Book Clubs

I love to hear from folks who are reading and talking about Smile at Strangers with their friends. I also love to answer questions! I am available to meet with book clubs over the phone, via Skype, or in person if your group is reasonably close to where I live (Austin, TX). You can also send me a few questions to answer over email. Please send requests, questions and comments to bookclub(at)

Here, I’ve put together some group activities and discussion suggestions your reading circle might like to try, arranged by category:

Safety Information (and Misinformation!)

Mind-Body Connections


Practical Self Defense

Personal Growth and the Adventurous Life

A note on triggering and privacy issues:

Any time we discuss issues related to their personal safety, we may experience strong emotional reactions. In any group of women, you can be almost certain that at least some group members have been the victims of violence. And even if they haven’t, people can still respond viscerally to frightening topics. So it’s a good idea to begin your discussion of Smile at Strangers with a reminder that no one should feel obligated to talk about personal experiences that make them uncomfortable.

Also, encourage your group participants to engage in active self-care: If the discussion makes them uncomfortable, they should feel free to step out of the group for as long as they need to. If you are leading the group, try not to let the conversation center on any one person’s experience (especially negative experiences) for too long, and be responsive to signs of discomfort. If the discussion becomes too emotionally charged, move the group on to a new topic. This will help everyone build positive and empowering memories of their discussion of an important subject, and help them have more such conversations in the future.


2 thoughts on “Book Clubs

  1. I have read your articles and find them entertaining, accurate , and powerful. I think you are the best teacher I have come across. I ventured upon you after seeing one of your former students thwart attack against an oversized burly man in a bar who had just been released from prison for rape. She managed to grab twist and pull(and continue to pull) until the 6’3 Goliath was completely incapacitated. Unfortunately for him she ruptured one of his testicles in defense. Anyways would love to talk more if you ever want…take care !

  2. Hey, thanks for that sharing that, Edmund! Hope everyone who deserved to walk away from that incident unharmed did so.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>