Thursday, June 12, 2008

Booking Through Thursday--Clubbing

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?

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!


Heidi @ GGIP said...

Thanks for participating. I like the idea of a free-for-all for discussion. I wonder how that would go with my group!!

Gentle Reader said...

heidi--lol, well, it's a pretty respectful free-for-all. We're a fairly well-behaved group :) Liked your question, thanks!

litlove said...

I've heard you mention your reading group before and it sounded wonderful. I wish I had one just like it over here! But in the meantime, blogging is a marvellous substitute!

Bellezza said...

They say you don't really understand something until you teach it, and I find the same thing as what you said: I understand a book a bit better when I'm accountable in a group's discussion of it.

Personally, I'm such a compulsive person that I can't get too many challenges/lists going or I forsake joy for obligation.

Matt said...

I no longer belong to a book club due to the change of schedule of my end. But I enjoy reading everyone's answer to the question. I guess the degree of appreciation would not change whether I'm obliged to read a book or not. Book group is a lot of fun when a bunch of like-minded book lovers come together for a mini party. I miss the book club and maybe one day I can start my own. :)

I feel like I'm part of a huge book club in the book blogging community.

Literary Feline said...

Your book club sounds wonderful. I hope that someday I will find a group like that I can participate in. I think it would be so much fun.

Gentle Reader said...

litlove--it's a great group, and I wish everyone had one like mine. And I also agree that blogging is like having a book group, too--a wonderful, far-flung and ever-expanding book group!

bellezza--I think that's true about teaching! I've only had a few opportunities to teach in my life, but it definitely expanded my knowledge of the subject. And I've been trying to keep my challenge-joining to a minimum lately, because I tend to go a little crazy with them and then don't finish any :)

matt--I feel like I'm part of a huge book club in the blogging community, too. And one day I'm sure you'll have more time for a local group!

literary feline--I hope you find a group as nice as the one I feel so fortunate to have fallen into! I really enjoy the book discussions, not to mention the food and the laughter :)