In Praise of Book Clubs, Volume 21

In this 21st installment of In Praise of Book Clubs, we hear from Melanie over at lit*chick, where she writes about books, naturally, but also about life with her 3 boys. Three must be her number- here she writes about her 3 different book clubs!

Best Discussion - Group 1

Best Discussion - Group 1

I am afraid I suffer from a bit of reading schizophrenia or multiple reading group personality disorder. I enjoy the pleasures of being a participating member of a book club, an honorary member of another, and running an online book club. Each of these variations satisfies different parts of my book nerd world.

My “in real life” book club has me finishing books I never would have chosen. And I get to hang out with women of all ages, cultures and experiences. Not everyone here is a voracious reader, in fact most are not. But face-to-face discussion and engaging on issues or topics that get past the “Hi, how are you? I’m fine” is good exercise for my introvert self. You learn the most about other people and yourself when you have your opinions challenged and share personal experiences, sometimes painful. I highly recommend it. Not to mention the opportunity for adult conversation, a skill in which I lack practice.
Up Next for Group 2

Up Next for Group 2

The honorary membership serves my non committal/rebellious side. I get their book list, can follow along, and pop in when I can. I found that having to read a book can sometimes cause me to desire anything but, surely I’m not alone here. They manage to welcome me without judgement, whenever my schedule allows. And this book club has completely different selections than the other that run more to my taste. It should, my cousin started it so there is a family connection too. But what can I say, I like being included.

Coming Up for Group 3

Coming Up for Group 3

Finally, the online book club, feeds my desire for control. I choose the books, and the questions, and steer the discussion. There is also flexibility here – while I have monthly choices, I can also post questions for books whenever I feel like it. I don’t have to wait for my turn to present selections or even wait until next month. The internet has been a wonderful vehicle for me to spill all the book stuff I’ve had bottled up. I have met lovely people and for some reason, they choose to return again and again to talk books with me. The online book club speaks to the part in me that says: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” (C.S. Lewis) That and the cool factor of having friends spread all over the world who read.

As an avid reader, there are so many options for connecting with other people who love books. Why not try one, or three?
Blogger Bio: Melanie is a suburban mom of 3 boys. Before she started blogging about books, she had other hobbies like scrapbooking and baking. Now she just reads and moves piles of books around to give the impression that she’s cleaning.
***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

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.