and most challenging) part about the Pavilion of the States was how many people were there. How great to see so many readers get excited over book lists! Everyone I saw had a stack of pamphlets in their hand and a giant grin on their face.

Before leaving, we walked by the Capitol Building and the Library of Congress.

What a great day in the city! Did anyone else check out the National Book Festival? Or maybe you hosted one of your own in your home town. How do you “celebrate the book?”

National Book Festival 2013

Washingtonians have a wonderful opportunity this weekend to “celebrate the book” at the 2013 National Book Festival, sponsored by the Library of Congress and chaired by President and Mrs. Obama.

Where: National Mall
When: Saturday, September 21     10 am – 5: 30 pm
                   Sunday, September 22         noon – 5:30 pm        

Over 100 authors are slated to attend and will be available to sign books, talk shop, and share their love of literature with other readers. The Library of Congress will also be giving a “behind-the-scenes look” at one of the most intriguing public lending libraries in the United States and what they have to offer us, the reader. Kids will love the Pavilion of the States, where they can collect stickers and stamps from each “state.”

(If you’re a teacher, parent, or scoutmaster, check out the special Kids & Teachers page. Print out the Teacher’s Guide or pick one up at the festival to make the most of the day for your group. You can even print out a How-to guide and host your very own Book Festival in your home or classroom!)

Click here for more information as well as a full schedule of events and authors. Not in the DC area? Click here for a list of literary festivals in your area!

See you on the National Mall on Saturday!