A Note From Celeste



Our First Survey!

Thanks to those members who participated in our first group survey!  The results are in!



Most participants reported that they are enjoying The Wonderlings very much so far and that they enjoy the selected pieces.

Please feel free to email or send me a message if you have any thoughts on how the experience could be improved.

Weekly Participation:

Several members almost always participate (thank you!)  and most participate at least 25% of the time.

No one fell in between these percentages, that is, participating 50% of the time. It would be great to add some members who are willing to join in 50% (half) of the discussions to bridge the 25 per centers and the “almost always-ers”!

It would also be awesome to recruit some of our silent members to start participating in  discussions, and for our 25 per centers to consider upping their participation to 35%! We value your ideas and would love to hear more of what you think about these reads!

And as always, please feel free to invite new members to join us.


Bonus Materials:

The majority felt that the bonus materials definitely add to and enrich our discussions.


The current format of two thematically-related pieces per week, one on Monday/one on Wednesday:


The majority of active members enjoy the presentation of two thematically-related pieces per week.

This does provide a fast pace and sometimes members may not have time to read both works immediately or keep up; but the majority did NOT request to change this.

One member did feel the pace was too fast and that they would likely participate more if there were only one piece per week.

However, no respondent thought that the second piece should be moved to Thursday to give an extra day to read it.

Therefore for now we’ll continue with two related pieces per week, but a balance of shorter and longer reads will be provided so that it’s always “do-able!”

Whenever a read is quite long, it will be the only piece of the week. Novellas and plays will be given a week to two weeks to complete. We’ll also have several breaks during the year of one to two weeks.

Note: in a traditional book club featuring novels, it’s quite common to read numerous chapters or the equivalent of 50 to 100 or more pages each week.  For local community book clubs, add to that the live meetings at someone’s house or at a library and the time that involves . . .

On average in The Wonderlings (where we read shorter literature,) the total average number of pages is only around 10-20 pages per week; and often the second piece has been a poem, letter, or essay or story of 3-5 pages. It’s roughly the equivalent of reading and commenting on two Facebook articles per week.

The bonus materials are meant to be extra enrichment pieces for those who want to do further reading or bookmark them; however they are not required.

Thank you for reading and providing such wonderful ideas about the content we’ve studied, so far!


The Sunday Gazette:

The Gazette is a recap of the topic and literary works covered in the prior week.

It’s our blog, and it appears every Sunday.

For any of you who do not have time to read a piece during the week, the Sunday Gazette archives pretty much everything so you can access it down the road at a later date.

Check it out when you have a few moments! It neatly summarizes our syllabus and there are often new bonus materials.

For example, when the club studied “The Way to Rainy Mountain” by N. Scott Momaday, the Gazette featured some of Momaday’s beautiful artwork as well as a video on the importance of dance in the Kiowa tribal tradition (check it out here.)

(By the way, you are reading this post on our Gazette! Just go to the Home page, and start scrolling!)

You’ll also find the author interviews we did with the authors Michael Engelhard and Lee Jackson, with a transcript of reader questions and author responses, as well as neat links to websites of interest.  Check it out and feel free to give them a like!

james baldwinmic

The author James Baldwin contributing to a conversation. Baldwin was the first author studied in our group!

Reading Devices:

Most of the readers are participating on a cell phone.

Some also use a tablet and a few use a PC or laptop.

Two members also mentioned printing out stories to read. Stories will be provided in several formats so that it prints out properly for you!

I also often try to provide an audio version when I locate an excellent rendition.

It’s strongly suggested that readers try to view some websites on a laptop or PC as a cell phone will not do the graphics justice. An example of this would be the Red Cross website during our study of WWI field nurses and first person journal accounts. The website is gorgeous and deserves a wide screen experience! The Percy Fawcett Lost City of Z website is another example.

However in terms of readibility, The Wonderlings site employs one of the best clean and responsive themes available on WordPress, so that your content is readable regardless of device.  When there is an issue, the help desk is contacted to resolve the issue ASAP. If you ever have an issue with readability on your device, please let me know!


Book Purchase:

Several of you stated that you’ve purchased books as a result of our Wonderlings discussions. Several more said you might in future. This makes me happy and excited that you would enjoy the author enough to purchase their work!

Links are provided  to authors, their websites and major retailers where their works can be purchased. As well, links are often provided to official author biographers and estates so that information is as accurate and official as possible.


Future Surveys:

Thanks so much for your participation, and I look forward to the growth and development of The Wonderlings! I have a number of exciting ideas as the year progresses, which I’ll be sharing in future.  As always, I value your suggestions and constructive feedback! You are awesome! Yay, Wonderlings!

Here’s to more of this wonderful journey together in 2017!



Moderator of The Wonderlings Book Club and Facebook Reading/Discussion Group