Book club gathering offers window to author’s world
By Jane Donahue For The Sun December 27, 2012 4:44PM
Karen Wojcik Berner’s novel, “A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles: Book One)” is available in paperback at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Books-A-Million, and Powell’s, and in e-versions at amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound and Kobo.
read the books
Karen Wojcik Berner’s novels, “A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles: Book One)” and “Until My Soul Gets It Right (The Bibliophiles: Book Two),” are available in paperback at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Books-A-Million, and Powell’s, and in e-versions at amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound and Kobo. To learn more, visit www.karenberner.com
Updated: January 31, 2013 6:35AM
While book club meetings take place in cities and neighborhoods around the globe, few can match a recent literary gathering of the Buttonwood Book Club. Members met at the Naperville home of Karen Thomas, who not only chose “A Whisper to a Scream (The Bibliophiles: Book One),” written by local author Karen Wojcik Berner, but she invited the author to attend.
“When it was my turn to host, I recommended her book,” said Thomas, 54. “The book club was very excited about her visit. How often do you get to pick the author’s brain and learn about how she chose the story, how she wrote the book and developed the characters? She is a local celebrity.”
Founded in May, the 13-member club, named for the Buttonwood subdivision in Naperville, meets monthly. Members take turns hosting and choosing a book to discuss — they are on their sixth book. Thomas said it’s as much about reading as it is about fellowship.
“I have never been in a book club (before) but thought it would be interesting to read books I may have not chosen for myself,” she said. “I also enjoy the social aspect of the club, visiting with neighbors, some of which are new friends and some old friends.”
The author falls into the “old friend” category. Since meeting at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church more than a decade ago, the Thomas and Berner families forged a friendship they continue to enjoy today.
“Karen is charming and funny and always so positive and fun to hang out with,” Thomas said. “I knew they (club members) would love her and enjoy hearing about her writing process, and all that she has done to get her book published.”
“A Whisper to a Scream” is a labor of love for Berner, who spent a decade writing it. It is the first in a series of six books that follow the lives of members of a book club. Naperville serves as the backdrop for the fictional series, where characters visit locations such as the Riverwalk, Washington Street, bookstores and “a coffeehouse that seems suspiciously like Starbucks.”
The author said being the guest of honor at a book club meeting — that focused on her book — was both “wonderful” and “a little nerve-wracking.”
“I couldn’t wait to hear what the members had to say,” said Berner, a resident of Naperville for 16 years. “But, there is always that little part of you that wonders what have I gotten myself into?”
After the evening get-together, Berner was pleased to report the angst was unnecessary, and the club members “couldn’t have been nicer.”
“Readers have their own interpretations of your work — based on their own personal experiences — so it’s fascinating to hear all of the different opinions,” the author said.
Thomas said the club’s reaction to the book and the author was great, but it might pose a problem for future meetings.
“I don’t know how we are going to top this,” Thomas said.
Their next book is “Nature Girl,” by Carl Hiaasen.