Once Upon a Holiday SpotlightSharon Lucas, the President of the Reading Divas Book Club of the DMV, is a lifelong reader and a dedicated supporter of African American authors and literature. Like most people, Sharon procrastinated about joining or starting a book club – but the club she founded, the Reading Divas, just celebrated their 14th year. For the last five years the Divas, have introduced a variety of established and new authors to a growing group of avid readers as they host their annual literary event.
Reading Divas Book Club of the DMV
Reading Divas Book Club of the DMV
Q: Give us the history of your organization. How many members do you have?
In August 1998, Sharon Lucas – a wife and mother who worked fulltime - founded The Reading Divas Book Club. Sharon loved to read but she was felt that she had no time for herself. So she invited several women to start a book club – their motto “a little time for me”. We currently have 14 members. We’ve never elected officers but Sharon serves as President and Brenda Hart as Treasurer. The members all live in the Washington, DC/Maryland area.
Q: What is the purpose of your organization? Do you host events during the year or provide services for the community?
The purpose of our organization is to provide an oasis once a month for members to share a good read and a bottle of wine, relax, and enjoy the sisterhood. In 2008, to celebrate our 10th Anniversary we began hosting a Literary Brunch each year; in 2012, we expanded to a weekend format. Our format has been to bring in a celebrated author as our keynote speaker and introduce other authors to our audience through an “Author Expo”.
Our speakers have included Mary Monroe, Virginia Deberry & Donna Grant, Daniel Black, Bernice McFadden and Pamela Samuels-Young. To contribute to our community, during our event this year, we will make a donation to “All Shades of Pink” a local organization, which provides programs and services to breast cancer patients.
Q: What legacy will your club leave for those watching in the community?
Through our annual literary event and our support of local authors and book clubs, the legacy we hope to leave is that of a well-organized group of African American women who loved to read and who supported reading and African American authors.
Q: Are you satisfied with the legacy black books will leave our future generations? Do you think the writings of today’s authors are leaving the same legacy as authors from other generations? If so, who?
Speaking for myself, Sharon Lucas, and not necessarily for all members of The Reading Divas: I am disturbed that so many people today “think” they are authors – because a lot of them aren’t; I am disturbed that so many authors think that everything they write must contain “erotica” and so-called “street language” in order to be well-received – because a lot of great books don’t contain either.
There are many “excellent authors” today– but given the number of books that are published each month – it’s hard to sift through and find them. I believe the words “great, fantastic and awesome” when describing books and authors of today are grossly overused. I would love to see the bar raised! Maybe if readers and reviewers were more honest in their reviews, there might be more of an effort on the part of real writers to work at improving their craft.
Q: Do you feel as if African Americans are represented in a good light in the novels you read?
I would rather respond to the question “Do you feel African Americans are fairly portrayed in the novels you read that are written by African American writers”? I believe there are African Americans living in every spectrum of the world today – so why are we so often seen in church, in clubs, and the projects? After all “we” are in the White House!
Q: Do you think digital books will ever replace a printed book? Does the price of ebooks play a big part in the purchase? Would you ever stop buying printed books?
I (Sharon), have personally “gotten over” the printed book and so have must members of the group. I enjoy not having to pay extra when I’m traveling to bring along 5 or 6 books, when I can have a hundred on my Kindle to choose from. I also love being able to sample a book before I buy – when buying books, I often got home or received them in the mail only to discover I had already the book.
Price doesn’t play a big part in the purchase – if the sample seems good, if the reviews are going well, and especially if it’s an author that I have read previously and enjoyed, or it’s the club’s read for the month – I just buy it!
Representing: The Reading Divas
The 2013 Black Authors & Readers Rock Weekend
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