The Red Couch: Introducing the SheLoves Book Club


Dec_BookClub_800A couple of weeks ago I visited a long-time friend in Seattle. Because she’s awesome, she drove me up to see friends in Surrey, BC and that is how I found myself sitting on Idelette’s famous red couch. While I could only stay less than 48 hours, it was plenty of time to catch up with friends. The red couch saw it all.

That couch has been a safe place as ideas have been birthed, tears shed, and joys celebrated. When you sit there, you know without a doubt you are loved for who you are. Fully.

Back in May, I traveled to Uganda and Burundi with some of my favorite SheLovelys- Idelette, Claire, Tina, Kelley, Fiona. In fact, wherever we went, we were known as the SheLovely ladies. I was an honorary member during the trip, in spite of never having contributed so much as a guest post. I should have known Idelette planned to get me on board in some official capacity. When she told me she wanted SheLoves to have a Book Club and asked if I’d be the editor, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

I’m an avid reader. OK, OK. I’m a book nerd and proud of it. I’ve been a part of real life book clubs and on-line book clubs. Some of my closest friendships have developed over the shared love of a book.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m pleased to introduce you to The Red Couch, our very own book club.

There’s something about reading that brings people together, as we discuss themes, process ideas, and grapple with how or whether it applies to our lives.

The Red Couch is a place for us to gather and discuss the books, ideas, and authors that matter. No, we can’t all physically show up in Idelette’s living room. But her couch can be a symbol of what we hope this book club will be.

We’ll read books that stretch us and grow us into understanding. We’ll read books that allow us to grapple with hard questions and wrestle with the realities of faith. We’ll read a variety of genres, from fiction to memoir to poetry. We’ll read books by women and global voices and those with diverse backgrounds.

We might not always come to the same conclusions. We might not always agree. I welcome differences of opinion. But let us remember this as our book club gets under way: we are with and for each other.

We’ll read for enjoyment, yes. But we’re also reading with purpose. And we’re reading with each other. I can only imagine the conversations we’ll have.


The First Quarter:

We’ll announce the books quarterly so you’ll have time to track down a copy either from a bookstore or your local library. You can either read ahead or read when the month begins. That’s up to you.

I’m so excited to tell you about our picks for the first quarter:

  • In January we’ll read Jesus Feminist by our very own Sarah Bessey. Get your copy ready!


The Logistics:

The first Wednesday of the month, I’ll introduce that month’s selection to set the tone and as a reminder of what we’re reading when.

A discussion post written by one of our fantastic Book Club writers will post the fourth Wednesday of the month.

Some months will feature a creative/reflection companion piece during the third week but I’ll let you know when that’ll be happening. Those pieces will be a way to help us apply a book’s themes more directly to our lives.

Notes on Jesus Feminist: Because New Year’s Day falls on the first Wednesday of the month (and I presume you’ll be spending time with family or taking time to nap and such), the introduction post for Jesus Feminist will be Wed., January 8. By all means, start reading now if you want. The introductory post will serve as your reminder. The discussion post will then follow on Wed., January 29.


Any questions?  Will you be joining us at The Red Couch?

Disclosure : Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site.

Leigh Kramer
Leigh Kramer is on a quest; she’s living life on purpose. Her to-do list might look something like this: leave life in the Midwest for Nashville, Tennessee, followed by San Francisco, quit steady job as a social worker to chase her dreams of writing, suck the marrow out of life’s in-between places and revel in the now at every turn. Leigh shares this journey through words of transparency, heart, and just a dash of pluck at and on Twitter at @hopefulleigh.
Leigh Kramer

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  • I’m in!!! And I LOVE the conversations (tears and all) that happen on that beloved red couch.

    • So glad you’re a part of the Red Couch team, friend! xo

  • These are exciting times!!! I love how my world is becoming so so small. You and me on the cyber red couch friend. It’s a date. Let’s do this thing! xoxo

  • Nicole Joshua

    I’m in! Given that I am taking a break from studies next year, I now hopefully have the time to do more fun reading 🙂

    • Yay, Nicole! So happy to hear this. Some day, we’ll have to visit Idelette at the same time so we can sit on the real red couch together.

  • Oh, I love Idelette’s ideas AND who she picks to head them up! Looking forward to this, Leigh!

  • Mary Champagne

    I’m in Canada and don’t really know any of you, but love SheLoves. I’d love to share reading via The Red Couch. (I cheated though, because I’ve already read Jesus Feminist…).

    • Mary, I think you’re in good Canadian company, as I believe that’s where many of the SheLoves writers hail from. Glad to hear you’ll be joining us on the Red Couch.

