I love books. I love their covers. I love the way they smell. I love the words displayed between their covers. Opening up a good book is like “coming home”. For that reason, I found myself increasingly frustrated that none of my friends were readers. I’d finish a book and not have anyone to discuss it with. I thought about starting my own club, but having never been in a book club at all, I thought maybe I should just look for one that was already established and then go from there.
The city I live in has a local magazine that is published monthly. The calendar section had an entry for a Library Book Group hosted by the public library. I was pregnant with my first child and thought it would be a great way to meet people and support the library at the same time. So I gave it a shot.
The group consisted of five ladies of various ages and backgrounds. They chose their books three months ahead and the book that we discussed on my first night was Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence. I knew from that very first meeting that I had found what I was looking for.
Nearly ten years later our group is still going strong. If there is a book that has been made into a movie, we sometimes have special outings so we can discuss both. Sure, there was one time when I showed up for a viewing of the movie (Lolita) and I was the only one there, but it provided months and months of discussion afterward! We’ve also had holiday meetings of the potluck variety and special brunches to mix it up a bit. I think the social gatherings allow us to discuss all aspects of the book and make it fun at the same time. Our leader does a wonderful job of “keeping it fresh”.
Through the years we’ve made some changes too. Since we’re hosted by the library, we had a problem with “floaters” who came to one meeting, suggested a book for next time and then never came back again. Don’t you hate that? To remedy that, we moved to a yearly selection process. We have a special book selection meeting in January and we all make a pitch as to what books we want to read for the year. At the end of the evening, we take a vote and the final list is shared with all members and posted for the public. We look forward to this meeting each year, and because you know what you are reading during any given month, you can plan your reading time accordingly. This has proven to be a real time saver for us.
I am so glad that I attended that first meeting over ten years ago. I discovered a group of people that enjoy reading as much as I do and their recommendations have prompted me to read books that I never would have picked up on my own. If you are looking for a book group and do not know where to start, start with your local library. You never know what you may find!
In case you’re interested, here is what my group selected for 2008:
Jan – Star of the Sea, by Joseph O’Connor
Feb – What is the What, by Dave Eggers
Mar – I, Mona Lisa, by Jeanne Kalogridis
Apr – Banker to the Poor, Muhammad Yunus
May – A Long Way Gone, by Ishmael Beah
Jun – Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert
Jul – The Unknown Terrorist, by Richard Flanagan
Aug – Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl
Sep – Mister Pip, by Lloyd Jones
Oct – The Meaning of Night: A Confession, by Michael Cox
Nov – Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Dec – The Inheritance of Loss, by Kiran Desai
Blogger Bio: Ti lives in Southern California with her husband and two kids. She works full time and is very busy but tries to read whenever she can. She has been blogging at Book Chatter and Other Stuff since February 2008 and hits the big “Four O” this September.
***Would you like to share about your book club here at Books on the Brain? If so, leave a comment and I will get in touch with you about a guest post!
For previous volumes of In Praise of Book Clubs, click HERE
For more info on starting your own book club, click HERE
For fun ways to make your book club better, click HERE
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