Mail Order Book Clubs: Are They Still Out There?


Love the late afternoon sun shining through the plants on the porch. I managed to make my way out of my chair to take this picture yesterday afternoon. I’m having a hard time, my friends. Riley can barely walk, which means I have to lift him all the time – all 60 pounds of him. Even though my back went out yesterday, I still have to tend to Riley because Don is away. I’m in pain, Riley’s in pain; it’s not a pretty picture here at MHC. Scout, as evidenced by the brief video I posted yesterday and which is now deleted because my blog disappeared for an hour this morning and I’m deleting anything questionable!!!, is back to her feisty, funny self.

Whatever your own particular method of meditation or prayer, will you send some thoughts our way? I so want Riley to improve a bit, as he has drastically worsened ever since Monday, when I had to be away for several hours. I need healing so that I can take care of him. I’d so appreciate a shot of your positive energy sent across the miles to our little cottage.

And now, on to another topic. Remember this book that I found on Monday in that marvelous used book shop? I’ve always loved mysteries and in my early teenage years, Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense novels were my favorites. I read and re-read each one of them. Her heroines were British ladies who were intelligent and sexy in that understated, cool British way and they smoked because that was the accepted thing to do in those days before pesky government warnings. Stewart was a wonderful writer; snappy dialogue, beautiful and detailed descriptions of the setting, and a great plot. She’s still alive, by the way. She’ll turn 96 this year. This Rough Magic takes place on Corfu and Stewart’s vivid descriptions of the island make me want to hop on a plane and go there. Now.

On the inside of the cover: Book Club Edition. I believe my original copy was a book club edition. Do you remember book clubs? Are they still out there? I bought a lot of my books through book clubs because they were extremely affordable and I could keep up with all the newly published books out there in those days before I was able to drive to a bookstore on my own. If I had any babysitting money in my hands, it went to books and records. Certainly, this was well before the Internet made book buying fairly easy, before mega bookstores pushed out independent booksellers and well before e-readers came along. The landscape has changed dramatically. I am still a fan of the actual book; the kind you can hold in your hand, with pages you can turn and paper you can feel.

I know there were a lot of book clubs out there. Many of them were specialty book clubs – science fiction, mystery, cooking. I belonged to The Literary Guild and The Book of the Month Club. It was a big deal for a book to be chosen as the Book of the Month. Then there were Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. They were very popular, though the purist in me doesn’t like the idea of ‘condensing’ a book. If I were the author, I surely wouldn’t like it. There was a book club for every literary taste.

Here’s my question: Did you belong to a book club? Are there any more book clubs in existence? Or have they gone the way of the dinosaur?

Happy Thursday.

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  1. says

    Oooh, yes, I belonged to book clubs. Mystery. Design. Those kind of clubs. But I quit years ago because I could find the books cheaper on line that through the clubs. And then I amassed so many that I didn’t have room for them. I give them to people or the thrift stores now because it would be rare for me to reread a book. I thought Lonesome Dove was the all time American Classic book. Not a book I ever thought I’d read but it was great! I was reading it and someone told me there was a movie out about it. I had hubs go to the video store and buy it. It was six hours long! I made a pot of vegetable soup and we watch that movie the whole night. I always love the books more than the movies though.

    Sugar, you can count on me praying for you. I received a blessing from my hubs and our Home Teacher last week and it has made me feel much better. Can’t talk about the situation on blogger but surgery is scheduled for 7/10 and I can’t wait to get off these pain pills!!!

    Anyway, hope you and your babies are doing well today.


  2. says

    Querida Claudia. Aqui vão minhas melhores vibrações para que você melhore rapidamente e possa ajudar Riley a melhorar. Um grande abraço,

  3. says

    I’ll be sending healing thoughts and praying for you and Riley both Claudia. I hope you both start to feel better soon ♥ I used to belong to a book club-and they still send me emails to rejoin all the time but I have not because they are dangerous for me- I tend to spend more than I should. I am like you and love the feel of a real book in my hands. Nothing like the feel of the page and the smell of paper and ink.

  4. says

    Oh Claudia, I am so sorry to hear about your back pain, and then having to lift Riley as well. Thinking of you!!!!
    That book looks like one I would love. I know lots of people in book clubs! I am a avid reader too, and adore British authors. Have you read Shell Seekers? A fabulous book. Such wonderful visions she enables the reader to have of her native and beloved England!!!

  5. says

    Hi Claudia, I am so sorry to hear that your furbabies have been out of sorts of late. I’m glad to hear that Scout is doing better. Poor Riley! I know that as dogs get older, their hind legs start to give out and they need help getting up and down. Sometimes even standing for them can be difficult. I’m sending healing wishes for Riley and for you. I have scoliosis in my lower back so when I bend or lift too much, my back goes out so I know how you are feeling. You want to be able to do as much as you can but it’s awfully difficult when your back won’t cooperate.