  • AlissaBC

    Oooo I’ve been wanting to read Behind the Beautiful Forevers for a while, so I’m definitely in for that one!

    • Glad to hear it, Alissa! I’m looking forward to reading it, too.

  • This looks wonderful, but I cannot join another book club. Already in too many!! Maybe I will jump in when I can.

    • Please do! There’s no pressure to join in every month.

  • Suzanne Terry

    Yay! So excited!

  • Sarah Caldwell

    I am über excited for this! What an incredible community with which to read and share books!! So looking forward to conversations about Jesus Feminist, and can’t wait to read Desmond Tutu’s book in February! So grateful this is happening – an online gift, indeed! 🙂

    • So glad you’re a part of this, Sarah! I’m looking forward to it.

  • Annie Kee

    This sounds great! I am excited to be a part of this.

  • Ok, I think I’m actually going to have to do this. I’ve been so leary of book clubs for fear I couldn’t keep up, for fear I would have no desire to read the books. But you make it sound so easy and the first three books sound amazing.

    So, Leigh, you have permission to pester me with this so I don’t forget 😉

    • There’s no pressure to join us every month, Bekka. But we’re hoping you will!

  • Nancy

    I’m in! I loved the Transit lounge club with Kelley. 🙂

    • Excellent! Kelley is going to be one of our wonderful Book Club writers so stay tuned.

  • Claire

    I’m SO in! I knew I wanted to read Jesus Feminist soon, how much better to read it with friends 😀

    • That’s what we think! Glad you’ll be joining us, Claire.

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  • Jennifer Cox

    Love that I found this site through Sarah Bessey’s blog! I cant’ wait to be reading with yall!

    • Looking forward to discussing with you, Jennifer!

  • There have been so many wonderful and meaningful moments of friendship and deep discussion on the red couch. I LOVE that we’re taking it virtual and inviting Lovelys around the world to come and sit with us, read together, talk together, discuss and learn together.
    Leigh, you’re awesome. Thank you for saying YES. Can’t wait … xoxo

    • Thank you for asking me, Idelette! It is such a huge honor. I’m happy that I don’t have to come all the way to Surrey to experience your magical red couch again. (Though, rest assured, I’ll be back to visit again soon.)

  • Jane Halton

    Sounds fabulous Leigh. Thanks for organizing it all. And great selections!

  • Rachel ‘Pieh’ Jones

    Sounds great, thanks Leigh.

    • Thank you, Rachel! See you on the Red Couch next month.

  • I’m here. Scoot over.

  • Juliet Birkbeck

    I’m in.Going to order Jesus Feminist now.

  • Holly

    Yes, love to join, how?

    • Simply show up for the introduction and discussion posts! You can also subscribe to She Loves or follow via Twitter and FB.

  • Robin Heim

    Will there be a list for us to sign up on, or a way to subscribe? Sounds FUN!

    • As of right now, no. You can subscribe to She Loves or follow via Twitter and FB. I’ll always announce the introduction and discussion dates on the previous post, so feel free to write those down in your planner.

  • Bev Murrill

    Is there room on that couch? I’m here!

  • abby

    Great idea!! I can’t wait! Fun!

  • Are we there yet? Are we there yet? For the love of chocolate and books, are we there yet? ‘Cause I’m there.

  • kim

    Sounds great! Count me in.

    • Yay! It makes me think of how a book first brought us together.

  • I’m so excited to re-read Jesus Feminist on the red couch with y’all! Count me in.

  • Janet Thiessen

    Just read Jesus Feminist in one day–yesterday! but it deserves a re-read in January, for sure. Count me in! Hope this community includes grandmas!!

    • Sarah’s welcoming voice makes it a hard book to put down, right? Glad you’ll be joining us, Janet. This community is for all, especially grandmas!

  • Amy Hunt

    YAY! Totally in!

    And praying to be on the Red Couch, too!

  • Sarah Silvester

    I’m in! I used to be in a book club and I miss it. An online version will be super. Thanks Leigh!

    • It’s hard to find a good book club, isn’t it? Especially when you used to be part of a good one. Glad you’ll be joining us, Sarah!

  • Yeah, I am totally in.

  • Julie Snowden

    A way to be connected with some of the SheLovely’s that I miss so dearly back home, and a chance to meet and connect with more SheLovely’s globally? Count me in!

  • I have been excited for this for so long (as you know), so I’m SO happy it has finally come to be! And great timing with Jesus Feminist, by the way, as some friends and I were about to embark on a Christian feminist book club adventure.

