10 April 2023
Despite what the movies would have you believe, a book club is not just a group of middle-aged women looking for an excuse to drink wine and share their personal tribulations.
Without regard to gender or status, a book club is a number of people who all read the same book and then gather to discuss it. Formal groups meet at a specified location on a regular basis, usually about once a month. That is enough of a time span to allow everyone to have a chance to read the book. Smaller groups have the luxury of a more flexible schedule to accommodate travel, work, family, and personal preferences.
Depending on what you are looking for, there are groups that focus on a singl genre like sci-fi, classics, or non-fiction. Others may want to explore a particular author or a series. There are also clubs that read a wide variety. The roster of books can be selected all at once, so that everyone knows which book will be discussed on what date, or it can be decided month to month.
Locations also vary. They can meet in private homes, at restaurants, or at your local library. In fact, if you are trying to find a good fit, try inquiring at the library, local bookstores, or community centers. Sometimes you are offered discounts to purchase, or your library may give priorty for check outs. This is particularly important if you are interested in a best seller or other popular book and will save time from being on a long wait list.
At the meeting there is usually someone who is designated to lead the discussion. If you don’t think you will have anything to talk about, you are wrong. The first question is whether or not the individuals liked the book. Frequently there are discussion questions at the back of the book, or online. You can also come up with your own ideas. The group doesn’t need to stick to the prepared list, but often opinions are offered or questions arise. Even if you didn’t like the book, some of the best discussions come from a novel that is out of the ordinary or even bizarre.
If your group discussions start to feel a little routine or mundane, shake things up a bit. Throw in a book of poetry, a cookbook, another culture, or a controversial topic like GMOs or banned books. Don’t rule out seasonal topics. Of course, Christmas is one of the more popular choices, but there is also summer vacations or weddings. Think about book and movie combo. Read the book and then watch a movie that was based on it. Compare and contrast and see which one you prefer.
For a real change, allow each person to read a book of their choosing and then at the meeting go around the group and have them give a synopsis and comments.
So, if you are looking for an incentive to read more or you want to step out of your comfort zone, but just not too far, consider finding a book club or forming one of your own from friends, neighbors, or co-workers. Perhaps you hav relocated to a new area; this will let you meet new people in a safe environment and also find out about the best dry cleaners in the area or a reliable plumber. Generally these are free and, what the heck, if you don’t like it, don’t go back.