Sunday, December 30, 2018

How To Start A Book Club

A Reader wrote and asked how to start a book club. I thought there might well be other people who are wondering as well. So I'll paste in my response to her.

Thanks for asking about book clubs.

Although I've visited around 100 book clubs over the years, I'm not much of an expert in how to form one. What I can say is that most book clubs meet once a month. Some are very informal, where the books are mainly a reason for a social event (but what a good reason!).

Some are more formal, with organized discussion of a book. The most common approach is that each month one of the members will pick a book to be read and discussed the following month. Sometimes that person will pick a few titles and people vote on their preference. Each month, the member who chooses the book rotates.

Then everyone reads the chosen book and prepares to talk about it at the next meeting. Once in awhile - if the book is by an author who isn't too far away - the author of the book is invited.

Of course, there is always food and usually wine. Sometimes, it's potluck at a local clubhouse. Some clubs meet at restaurants.  Other clubs will rotate houses and the host provides food.

The average book club is about 8-12 people. A few are more than that, although more people makes things less organized, louder, and less suited to discussion. I've been to some clubs with only 5 or 6 members. Once in awhile several book clubs will get together at the same time to host an author at a larger venue.

Organizing a book club is as simple as inviting people to join. Often but not always, there will be some kind of general focus to the club, like mysteries or romances or literary or "anything goes." I've been to one club that chose from all genres except romances. (I suppose that was because romances are the most popular genre and the club wanted to expose readers to other genres.)

One of the obvious attractions is that in book clubs people will meet other people who are highly intelligent, educated, and interested in an intellectual world. I've been to clubs where people became best friends with each other. I've been to clubs that have been meeting continuously for over twenty years. 

Another attraction of book clubs is that they generally don't have hierarchy and officers and minutes and raffles and pledges and all the other stuff that service clubs have. Book clubs don't "come to order" and have motions etc. They are simply fun gatherings focused on books. (Please know that I very much appreciate what service clubs do. I'm just pointing out differences.)

I hope this helps.



Sunday, December 23, 2018

Tahoe Skydrop Will Be Free On Kindle For Christmas

Happy Holidays

As in years past, I'm making my latest title, Tahoe Skydrop, free on Kindle for five days beginning on Christmas.

This free promotion runs from December 25th through Dec 29th.

There's no catch. My thanks to all of you for keeping the art of reading alive (and helping authors pay their mortgages!).

Click on the book or title below for the link to the Amazon page.
Tahoe Skydrop, #16 in the Owen McKenna Tahoe mystery series.
Have a great holiday... Reading!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Tom Cruise In South Lake Tahoe

A whole lotta movies have had scenes shot in Tahoe. Long-time locals are used to seeing movie stars.

Add Tom Cruise to the list.

Cruise is finally shooting a sequel to Top Gun called Top Gun: Maverick. For that, he reportedly is doing his gig at South Shore locations including Washoe Meadows State Park, a little known park with no real access, a hideaway that South Shore locals enjoy and don't generally tell tourists about. Thus, perfect for Cruise to get some private space to film action sequences in the mountain forest. Additional reports say that military helicopters have been involved and are using the South Lake Tahoe airport as a base.

Watch for the film in June of 2020.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Robot Cars In Ski Country?

Some of you may have seen the news stories on Google's Waymo self-driving car division and the other AI (Artificial Intelligence) cars. One story in particular really brought home how amazing these cars are, and also how they still have a way to go.
A Tesla. Nice electric car that drives itself?
Cops noticed a man behind the wheel who appeared to be asleep. He was in a self-driving car, which I think was a Tesla. They tried to pull it over, but the car wouldn't stop. (Oops, the software designers hadn't yet made the car able to recognize when the cops were pulling it over.) It took several miles for four cop cars to surround the car on all sides, trapping it and forcing it to slow to a stop. At that point, they discovered that the driver was indeed asleep, drunk at the wheel, taking a nap.

The incident shows just how far self-driving cars have come.

Then came a story about Waymo, a self-driving taxi. Kind of like Uber and Lyft. Except Waymo's program has no human drivers.  It is apparently going to launch soon.

A Waymo self-driving taxi.
Like most people, I'll have to witness it to become convinced. Especially in snow country. But how nice would it be - when you are eating out and you want to have a glass of wine or two but not drive to or from in the snowstorm - and along comes a robot car with all-wheel-drive. How cool would that be?

Anyway, Wall Street analysts think that Waymo could be doing 100 billion dollars a year in business in just a few years. Whoa.  Google already controls much of the internet and our knowledge world. Soon they'll control much of what goes on along the highways.

Things have changed... 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Skiers... Just How Much Snow Has Fallen?

Have we had epic snow yet this year?
Is it looking very good for this early in the season?
Are all the lifts and runs open?
Will they be soon?

Squaw Valley

A quick check shows that Squaw has a base depth of 37 inches.
That is more than Vail or Whistler Blackcomb or... Take your pick.

Maybe it's time to book your trip to Tahoe.