    There couldn’t be a better person to facilitate The Red Couch! Also, not surprisingly, I requested the 2 books I didn’t already own from the library immediately. 🙂

    • YAY! Thanks for the kind words, Christie. So happy you’re joining us.

  • Judy

    An answer to prayer, this is. January is looking better already. Thanks to everybody making it happen!

  • Rachel Snyder

    Me! I’m in! I want to do more book learnin’ this year!

  • Julie Cochrane

    Very excited about this!! That red couch looks so inviting – might have to invest in a red cushion for my couch just so I feel part of it all…

  • Kelsey Kava

    I stumbled upon this through the crazy twists and turns of the Internet, but this sounds lovely. Looking forward to connecting with and reading alongside some powerful and inspiring women!

  • PhillyTransplantAnj

    I’m in

  • Kate S.

    Am loving January’s book!

  • Hannah Sachs

    I’m most definitely in!

  • neritia

    Oh boy – I’m in!!

  • Sounds fab!

  • Karis Bryn

    I have been looking for a book club and had already purchased Jesus Feminist with the hope of reading it over Christmas. This sounds perfect!

  • Naomi Williams

    Yay I’m totally in!

  • I’m in too! I love this Leigh! Great idea SheLoves!

  • Patricia Crouch

    Came across this by happenstance and am excited about the project.

  • Karoletha

    I’m in!!

  • Cynthia Nichols Cavanaugh

    The Red Couch…perfect, I’m sitting and waiting! Already have the first book.

  • Jemelene

    May I join? I have read Jesus Feminist but I want to read it again.

  • Leigh, I am so excited for you and look forward to growing on this journey with you.

  • Dorathea Maynard

    Oh yes please. This sounds wonderful. Just the sort of thing I have been looking for.

  • biancabroos

    I love the idea. I’m in, Sarah’s book is a great start to 2014.

  • Kristin Moomaw

    Sign me up, I am in!

  • Christine Gough

    We just decided todayto start a mom’s book club/small group at our church on Sunday mornings. I was trying to decide on a book or two to recommend. I think Sarah’s would be perfect. Then we could go hear her speak in PDX in March—-eep!!!!!


    Wow – 87 (!!!!) comments! I’m a little behind on replying, but I look forward to this, and hey, just putting this out there, but Leigh, Idelette and team, if you ever need another Book Club Writer and/or SheLoves writer in general, I’d love to join in! xo.

  • Jackie Simms

    I’m in. Going to start reading now.

  • So fun! Can’t wait to join in!

  • I’m in! I’m nearly finished my first read-through of Jesus Feminist but looking forward to reading it again with pencil and post-its in hand. This book has had significant impact on me, I’m glad to say.

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  • Okay, I think this is the month that I actually read Jesus Feminist. I’ve heard so much about it, and even though the name makes me cringe, I’ll read it in a group to hopefully widen my perspective or maybe even widen the perspective of others. 🙂

    Excited for you, Leigh. You are just the person to head up such a fun idea. 🙂

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  • Lori

    Count me in! Looking forward to my first book club experience!

  • threemustardseeds

    Just ordered my copy! So excited to be a part of this 🙂 xoxo Maria

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  • Jenny Ronquillo

    just bought Jesus Feminist and i’m ready to jump in! Happy New Year!!!

  • I’m in. If i was to join a book group, I cannot imagine a sweeter one. I’ve longed for a group for a while, so here goes!

  • Loreen Egli May

    I just came across She Loves about a month ago and read this and other posts and have really enjoyed them! I have been debating whether I have the time to join. I’m just going to jump in!

  • Byrdie Funk

    How do I join in?

  • Sherrema Bower

    Hello there, I was just introduced to this website today and I already love it! Please count me in for the Red Couch Book Club – I look forward to joining you all here!

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  • Rachel Edge

    I was just introduced to this site today (love it already) and would love to join the Red Couch. I cannot wait to begin reading Jesus Feminist and gain insight from others perspectives!

  • clbeyer

    I’m delighted to join this book discussion this month!


  • Donna Meredith Dixon

    Looking forward to joining the discussion this week

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  • Polly Budney Carman

    I would love to join this book club, do you just comment here to join?

  • Rajdeep Paulus

    Hi Idelette! Such a lovely name, it just might sneak into a future book! Wanted to introduce myself. I’m a newly published author, seeking book club readers and fresh takes on my first book. Would love to offer a free E-book if you want to take a peek before deciding if it’s a good fit for your club. Thanks for taking two seconds to consider Swimming Through Clouds for your club sometime this year. FYI: The sequel, Seeing Through Stones comes out March 1st. : )

    Hoping you have a readerly and story-filled 2014!

    Because Great Stories Change Lives,


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