Book Art, in Another Form

Trading cards my colleague created for the book “Dune” — artwork by me.

Last summer, when things looked briefly like they might start getting back to normal, one of my coworkers randomly (or at least it felt a little random to me) sent a group message and asked if anyone would be interested in starting a book club.

As you may or may not know about me, I love books as much as, or maybe more than, I love art. (Probably not more than, but it’s a very close race.) I tried not to seem too eager as I replied “I would!” within seconds of reading the message. I was in a book club when I lived in Baltimore and, while they tried to include me remotely (and eventually as more of an honorary member) after I moved, I missed having a real local book club to belong to. 

Several of my other coworkers were interested as well, and thus “The Best Book Club Ever” was created. We started with the book Dune, which I’d never read. It was… okay. If not for book club, I probably wouldn’t have finished the book, to be honest, but I’m glad I did. Subsequent books have been picked by other members of the club whose names are drawn at random, and choices have ranged from literary fiction to true crime to sci-fi (kind of a lot of sci fi, actually, which I don’t mind; it seems to be a favorite genre among my fellow librarians).

What makes it the “best” book club (or at least one of the most fun) is the book-related activities that our founder creates to go along with it. The first month, he had the idea to make Dune trading cards; he asked me and a couple other colleagues to help create the art. I got to do the plants. Each book club member got an initial set of cards, and by answering trivia questions in the week leading up to the meeting (which is on Zoom, at least for now) we could win more. (We also got envelopes marked to be opened only at the meeting, which contained the materials to make sand worm sock puppets… ridiculous and lots of fun).

The second book was A Hundred Suns by Karin Tanabe, which is a relatively new book that centers on members of the Michelin family in French Indochina. For this one, my colleague decided to create a little Michelin travel guide featuring people and places discussed in the book. I created a few pieces of art for that too. (This time we won pieces of a poster for the train station in the book by answering the trivia questions). 

Artwork I painted for our “A Hundred Suns” travel guide, including a junk, henbane flowers, and trees on a rubber farm.

I haven’t been as involved in more recent projects, but my coworkers have come up with some pretty clever questions and activities for subsequent books. So far we’ve also read:
We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson
The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemison
The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, by Michael Chabon

This month we’re reading Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik (which has been one of my favorites so far); next month is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (which I actually read a few years ago), then we’ll read Midnight Assassin: A Murder in America’s Heartland by Patricia Bryan in March.

My colleague created a website for the book club if you’re interested in seeing more, here. I’ll update you if I contribute any more fun art to the cause.

Are you a book person? What are your favorite books? And what’s your favorite form to read them (physical copy, ebook, or audiobook)?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s