For the Love of Reading

The Disney classic Beauty and the Beast scared me growing up, but I adored the library scenes.

You know the ones I mean? Belle greets her neighbors as the movie starts off, on her way to return a book she borrowed and finished in a day. When the bookshop owner tells her there’s nothing new, she swings from the ladder (which I always wanted to do) and grabs her favorite.

And then, to win over her heart, the Beast gives her the most beautiful ginormous library in his castle. Books line shelves all the way up to the tall ceiling, endless rows of glorious books.

I love books too.

One of the things I’ve discovered in my reading journey is that I also love talking about books. I used to bug my teammate with whatever new insights or interesting tidbits I found as I read, popping over to her room or interrupting her own reading time because I couldn’t wait to share.

In each session of Velvet Ashes Connection Groups, it’s the question I most look forward to asking my group or fellow facilitators. What are you currently reading and loving? What’s your favorite book of all time?

Stories are powerful. They can relax weary minds and bodies in the midst of the challenges of hot season or language learning or just day-to-day culture stress. Stories draw us in, teach us lessons, unite us, invite us to think in different ways. Stories bring us together.

Uniting around the power of stories and reading is why we are so excited for the new features coming in Book Club as part of the Velvet Ashes Membership Community.

If you’ve joined Book Club on the blog before, many things will feel familiar. We will read a book over the course of a month. There will be fiction and non-fiction, young adult novels and memoirs, plays and poetry—a little something for everyone.

I think the part I’m most looking forward to is the conversation. We’ll be able to add comments and chat back and forth as we read throughout the month (with spoiler warnings of course). Then at the end of the month we will hop on a video call to talk in real time. When possible, we will be able to hear interviews with the author or another subject expert to enhance the reading experience.

There will be prompts to help you process what you are reading, and suggested resources or other books you might enjoy. You’ll be able to ask fellow readers for book recommendations, advice on tracking what you’ve read or how to get books easily overseas, and other questions your reading heart desires to know.

Sometimes the book will go along with our overall theme at Velvet Ashes that month, and sometimes we will read something just because we can (insert a wink emoji). Book Club members will get to speak into future books too!

This membership site is becoming a gift I didn’t even know my own heart needed. I think it will be that for you too. Whether you join just for the Book Club experience, or take in all the goodness throughout the site, the Velvet Ashes membership community can be the home for your global heart.

Is there a feature you would love to see as part of the Book Club on our membership site? Let us know! What is your favorite part of reading in community?

Photo by AllGo on Unsplash


  1. Rachel Kahindi December 28, 2021

    I love reading in community! My favorite is when people share their personal insights – things they’ve noticed in the book that I didn’t or maybe they’ve been to the place where the story is set or questions they ask that I never thought of. I also love getting book suggestions from other readers. There are so many books out there, it helps to have suggestions of good books from people I trust.

    1. Sarah Hilkemann December 29, 2021

      I love book recommendations from friends! There’s just not enough time to read everything I want to read. 😉

  2. Phyllis December 29, 2021

    Yes, talking about books is the best! I also love when I find someone else who likes the same kinds of books as I do. That moment of “you too?!” is just wonderful!

    Will there still be book club out here, outside of the pay wall?

    1. Sarah Hilkemann December 29, 2021

      Phyllis, we’ll let everyone know the book we are reading across social media, etc,. but all the conversation and extras with authors and the monthly Zoom chat will be part of the membership site.

  3. Bayta Schwarz December 29, 2021

    One thing I’ve always really enjoyed about book clubs (whether in person or virtual) is being prompted to engage with books I might otherwise never have picked up.

    1. Sarah Hilkemann December 30, 2021

      That’s very true, Bayta! I love being stretched in what I read. 🙂

  4. JoyH December 29, 2021

    Yeah, I feel it is rare to meet people who enjoy similar books, but when I do, it is a delight. And, after reading a good book, it is so nice to hear other’s opinions.

    I will miss not joining in, because as an introvert, I don’t see myself being apart of live chats.

    And, while I enjoy some of the articles, and they seem more helpful to new ladies.

    1. Sarah Hilkemann December 30, 2021

      I get that, Joy! I’m introverted too. 🙂 There will be other ways to engage with the book in the membership site other than the Zoom call at the end. The author interview or subject matter interview will be recorded and available whenever it works to watch them. Also there will be a comment/text chat section so we can visit about the book that way too! 🙂 It’s a new venture and there might be adjustments as we figure out what works for us.

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