Do You Book Club?

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Do You Book Club?

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Editado: Nov 20, 2011, 8:44 pm

Curious to know how many of us out there book club. I visit a lot of groups as an author, and many, many, many of them are our vintage (and a fine one it is)!

Love to hear what you're reading, how you choose, how often/where you meet, etc.

I participate in three (yes, in need of 10-step program): one neighborhood one where we rotate hosting and the host chooses the book (our list is here) and two store ones, where I just read and show up and blab. (Well, blab, intelligently, I hope!)

Nov 20, 2011, 10:45 pm

No, I don't do book clubs; for some reason, the fact that I have to read a particular book makes any other book more interesting!

Nov 26, 2011, 10:11 am

I would love to pariticipate in a book club, but the local one held at the library is on the very same night as community band practice. I would love to discuss books, but not really sure that I want to be "tied down" to a particular book. If the right situation comes along, I would probably join!

Nov 26, 2011, 12:04 pm

I started a mother-daughter book group in 1999 when the daughters were in grade school. The daughters are all out of college now, but the mothers still meet every 4-6 weeks. We have a range of reading preferences so it makes for very diverse reading. If the daughters are around sometimes they make an appearance -- not for the book discussion -- just for the wine.

Nov 28, 2011, 11:27 pm

I have belonged to two different book clubs during my lifetime. I enjoyed each of them tremendously and never had to read a worthless book. After the last one (about ten years ago) I decided not to do book clubs anymore. I have this huge stack of books I want to read, and book-club reading kept me away from them.

Nov 29, 2011, 8:35 am

Definitely with staffordcastle on this one - I just have to read whatever grabs me and already have set books for studying (even then I have to read a 'voluntary' one alongside, even if the set book is a great one). I did once join a club for two sessions but soon discovered that there isn't enough time in the world for me to read all the books I want to read, without adding in a bunch that someone else thinks I should be reading. I can certainly understand book club fans, though - it is wonderful to have someone who has just read the same book you loved (or hated) and with whom you can discuss it and just knowing there are so many of these clubs out there gives me confidence that maybe reading is still as popluar as it ever was.

Nov 29, 2011, 10:07 pm

I tried a book club years (and years!) ago. Liked the people but for some reason no matter how much I wanted or liked the books picked I felt the old time school dislike of anything I had to read.

Fev 22, 2012, 3:41 pm

I do book club. But it's different. We're a group that broke off from another group, an Internet mailing list for editors. We want to talk about books but can't do that in the editor group.

So we're people from all over the world, and we read whatever we want. We tell the others what we're reading, and we discuss it in a yahoo group on the Internet.

That's a book club, isn't it?

Fev 22, 2012, 4:47 pm

I'm in a bookclub that we started in 1997. We're successful, committed, and really enjoy our meetings and each other.

There are 12 women. Ages range from early 40s to 72. Retired, programmers, bookstore managers, farmers, teachers, health care workers, legal aides, office workers, librarians. Single, widowed, divorced, married. Women with kids, women who've never had kids. Mostly Democratic and/or liberal, but we don't discuss politics TOO often. Christians, Jews, atheists, agnostics, Wiccan.

We meet every 13 months to pick books. At that meeting, each woman gets to present one or more books for "her" book. If it's one book, that's the book that the bookclub reads. If there's more than one book, opinions are solicited and one book is chosen in whatever group dynamic works for that exact moment in time - no strict rules. So we each get a book of our own choosing. Some choose books they've read and liked, some of us (me included) always pick a book we haven't read but think we and the group would appreciate/enjoy. We then create a schedule for the books, which includes when that book is to be read and who will be hostess for that meeting. Usually the person hosting the meeting is not the book's leader. So there's a 12-month schedule by month by book/leader by hostess. Sometimes something comes up and people will switch. We're all very good at e-mail.

Each woman gets to conduct the meeting about her book in the way she sees fit - we have several Very Strong and Opinionated Women who we keep having to smack down and prevent from taking control, but so far we've been successful. We're always vigilant, however; as recently as our last choosing meeting one of the Very Opinionated Women wanted to have a "theme" for the year and make us all pick books related to the theme. We shut her down quickly. She's also the one who wanted to restrict genres because she thought some genres were a waste of her time. We stopped that one too. Each of us gets to pick a book SHE wants without hindrance.

Each hostess gets to provide as much or as little food/drink as she wishes. Some make dinners, some buy snacks. There's always wine and something non-alcoholic. We live as far as 20 miles apart, so there's carpooling and designated drivers. We meet the first Sunday of every month, with exceptions for holidays or special events. Those meetings get moved to the 2nd Sunday.

Some books are hits, some are duds, sometimes the discussions are lively and involved, sometimes they're rather short and we discuss other things. I have found that the most interesting discussions are when several people love a book and several people hate a book. Lots of interesting points get brought up.

Here's our 2011-2012 list:

Lark and Termite Jayne Anne Phillips *
Carry Me Across The Water Ethan Canin *
Understanding Comics Scott McCloud **
She's Not There Jennifer Finney Boylan (my book, FYI) **
Peace Like a River Leif Enger **
The Shallows Nicholas Carr **
March Geraldine Brooks *
One Thousand White Women Jim Fergus *
Mistress Shakespeare Karen Harper *
Room Emma Donoghue March's book
The Book Thief Markus Zusak
Cutting for Stone Abraham Verghese

* abandoned or read and didn't like
** read and liked

I really like the way our bookclub works - I've read a lot of messages about people unhappy with their bookclubs. I think I'm fortunate. And this is our 15th year, so we're doing something right - at least for us!

Fev 22, 2012, 8:28 pm

I don't know if this qualifies as a club, but I loved it: Last spring I took a class in Russian Lit through a college extension course. It wasn't free and we had reading homework. We met for 8 weeks and read 3 Russian classics plus Pride and Prejudice as a bonus.

It was THE highlight of my year, hands down. I loved that class. There were only 5 of us, but I never missed a class and it was so fulfilling.

Can book clubs do that?

The difference was that I already knew I needed a nudge to read those classics, so I picked the class for that reason. Book clubs seem more random. I might get annoyed at that.

Fev 23, 2012, 9:58 pm

Actually, 7 of us highschool teachers just formed a book club. Since we are all very busy and must also read professionally, we have agreed that we will meet twice yearly, once by my pool in June, after school is out, and once on a bleak, dreary Saturday morning in January--location yet to be determined. We all submitted 2 books for consideration to the group. We must all vote for # 1 choice (2 points) and #2 choice (1 point) and those are the books we will read collectively. We are all so very excited. This is my book club, very small, very intimate.

Fev 24, 2012, 9:44 am

KarenMarie: Cutting for Stone Abraham Verghese
may be the best book you ever read. I'm so glad your book club picked it in spite of its length.

Mar 12, 2012, 10:32 pm

Our June book this year is The Tiger's Wife by Obreht (none of us has ever read) and our December book is The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Annie Barrows, which I have read, but nobody else has. We are excited!

Abr 19, 2012, 4:10 pm

No, I do not participate in book clubs although I have considered it a few times. My issue with "clubs" is similar as another commentator; I hate being told what to do/read. At one of the local library's that I frequent, the books are they choose seem to travel a common thread: the poor, oppressed fill in the blank somebody and a story that, by design, is intended to evoke an emotional response. B-O-R-I-N-G. This aversion it is so ingrained in my person that I just can't join a club. As I reread my comment, I wonder if I should just keep it to myself - you asked and I have answered.