Thursday, June 12, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

Have you ever been a member of a book club? How did your group choose (ot, 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've had basically two book club experiences. I joined a book club through a library where I used to live, and went to one meeting- I hated the book (Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson) so much I just didn't want to go back. And I was the only one who didn't like it, and there were some other issues, and I just felt like the group and I weren't a good fit.

A couple of years ago I joined (and helped run) a book club made up of Boston-area alumnae from my college; we met every month and read a lot of books, some good and some bad. One of my very favorite books (Tender at the Bone, by Ruth Reichel) came to me from this club and we always had a good time. It was always followed by potluck dinner and I made desserts, which was fun too. I forget why I stopped going but I think it's been disbanded for a long time.

When I read for a club I think about the book more as I'm reading- I try to think of questions or issues about the book in a more pointed way. Being obligated to read something doesn't affect how I feel about it but it's frustrating to have to read something I'm not enjoying. I pick books for myself that I end up not liking sometimes, too, but then I can just toss it aside.

I enjoyed being in the alumnae club and I'd love to join another, but I don't know where to begin to look for one. I'm a very self-directed reader though and I'm happy to be left to choose my own books.


Anonymous said...

With a good experience like that one can look for book clubs. With my kind, a strict no no!

Booking through clubbing

Lisa said...

My favorite book club experience: I belonged to a group that met at my favorite bookstore. At one meeting, the assigned book was Walk on the Wild Side by Nelson Algren. The group was split pretty much 50/50 (I hated it). The woman who had originally suggested the book started scolding those of us who didn't like, accusing us of being immature and telling us our reading habits needed to "grow up". By the end of that discussion several of us were on our feet, fingers were being pointed and voices were raised! I can honestly say that a fistfight nearly broke out at my book club!

John (@bookdreamer) said...

Lisa...Now that's my kind of book club!

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Bridget said...

I think finding a good book group, like finding a good book, can be hit and miss as much as anything else. Sometimes you just don't know until you attend a couple of meetings and get the feel for the other members.

I've had one good book club experience, and have to say that I really miss it!