Booking Through Thursday – Clubbing

Booking Through Thursday asks: A combo of two suggestions by: Heidi and by litlove

Have you ever been a member of a book club? How did your group choose (or, if you haven’t been, what do you think is the best way to choose) the next book and who would lead discussion?

Do you feel more or less likely to appreciate books if you are obliged to read them for book groups rather than choosing them of your own free will? Does knowing they are going to be read as part of a group affect the reading experience?

I love the idea of book clubs, much as I love the idea of getting up every morning at 6 am and working out at the health club, or the idea of putting aside 10% of my income in a retirement savings plan.  Book clubs sound appealing, and sensible, and something so very bookish to do – yet I somehow can’t make myself participate.

Lots of my friends are in book clubs, so I’m asked to join on a regular basis – that’s after I’ve heard them complain about the books their club has chosen to read, or that one member who insists on monopolizing the discussion.  “Thanks so much for asking me,” I reply in my sweetest voice, “but I’m so very busy just now I’m afraid I could never do justice to the group.”

My friend Lynda has been in the same book club since her college days, which were more than 30 years ago.  Certainly some of the members have come and gone, but there is a core group of three or four who were schoolmates and have managed to keep the club going.  Their plan for choosing books is this:  each spring, every member submits two books they feel are worthy of the club’s time.  A master list is compiled, and a vote taken, ultimately choosing the 12 books the club will read over the course of the year.  I don’t believe they have a designated leader – they’ve been together so long, they likely don’t need one. 

Another friend belongs to a library book club, and they choose their books in much the same way.  If a book you’ve submitted is chosen, then you become the discussion leader.  In their group, the discussion leader is also to prepare a short talk about the book prior to beginning the discussion.  (That sounds quite intimidating to me!)

And then there’s my friend Debbie’s club.  If I were to belong to a book club, I might belong to this one.  They meet once each month at a local restaurant, enjoy a good meal, and “talk about the books they’ve been reading.”  Everyone brings their favorite “read” of the month to share.  And while I’ve never been to one of these “meetings,” I’m willing to bet the conversation isn’t all bookish. <smiles>

Those of us who blog about books have our own version of the book club, don’t we?  With the challenges, and group blogs, and Sunday Salon, I believe I’ve finally found the book club that suits me to a tee.



9 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday – Clubbing

  1. Bookblogging is a great substitute for book. At least I too feel that way.

    Here too, I get to read book I would have given a miss. I found few good boks from new authors like Rosy Thornton, Jay Asher and Mathias B. Freese to just name a few. As good as any book club!

  2. Thirty years is an impressively long time to be in a book club! I can only agree that book blogging is the best book club I can possibly imagine – so much freedom and flexibility!

  3. I’m definitely with you on this one! I really enjoy this bookblogging thing and my only alternative would be the restaurant. 🙂 I cannot imagine being stuck with 12 books one year in advance. .. and what about the six or so that I might not actually want to read????? I quite like the short story reading challenge put up by Kate S, the Curious Singularity blog here
    It’s a great way of getting to know some new authors or stories you have not read yet.

  4. I can see why a reading group wouldn’t be appealing to some but I am energized by talking with people face to face about what I’m reading. It’s even better if we’ve been reading the same books. I started my own group only about 6 months ago so I haven’t come across any of the issues mentioned here yet. My group reads books that have been made into movies and then discusses both the book and the movie. It’s pretty fun. You can read about it here:

  5. I’ve never been a member of a book-club, and I think if I was, feeling that I “have to” read this or that book would give me a psychological pause. I tend not to want to do what others expect of me, or think I should do. But mainly, I’ve never thought to join one because my reading habits aren’t constant. They became erratic during the years I was studying, and during the past couple of years as i’ve been getting accustomed to reading glasses (that had a very bad effect on my reading). Now, I am reading more again, but no, I don’t want to give an entire meeting over to talking about it. My writers’ group functions as a book-club in ways, as we recommend books to one another, and often discuss what we liked/disliked about books that a few of us have read.

  6. I rather like the idea of sharing about books through the blog. I learn so many things I’d probably never pick up. I’ve never been an official member of a book club, but my friend Suzanne, who lives in Canada, and I have our unofficial book club — we are reading partners, generally picking one monster-sized novel or biography (we’re reading “The Sisters” together — the Mitford family book, which is fascinating), and then several mysteries in series we enjoy. Our “Big Books” have been Edward Rutherford’s “London” and “Sarum” (we’re both into England) and “Crimson Petal and the White” which took me awhile before I was fully sucked in. In between we tackle the newest Maisie Dobbs mystery, Alexander McCall Smith’s various characters and an Australian mystery series about a flapper detective named Phrynne Fisher. Of course we compare notes, though probably not as often as we should! I suspect it’s the closest I ever get to a book club, unless my cooking pals and I organize a cookbook reading club! (With dining required!)

  7. I love book blogs, and I am frequently inspired by others’ posts to pick up books I might otherwise never have read.

    But I also love my book club. Admittedly, we’re not a very serious book club. The wine & cheese and catching up with each other — none of us sees any of the others except for our monthly meetings — definitely takes precedence over more literary discussion. Maybe that’s why we’ve lasted nearly 15 years.

    There’s just something about the ritual of reading a book together with a group — even if we never really talk much about it, beyond, “I really liked it, ” or “Did you think it was EVER going to end?” — that, together with our monthly meetings, seems to have brought us, a very disparate group of people, much closer together. Plus, I’ve read — and enjoyed — books I never would have considered. Overall, a big plus.

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