    I remember your previous mean girl post and just saw the recent one. I don’t understand that type of mentality, when belittling others makes someone feel superior somehow. I am surrounded by many ladies at school who do that and I usually walk away when it is happening because it makes me feel uncomfortable and I don’t want to be around that kind of talk. I basically just stay in my office so I don’t have to be a part of it. Unfortunately, there is remodeling going on right now and when I go back to school the end of August, I will be sharing an office with one of the girls who is at the top of the gossip pole. Not looking forward to that at all. I agree with everything you said in your post. Unfortunately, the blogger and her comrades will never get that what they are doing is petty and unflattering.

    When I saw the news of the middle school boys who were bullying their bus monitor, I was appalled. My boys would never, ever do anything like that. Ever! What makes anyone think that is right? I just don’t get it at all.

    Your Sunday “snaps” were very pretty. Everything around you is blooming so beautifully. And The Book Barn looked like a wonderful place to visit. So glad you were able to stop there on your way home.

    Take care! Prayers and blessings and healing thoughts, Tammy

  6. says

    Hi. I am so sorry to hear of your continued pet and back issues, but glad to knkow that Scout is better. My husband occasionally suffers from pain from a bulged disc caused by an old work-related injury. Several years ago he learned some exercises in physical therapy to help with it, and he does a few of them each morning. The one he says helps the most is similar to the cobra pose in yoga, where you lie on the floor and raise your upper body up on your arms, so that your back is arched backward. He was cautioned to try not to just bend forward at the waist, but to make sure he bent at the knees or moved in other ways to keep from bending over forward. One funny thing he does is what is called the golfer’s move when picking up something off the floor. As he bends forward he lifts one of his legs so it sticks straight out behind him, which results in his back being kept perfectly straight even though he is leaning forward.

    Finally, we began taking tai chi classes 18 months ago, and that has really helped his back as well as contributing to our overall wellbeing.

    Perhaps there are breathing and movement exercises you have learned as an actor that could provide similar stress relief as the tai chi. (Wouldn’t it be great if your dogs could do some tai chi? Cats seem to do tai chi all the time!)

  7. says

    Oh, no, not a good time for your back to be giving you grief :(. I hope you’re somehow able to find some relief from the discomfort.

    About lifting Riley, perhaps you could use a doubled-up beach towel or sheet as a “helper”, like a sling — the midpoint of the sling could cradle Riley’s abdomen and you could hold each end of the towel/sheet in your hands, so that your arms rather than your back are getting the brunt of the weight. I read about something similar done by someone when their Great Dane’s hips began to fail.

    I used to love book clubs! I do miss the excitement of getting a box of books in the mail, now that I mostly use my Kindle or borrow library books.

    I will be keeping you and Riley in my thoughts.


  8. says

    Years ago, I was in both a book club and a music club. I was just talking to someone about this the other day.

    Sending good thoughts your way for a speedy recovery.

  9. says

    Sending healing thoughts your way!…

    I am an avid reader, but I’m not aware of any book clubs, although that doesn’t mean they dont’ exist.

  10. says

    Claudia, Here is a book club(book seller), that has some discounts on books and here’s the best part. Shipping and handling is only 3.50,whether you order one book or a hundred.
    Edward R.Hamilton
    Bookseller Company
    P.O.Box 15
    Falls Village, Ct. 06031-0015
    If you send them your address and a request for a catalog, they will put you on their mailing list . Then you will receive catalogs every now and then. Smiles, Susie
    p.s. hope your back gets better and that poor doggie.

  11. says

    I will be praying for you to heal rapidly and Riley to improve. I know your heart is aching. There used to be book club inserts in magazines not too long ago.

  12. says

    I joined book clubs years ago, but I had three young children, and I was not vigilant about sending in the forms, so I would get two books, sent automatically, each month. Many were books I didn’t want, and it got expensive.
    I love getting used books on or Amazon. Thrift stores can have some great buys, but it takes time to go through tons of books to find one or two you want.

    Sent a prayer for healing for you and improvement in Riley’s health, so he will not be in pain.

    I spent more than a year caring for my very elderly dog. It was terribly hard on me and on the dog.
    I finally had to let her go. I had a vet come to my home, and I cradled my dog in my arms, while the vet gave her a tranquilizer and then another injection to stop her heart. It was so peaceful for her, and made a terribly sad decision less painful for me. It took away the trauma of going to the vets office, something she always hated.

    Hope you and Riley have many more good months together!

  13. says

    Sending you and Riley some healing thoughts! There are still book clubs but I buy mostly used books so don’t belong to one right now. I do love books so very much! I remember reading Mary Stewart, gosh maybe its time to read her again. Hugs, Linda

  14. says

    Ah, this post about books is dear to my heart since we owned an independent new/used bookstore for about 5 years. I see by other comments that there are still book clubs. That’s good to hear. With all the technology available today, I’m afraid for the Book. I hope they never stop printing.
    Poor Riley! It’s always a worry when your pet is suffering. My lab had surgery last week and we are waiting for the biopsy results (fingers crossed).
    Hope you feel better soon.

