Closeup: Putting Oakville, Ontario on the Reading Map

in Girly Book Club by

The vision of Oakville, Ontario, according to its website, is to be “the most livable town in Canada.” If Karina Kaushal and Soni Sharma have their way, it might be the most well-read town in Canada.

That’s because they are hosts of the Oakville chapter of the Girly Book Club. Karina, a Senior Business Analyst in the Ministry of Transportation, is working to publish a novel inspired by real-life experience meeting bachelors for an arranged marriage. Soni is a Chartered Accountant specializing in corporate tax. We had the chance to ask them a bit about the Oakville chapter.

What is your favorite part of the Girly Book Club?

Karina: I love meeting new people with the same love of reading and having an escape from the monotonous cook-clean-work that I’m so consumed with.

Soni: I love reading! I have tried to start book clubs with friends in the past, but it’s hard to find people who are really committed. With the Girly Book Club, I meet fellow ladies who love reading as much as I do and are able to find time, despite their busy schedules, to read and meet each month.

What books have caused the most heated discussions?

Karina: Homegoing (Vintage) by Yaa Gyasi made for a good discussion in our group. There were so many characters, so many experiences, so many viewpoints. We could’ve talked forever.

Soni: Pachinko  (Grand Central Publishing) by Min Jin Lee was a good one. There was so much going on in the book that everyone had something to say.

How would you describe your chapter – personalities, people, professions, and common threads?

Karina: We’re all ambitious, career-oriented women from varying professional backgrounds. Reading brings us together, which is cool because we do such different things in our lives. We’d probably never have met otherwise. Everybody is so accepting and happy to be present. I brought my son to the meetings a few times when he was still brand new. Everyone welcomed him, and I was happy to be able to still attend.

Soni: We’re all different, but that’s what makes it so great. Being from different backgrounds, careers, etc. makes for some interesting discussions because of the varied experiences we’ve all had in our lives. I actually use that to facilitate discussion sometimes. When we are talking about children from the books for example, we could have a teacher, a nanny, a mom, a woman without children, who all have different perspectives.

How many books do you read a year?

Karina: I read three or four books a month now. So at least 36.

Soni: My Goodreads challenge for this year is 30 books. I think I may beat it!

Do the friendships made through the chapter extend beyond the monthly meetings?

Karina: For sure. We are all connected outside the book club. Even Soni and I, old friends who hadn’t seen each other in years, have strengthened our relationship.

Soni: We recently started a Facebook group to facilitate that. It’s nice to be able to keep in touch outside of the monthly meetings.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be?

Soni: Maybe Rebecca Bloomwood from the Shopaholic series. She’s not great with money, but otherwise she’s pretty fun.

Karina: Elizabeth Gilbert isn’t fictional, but I would totally love to be her in Eat Pray Love. That book inspired me so much to travel in order to better acquaint with myself. I would go exactly where she went – Italy, India and Bali – for the same amount of time. If I had to pick a fictional character, I’d probably go with Fliss from The Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella. She had some hilariously creative ways of manipulating situations to her favor. I literally laughed out loud.

Any last words for people considering joining your book club?

Karina: Book clubs are great. It increased the momentum of my writing, my friendships, social outings. Book clubs make your life better. Definitely join one if you can.

Soni: Just do it! We’ve got a great group of women who always bring great insights to every book we read. And don’t worry, we don’t take the meetings too seriously. It’s ok if you haven’t finished the book; whether you didn’t have time, or just didn’t like it. It’s also ok if you just want to join us once in a while. I promise you won’t regret it.

Interested in joining a Girly Book Club chapter in your neighborhood? Visit https://girlybookclub.com for everything you need to know!

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