My sister Emily and I have been reading Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot together. We started a couple weeks ago, and it has been going well -- so well, in fact, that I just started reading 2 more books with friends: The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace with my sister-in-law Kari and Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp with my friend Christen in Brazil. How do you read a book with someone long distance? I think we've worked out a pretty good plan, so I thought I'd share it here, in case it might be helpful to you. I got some insight from a guy at church who works with NANC counseling and frequently reads books of this nature with guys he counsels. I thought it was insightful, and even though it is not a counseling relationship, it is a "growing together" relationship, so I thought it applied. Here's what I modified our book sharing to be:
1. Determine how much of the book you want to read together each week. I have found that one person sort of has to take on the role of the "assigner". I'm bossy, so that has been me. :)
2. Depending on how long the chapters are, choose a selection or quote from each chapter to share with each other. It can just be something that really stood out, or convicted you, or just a wonderful word that was well written and utterly quotable. If the book has long chapters, you can choose more things. Passion and Purity is perfect for this, because the chapters are very short, so we just choose one quote per chapter.
3. Each person forms a question based on the content of the chapter you read. It can be an application question, an opinion (such as "Is this Biblical? Do you agree with this?") or a sort of "fleshing out" question. So far, it has been quite easy to draw a question from each chapter. There really doesn't have to be any more specific guidelines than that.
4. Each person replies to the other's question. Discussion may naturally follow or not.
This has all been done on line, through e-mail and the like. I imagine it would be even easier over the phone, but my times talking to Christen (or Emily or Kari, for that matter!) are few and far between, so messages will have to suffice. Kari and I are doing something different, because Excellent Wife has a little companion study book that we are doing together and holding each other accountable.
I hope this is helpful to you. Maybe you will be inspired to find a friend with whom to read!