  15. says

    Sending prayers and positive energy to you and the doggies.
    I loved those Reader’s Digest condensed books because they could be bought for a song (okay, a dime, a quarter)at thrift stores and tag sales. Plus I thought they were attractive books, go figure.
    Just got back from a trip to the new “farm” (that’s what I’m calling the new house until we come up with an official name). Unloaded the back of my suv, which was loaded with plants and two boxes for the house; I was dripping wet. It literally dripped off the end of my nose when I bent over to water the plants; what a lovely picture I must have been. Chili roamed the property while I unloaded; he came back with his tongue hanging out. I felt like my tongue should be hanging out, too! Found fresh deer scat about 20′ from the back door; I’m soooo excited to be there in time to have coffee and watch for their visits! Got 4 famous “Parker County peaches” from our very own trees! Woohoo, I’m in paradise!!!

  16. says

    Claudia, I’m so sorry to hear Riley isn’t doing good. I know it makes your heart hurt so much. When I look at one of my older animals getting sick I just wish I could take all their pain away and make them whole again.

  17. says

    I know there are book clubs around here. They may be online as well.
    Poor Rily and poor you. I hope your back feels better. Ice and Advil always helped me. But you have to be caeful with the Advil. I would fill a large ziplock full of ice and put a towel around it and stuff it in my pants. I would wear it all day. I know they say only a few minutes.. It was what helped me get through the day. It would reduce the swelling. Yes, I went to work that way. I worked in a toddler room.
    Feel better Claudia. I will say some prayers for all of you in the cottage.

  18. says

    I don’t know if they’re still out there. But I have belonged to many. Decorating book clubs, craft ones, fiction ones, all kinds. I loved choosing 6 or however many for a dollar or so to join. Then getting that big box in the mail just made my day. As you know I tried the ebooks. Just wasn’t my thing.

  19. says

    I will keep you and Riley in my prayers. Can you set up a indoor potty place with newspapers? Pick up the rugs
    and make a vinegar water solution. Go with the flow so to speak. :) Sorry about the pun.

  20. says

    Hi Claudia,

    Lots of positive and healthy thoughts heading your way!

    I remember book clubs. I think my Nana belonged to one back in the day! I think that the Kindle and Nook are today’s book club. I still love the smell of bookstores and brand new books!

  21. says

    Yes, I belonged to book clubs. It was exciting when I joined and got five or six books for $1.00. We’ll never see those days again. I don’t know if they still exist. I looked at those blogs with the recipes. Now I’m hungry for a croissant sandwich and a jar of angel cake topped with fruit and whipped cream. I can’t tolerate diary very well but I cheat sometimes.

    Regarding your back problem, I hope it’s not anything serious. My thoughts are with you and I do pray for you, Claudia, and for your sick pets. Hope things work out soon for all you guys! I don’t envy the situation you’re in! I thought often of you today and wondered how you were and sent up little prayers. Please be careful with your back. You don’t want to disable yourself! I do hope you’re taking pain killers because you must.

  22. says

    When our furkids aren’t well, we aren’t well. Some time ago when my old dog’s back legs were giving out, I used a beach towel folded up as a sort of sling that went under his lower tummy and I used the rest of the towel to help get him on his feet him and then to help him walk. We didn’t go very fast, but we got where we were going and it was a big help to both of us. Good thoughts going your way.

  23. says

    Claudia, sending lots of prayers your way for you and for Riley. You’re both in my thoughts…

    I used to belong to the Book of the Month Club and the Mystery Book Club, but haven’t since the mid-90’s probably. I also love mysteries (how could I not, having been brought up on Nancy Drew?). My favorite is Mary Higgins Clark, but I’ve also loved reading Joy Fielding and Phyllis Whitney.

    I hope you get some relief for your back soon… Donna

  24. says

    This is off today’s topic but I just looked at a blog that had picture that was not necessary to publish. I am not sure if it was the same one you talked about yesterday but I do know I will not enter that blog again. It was rude and cruel to post a picture of someone that was not necessary to blog topic and without that person’s permission. Do some people not think about others’s feeling or do they just don’t care. What happened to “love thou neighbor as thou self!

  25. says

    Claudia I hope you and your sweet dog feel better soon. Thankfully they are happy to sit and cuddle the day away when you don’t quite feel like yourself. I have also been a huge Mary Stewart fan and just bought a new book at a second hand store. Have you read any Barbara Erskine?

  26. says

    Claudia, I am sending lots of healing vibes and prayers your way. So sorry that you are going through this.

    I used to love reading Mary Stewart’s books and had no idea she was still alive. I am going to have to search them out so I can reread them. I never belonged to a book club, but as a more than avid reader, I am at the library several times a week. There are about 10 books currently stacked on my coffee table to be read. I can never be bored when I have a good book in my hands.

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