Created to connect military spouses and offer a fun, safe place, the Canadian Military Spouses Book Club has welcomed over 350 members since December 2019.
Co-founders Christine Crowe and Leach Carberry decided to launch a book club together while their spouses were on course.
“I wanted to provide an accessible and inclusive online community for military spouses. I had heard of other online book clubs, but not one specifically for Canadian military spouses,” says Crowe.
All Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) spouses, girlfriends, and boyfriends are welcome.
“Whether the CAF member is active or retired, it makes no difference to us, we are happy to have you joining us,” Crowe added.
One member of the book club, Lisa, says, “A great friend told me about this book club, and I had the honour of joining a few months prior to COVID. Since I joined, my husband medically released, and I have felt a little disconnected from my usual military spouse connections, but the wonderful admins always ensure that I feel welcome and involved. I love the questions and discussions that we engage in and the time and consideration that is spent responding and connecting to each member. I hope to keep my military connection through the club because it is a hard family to let go of.”
Four military spouses run the book club through a private Facebook group titled Canadian Military Spouses Book Club. The initial co-founders, Crowe and Carberry, have since welcomed Debbie Knechtel and Alayna Nael.
Crowe says the club has been rewarding as it brings military spouses together and serves as a reprieve as each member bonds over the love of a new book each month.
“The administrative team has found a real love for running this club. Each administrator brings something unique to the group. As a team, we love being able to facilitate a social group with spouses who understand the unique challenges we face as military spouses,” she says.
They have received nothing but positive feedback since starting the book club.
During various days throughout the month, they promote active discussion, member engagement, and fostering community. They post a calendar at the beginning of each month to inform members of the program for that month.
“We are an inclusive group always looking to welcome new members, suggestions & feedback. We pride ourselves on providing a safe and fun space for members to reach out if needed, and to also share in a laugh or two! We are here to support you, cheer you on, and engage in meaningful conversation with you about the monthly book and beyond.” Co-founders Christine Crowe
Every Tuesday, they have a “Book Talk Tuesday,” where a few questions about the current book are posted, and the questions get more specific as the month goes on.
The club also has icebreakers every month to welcome new members and get to know current members better.
At the end of the month, one of their administrators hosts a Facebook Live, where they have lots of questions surrounding different themes regarding the book.
Books are chosen monthly through a poll in the Facebook group.
Crowe says, “We vote for books one month prior. This allows members the opportunity to get their book on time. We are always asking our members for book and author suggestions to increase the diversity of genres and to cater to as many interests as possible.”
The book for September is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.
The club has also read: The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan, Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, Woman on the Edge by Samantha M. Bailey, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and Stealing Home by Sherryl Woods.
This club helps people grow as a reader and also expands their social circle, says Crowe.
She continued, “We are an inclusive group always looking to welcome new members, suggestions & feedback. We pride ourselves on providing a safe and fun space for members to reach out if needed, and to also share in a laugh or two! We are here to support you, cheer you on, and engage in meaningful conversation with you about the monthly book and beyond.”