Go on Girl Book Club (GOG) is the largest African-American women's book club in the country, boasting over 300 members. Our tagline is Celebrating the Legacy of Black Literature. We currently have 32 chapters in 13 U.S. states (Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, DC and Washington). Founded in New York in 1991, members meet in their homes in their respective cities to discuss the club's reading selection of the month. Our members range in age from twentysomething to sixtyplus and they have varied professional backgrounds and personal interests. Individual member dues are $50 per member per year.
2. Why did you decide to start a book club?
I started the IL#1 chapter in April 1996 after reading a 1995 September Essence article about the founders. I have had a strong passion for reading since childhood and immediately inquired about how to start my own chapter.
3. What is a unique feature to your book club?
Well we have many unique features, I have listed a few of them:
One unique feature is our Annual Award Weekend that we host in a different state every year, inviting all GOG members and guests. At our Annual Award Weekend, we honor and award Authors from our reading list. Authors, Gloria Naylor, Bebe Moore Campbell, Jill Nelson and Pearl Cleage have all come in person to receive their GOG Award.
Another unique feature is that each of the chapters fill out a book questionnaire and then it's feedback is compiled and shared with the Author and publisher.
Yet another unique feature occurred in Chicago for the year 2000 Millennium. The IL#1 chapter hosted the Annual Award Weekend and sponsored an old fashioned quilting bee. Chicago charged the entire organization to work on their individual squares for their chapters during the year, which culminated into a keepsake that celebrates each chapter. We prominently feature our quilt at each Annual Award and other GOG sponsored events and as new chapters come on board they are welcome to add their square.
4. What type of books (i.e., genre) do you prefer?
Although GOG annually reads 11 genres a year, I personally love Mysteries, Short Stories, Autobiography/Biography and the New Author genre.
5. What is the last book your group read?
In July 2010, we read Blonde Roots by Bernadine Evaristo.
In August 2010, we will read The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi Durrow.
6. How do you select your featured books?
GOG reads authors of the Black African Diaspora. Our book selection process has transformed many times and currently GOG's reading list is created twice a year by a Reading Committee of 24 members from amongst our vast membership. The Reading Committee choose works in the following genres: Science-fiction, Biography/Autobiography, Mystery/Suspense, New Author, Novel, Historical, Anthology, Classic, Social Commentary, Short Stories and International Author.
7. Are you open to new members?
Yes our chapter, IL#1, is open for new members. Our chapter, IL#1, requires a 3-month meeting process to get to know the potential member before joining and then we have a chapter vote on potential members. GOG policy is that we limit each chapter to 12 members to keep meetings intimate and manageable. There is no limit, however, to the number of chapters that can exist in a given city (thus we name/number our chapters, NY#1, NY#2, NY#3, etc.).
8. How can potential members join your book club?
Please contact me, Linda Davis, IL#1 Facilitator, for more information about joining the IL#1 chapter. My email is ldmjamaica(at)sbcglobal(dot)net. If you are looking to join GOG in other states, please email membership(at)goongirl(dot)org for more information on how to join.
Linda D. Davis
Go on Girl! Book Club, Inc.