Guest Post: In Praise of Book Clubs, Vol. 16

In the 16th volume of In Praise of Book Clubs, Nicole from Book Escape talks about why she was hesitant to join a book club, but how now she’s glad she did.

Lisa asked me to contribute to her series on book clubs and I gladly accepted. It’s fun to be able to share on someone else’s blog (plus, maybe it will help increase my traffic!)

My friend, Stephanie, over at The Written Word, used to have an online bookclub that she asked me to join. I’m not much of a joiner, but I figured, online, it would be safe. Safe from what, you ask? Well, I worried that I would sound like I didn’t know what I was talking about. When I read, I read just to escape (hence, the name of my blog, Book Escape). Anyway, I didn’t really think about books much after I read them and I didn’t really feel the need to discuss any. Nevertheless, I joined. It was a good format. I could answer what I wanted, skip what I didn’t want. And, there was no pressure to read a book if I didn’t want to.

Well, Stephanie decided to end her on-line club and start a “real” club in her neighborhood. Again, she asked me to join. This time, I was really hesitant, especially because I didn’t know most of the people she asked to join (I can be shy in groups). But, I went. And, over a year later, I’m glad I did.

This experience has been interesting and fun. We have a group of ladies (usually around 7-9) who meet monthly to discuss books. Each month, one group member suggests three books she is interested in and then we vote on which one to read as a group. This has resulted in me reading several books I never would have picked up myself, including Moloka’i by Alan Brenert and The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron. Some I’ve enjoyed, some I haven’t. I joke each meeting that the book I vote for rarely gets picked by the other members. This was bucked this month when the book I voted for, Baby Proof by Emily Giffin, won by a small margin. But, I think that’s one of the things I like the best about the book club experience. I’m reading outside my box.

The group of women my friend has assembled is a colorful bunch. We have some very opinionated ladies who are a lot of fun. I found myself relax around them and not afraid to express myself either; they sure weren’t. It’s been a great learning experience and has opened me up to sometimes seeing things a different way, something I’m not overly eager to always do.

We’ve done some great things, too. We had Kate Jacobs, author of The Friday Night Knitting Club, call into our discussion. That was an interesting night and a great experience. I really enjoyed hearing about a book from the author’s point of view. It really did put a new spin on the entire book. We also had a new author join a group for a night to give her our feedback about her unpublished novel. Another great experience to be on the front end of getting a novel published. Also, we just celebrated our one year anniversary with a dinner out. It was fun to socialize with this bunch of ladies I’d gotten to know over the year. Of course, we did add a discussion about the The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig.

My five-year-old daughter has heard me talking about my book club so much, she’s asked to start her own book club with her friends. So, tomorrow we start out on a summer book club adventure! It should be fun to hear the thoughts of five and six-year-olds.

Blogger Bio: I starting blogging only a couple of months ago at the urging of my (bookclub) friend, Stephanie. I love to read and blogging has helped me keep track of all the books (plus get a few free ones, too!) Reading, for me, is a way to escape the sometimes duldrums of everyday life. I’m home most of the time with my two little ones (ages 5 and 4) and they often both find me hiding with a book! I’m happy to say that they love to “read,” too! My blog is Book Escape.

***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 Mrs. Lieutenant by Phyllis Zimbler Miller, click HERE and leave a comment by June 30.