Bibliophile Badging Merit Badge, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,504 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,886 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life  

For this week’s Bibliophile Badging Intermediate Level Merit Badge, I had shortened my TBR pile from the Beginner Level badge, only to build it back up again. I’ve noticed TBR stacks are like bunnies. They multiply quickly and at a sometimes alarming rate.

Berliner Walk of Ideas, Humboldt University by Lienhard Schulz via Wikimedia Commons

One way to keep your tomes down to a manageable minimum is to loan your books out. I know, I know, it hurt my heart the first few times too. I mean, these were my babies. What if someone abused them? Dog eared their pages? Dropped them in the bubble bath? Used them as coasters? Or worse yet, never gave them back?


One thing I found to help alleviate that last fear, was this handy-dandy personal library kit. I recommend it highly, not just because it essentially gives the loanee no excuse to remember who owns that book, but it’s way fun to stamp things and channel your inner librarian.

Anyway, earning my badge meant challenging my friends to a book reading contest. You can do this with your local buddies, or do it online through social media, like Facebook or Instagram. I found plenty of willing participants, and we put ourselves out there with all sorts of goals and plans. We found we were all motivated by the same things: good books and prizes. That’s right, what’s a book reading challenge without a prize at the end? I gathered all sorts of fun trinkets to award to the readers: chocolate, coffee mugs, bookmarks, fuzzy socks, gel pens, etc. Then we separated our goals into easily obtained chunks, like this:

  • Most Books Read in the Month
  • Finishing an Entire Collection by One Author
  • Keeping Detailed Reviews of Books Read
  • Finishing a TBR Stack that is At Least Five Books High
  • Reading Five Biographies

The possibilities for challenges and prizes are pretty much endless.

Next, organize your fellow bibliophiles in a real Book Club. Now, when I say real I don’t mean it has to meet in person right in your own living room: if that’s not a possibility due to living rurally or whathaveyou, you can have just as much fun joining or starting an online book club. Perk to that: you get to eat all the chocolate chip cookies you baked for the occasion all by yourself. Ahem.

Once your club is off the ground, so to speak, pick a book to read together and a date to meet. Also, a secret handshake and a clubhouse is not amiss, but maybe that’s just me.

My book club? We are currently reading spy thrillers, meet at a secret location, and eat a lot of cookies. But that’s just what floats my literary boat. Can’t find one to meet your needs? Check out our own Farmgirl Book Club on Facebook, and find what’s fresh and new (or old and vintage), chat it up with other bibliophiles, meet new friends and farmgirls, even be introduced to authors. Cookies not required, but highly recommended.

The Story Book by William-Adolphe Bouguereau via Wikimedia Commons

  1. Barbara Criss says:

    A book club sounds so fun! Alas—I live in an isolated area and the few people I do know are not into reading. My husband and I are both avid readers so I do have him to talk to about books. I suppose an online book club would be fun, but I have a fear of social media. It is just nice to know that some people do have book clubs. I think it must be quite enjoyable.

  2. Kamy says:

    I love the idea of this book; I need to add it to the TBR.

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