When Covid-19 isolated us at home in March 2020, some of us worried about how to continue community. I thrive on connection. On Facebook I read that a friend in Delhi was starting an online book club. The time didn’t work for us here in the Bay Area, so I thought we’d start our own. A post on Facebook showed that a number of people interested, most local but when we got going we’ve had members living in D.C. and Thailand.
Our ambition to discuss books, novellas mainly, didn’t pan out. Too short a time to read a book a week. And we wanted to keep a weekly schedule. We went over to short stories, and sometimes, novel excerpts. We rotate choices among our attendees – there’s a range of taste there – and we’ve read mystery and noir, science/speculative fiction, re-imagined folk and fairy tales, and lots of ‘literary fiction.’ We prefer texts available online and sometimes people share scanned stories. We’re grateful to all the magazines and sites out there that generously publish short fiction.
Our stories have spanned the globe and have included many translations from languages around the world.
Some of us are writers and have many writer friends; we’ve read some stories from our friends and people we’ve known. We’ve kept away from reading stories any of us have penned.
Our members have enjoyed most of the stories, though not every single one. Our discussions have always been energetic and often set off additional explorations into authors, other writing by them, different topics and subjects. It is so enriching to see such a range of writing and the brilliance of so many writers.
In 2022, we’ve read 73 stories, 62 writers, 9 in translation. Writers from India, Pakistan, Nigeria, U.S., U.K, Ukraine, China, Germany, Russia, Ecuador, Ireland, Egypt, Japan, Australia, Kenya.
In 2021, 81 stories, including many translations, including from Chinese, Japanese, Marathi, Russian, Spanish, French, German, Hebrew.
In 2020, we read 58 stories.
In separate posts, I will share lists of all the stories we’ve read each year.