Guest Post: In Praise of Book Clubs, Vol. 15

In the 15th installment of In Praise of Book Clubs, Suey from the fun blog It’s All About Books talks about how her book club has evolved over the past four years.

Our book club began four years ago this past month in May when a couple of us decided to gather those ladies in the neighborhood who were interested in reading. We called and talked to lots of people and had about 10 or so who seemed willing, but that first month only 2 or 3 showed up. That trend continued for the next several months and I wondered if this book club would be a go or not. 

However, I didn’t give up and every month there was always a book to discuss and we continued to meet with whoever came. Slowly but surely more people began to show up and be interested. Then after about a year, the core group that makes up the book club today was formed!! There’s moms, grandmas, single ladies, and young ladies. I also love the variety of reading interests. Some love fantasy, some don’t. Some want lots of non-fiction, some want classics, some want new stuff, some more YA stuff. 

Because of this diversity, anything goes for our reading selections. Lots of fiction, some non-fiction, some YA, some religious, and some vampires! Our first book, back four years ago, was The Scarlet Pimpernel. That was one I’d never read until then, and couldn’t believe I’d waited that long to get too. Wonderful book! Some books that got lots of discussion were The Life of Pi, A Girl Named Zippy, The Twilight series, and The Doomsday Book. Some books we weren’t impressed with were The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (way too long and detailed), Love in the Time of Cholera (we just didn’t get it), and Armadale by Wilkie Collins (I loved it, but I don’t think anyone else read it! Too much of a fat classic I guess!) 

Others books we read that most everyone loved were Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (we watched movie clips too that night), The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (I think we convinced a non-fantasy lover that fantasy could be fun), and Seabiscuit (non-fiction that reads like a novel). 

Another fun thing we do is give ourselves a sort of summer project. This is because we take a break meeting during the summer and only meet during the school year, so for the summer we think of a theme or some other assignment. One year we all read a biography of our choice, and then reported back in September who we learned about. One year we read the books of a local author friend that just lives down the street from us. Last summer, we caught up on all the Stephenie Meyer books and invited our daughters to join us for September’s meeting to discuss all the ins and outs of Bella, Edward and Jacob. We are currently deciding on this summer’s theme. I’ve come up with a list of five authors and the book club is voting on which author they’d like to concentrate on this summer. We’ll all read at least one book by that author and in September discuss our findings. 

So what makes our book club unique? First of all, we seem to be nameless! I called it “The Neighborhood Book Club” for awhile, but that was much much too generic for me and I dropped it. Then, because of our very consistent meeting time, I debated on ” The Third Thursday Book Club” but I neglected to pursue the issue. So, we are still nameless for now I guess. Anyone have any suggestions? 

Another thing that perhaps makes us unique is that fact that there is no drinking going at our meetings, besides water that is! However, there is usually some form of chocolate available, or something salty. For sure there’s always something to munch on. 

Another thing we love to do is to check out book club sets from the library. Both our nearby libraries offer this service and have a huge inventory of book club sets. So we look through those lists and every year, about half of our selections come from there. This way, everyone is certain have a copy of the book which makes us all happy. 

And like many other book clubs, we end up talking about all kinds of things besides the book. In fact, the book may be discussed for a half hour of the time, and for the other hour or two, you never know what we might tangent on to! 

But that’s what makes book clubs great! Reading, eating, and general socializing, all in one evening! 

Blogger Bio: Suey is a stay at home mom with 4 kids (ranging in ages from 18 to 9) who likes Star Wars, chocolate, Josh Groban and thunderstorms. She reads a ton, but sometimes tries to do other things like quilting, scrapbooking and exploring her home state of Utah through geocaching adventures. She started a book blog just over a year ago to keep track of challenges, and to share what she’s reading with friends and family. 

***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

For a chance to win Springtime on Mars by Susan Woodring, click HERE and leave a comment by June 6.

For a chance to win The Fires by Alan Cheuse, click HERE and leave a comment by June 6.

3 Responses

  1. My book club is also nameless, and I’m glad we’re not the only ones who (sometimes) spend less than half of our meeting time actually talking about the book :-)!

    I am really enjoying this series, seeing how other book clubs do their thing and getting new ideas for mine.

  2. I love that your group is so diverse. To me, that is what makes it interesting. It’s no fun if everyone likes the same books.

  3. Suey’s group sounds just like my group. Sometimes we spend more time socializing than we do talking about the book and no alcohol for us either.

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