Ladies and gentlemen,
I’d just like to say thank you from the top, middle and bottom of my heart for supporting a passion I’ve had since I was a kid, reading. I hold such a great appreciation for literature and everything it’s done to shape and mold my life and apparently yours too. Just for the record, I’ve never been a member of a book club or started one before so I thank you all for being willing to take a chance on me. When I imagined what a book club should look, sound and feel like, this is it! Special shout outs to all my friends, family and strangers that encouraged me to just do it. To Scuppernong for being such a dope space for bookworms and wine sippers. I promise not to give this speech at every meeting. Just today. If everyone could take about 20 seconds to introduce yourself to your neighbor just in case you need to borrow tissue. Thank you.
Yes. This was the actual thank you speech that I gave to members at my first ever Pretty Dope Reads Book Club Meeting held January 24, 2018 from 5-6:45 at Scuppernong Books.
Backing up a bit……
Let me reiterate that I’ve never been a member of a book club but have always wanted to. As much as I’ve read, one would assume that I would have. I’ve been presented multiple opportunities but never found my place in one. So one random day I said you know what start one……so I did.
Without a single clue I conceived and birthed Pretty Dope Reads Book Club. Of course I did a little research. Wanna know who I turned to for direction? Naturally the only black woman that I ever saw growing up with a book club. You betcha. Oprah Winfrey! There was so much groundwork that I needed to do prior to even picking the first book. I had to ask (myself) and answer (myself) real time questions like who my target audience would be, the genre of books we’d be reading, location and methods of communicating with members all before even creating discussion questions. I’m not going to pretend that it was easy figuring it all out. Not by a long stretch. I spent many days jotting down random thoughts on sticky notes and many nights with wine and notepads beside the bed just in case something came to me in a dream. It was bananas. And the day I knew I was losing it for sure was when I began asking Milo for advice.
Fast forwarding a bit.
My sights had been set on Scuppernong Books, a bookstore located in the heart of Greensboro North Carolina. The location was perfect seeing as though it was, well, a bookstore and the atmosphere was chill and suitable for reading. The owners are friendly and super accommodating, so if you’re in the area, check them out and tell them pretty Dope Reads Book Club sent ya.
Once the location was booked, I decided to promo the club just on the strength of having the location solidified. Nuts I know. But hey. I literally started from the bottom now I’m here.
The promo went well. Too well actually. I was overwhelmed with the amount of love and support I received from everyone. Not that I had any doubts but yall please understand that I often feel like I’m the only person that fully supports my work. As I should be. So I’m ALWAYS surprised. ALWAYS. As a matter of fact, I received so much support that I had to change how I wanted to put out information. I couldn’t just limit the club to Greensboro. I needed to be able to reach members across the states (and hopefully the glove one day). So I Had to create an entire online platform in addition to the local meetup. So if you’re in the local area and want to join us, we meet every 4th Saturday of the month. Locations and updates are posted in advance on our Facebook page.
Ok, so where was I?
I post a series of discussion questions, quotes, memes and polls in the weeks and days leading up the meetings. I have an itinerary and typed up additional discussion questions that are too touchy to be discussed in the online setting.
Live footage of me getting ready for the meeting.
The space in Scuppernong is perfect for discussion and for the first meeting I purchased a bottle of wine for all to sip. My local supporters shows up as promised. The biggest surprise was when my friends showed up from the DMV area and Charlotte. Talk about icing on the cake! The discussion went over so well that we even skipped the intermission that I had planned for us. It was such an honor to be able to discuss such touchy subjects in an open setting where everyone shared their thoughts, ideas and beliefs without any drama. Perfect would be an understatement.
So yeah. If you’re a bookworm like me or you simply want to connect with people that like reading and like having collective discussion without the BS, please hit the like button on our page and send me a message to be added to the private group where discussions are held. And I hope to see you soon, whether it be online or in person at the next meeting.