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?Yes, I'm in a book group now, and I so look forward to the monthly meetings. We've been meeting for over four years, and it's a great group of women.
Our process is really informal. Motivated members bring suggestions for our next book. Then we just talk it out to decide what we want to read next. Sometimes whoever suggests a book will email a review or two to the group, but that's the extent of our research. What we do try to do is vary the types of books we read, so it's a fairly broad mixture of fiction and non-fiction, contemporary and classic books, short stories and novels.
And nobody leads our discussions. We just discuss the book, in a free-for-all. It's always lively, and entertaining. And we digress, a lot!
I feel my appreciation of a book is the same, whether I'm obliged to read it for book group or whether I've picked it myself. However, reading a book for my book group does change the reading experience. If I'm honest with myself, I probably pay a little closer attention to the details of a book when I'm reading it for my group, because I know we're going to discuss it. I probably even pay more attention to whether I like the book or not--that is to say, I think about the pros and cons of the book, and form a more particular opinion of it, and decide how I will express that opinion. I suppose it's a bit like reading a book for school, but without the pressure!