Book Clubs

A friend of mine posted the other day about why she loves her book club. I confess, I’ve always wanted to belong to a book club. It makes me almost giddy to think of getting together with a group of people to discuss a book we’ve all read. And yet it terrifies me, too. In the end, it’s something I simply haven’t had time in my schedule to try. But come fall, I’d like to find or form a book club.

So I have a few questions for you book club members, whether past or present. I’d love your feedback as I think through the kind of situation I envision for a group.

  • How did you find your group or did you form one? Did you all know one another before hand or did you go into a group where you didn’t know the others–or at least didn’t know them well?
  • Did you take turns picking books? Did people get their feelings hurt if people didn’t look a book they loved?
  • Did you use discussion questions provided by the author or publisher or just discuss freeform?
  • Did you ever contact an author either just to tell them you all enjoyed the book or to invite them to your group in person or via skype? How did that work out?
  • What was your greatest take away from your book club time–the books read, the discussion of the books, or personal friendships formed?

I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

10 comments on “Book Clubs

  1. I have been involved with a book club for over 10 years. My book club in Louisville was started by my neighbor. She invited me to join, and I knew maybe half of the ladies. This was a serious book club, as in everyone read the books and everyone discussed them. We passed out a schedule in September for the upcoming year and the month you hosted, you picked the book and lead the discussion. Even when we disagreed, the discussion was fun and challenging. We had a wide range of women, stay at home moms, working women, even a psychiatrist who was very insightful on the characters of the books. I read so many books I would have never picked at the book store, some I loved (Peace like a River, the Color of Water, Expecting Adam) and some that were so hard to read (for me…). We had people leave, some moved, some couldn’t commit, others just didn’t like the book selection) and new ones join. I even took 6 months off when my sister was diagnosed with cancer so I could help her. Most questions came from discussion guides, either in the book or from an internet search. We had a local author in (bought this at the local school auction and it was a fabulous night, she was very friendly and insightful). We also had a phone interview with an author who the host knew. Now in Boston I stumbled upon a YA book club through a local bookstore. It is fun as I am meeting new people and reading books I would not have otherwise read. The bookstore picks the books. We meet once a month. In the Louisville book club we did not meet in December, June and July. So the August club was special getting caught up with everyone. We also did a few field trips. I took the club to the Zoo after the baby elephant was born, had a behind the scenes tour. We read Modoc and discussed it with the head elephant keeper. One lady was on the board at Actor’s Theater and we read the play, went to the 1st reading and then the play and then discussed afterwards. I miss them! I would love to be in your book club….maybe FaceTime?

    • Wow! I knew a little of your book club story, Becky, but that is some really cool stuff! I appreciate you writing it all down. Of course I’d love to have you in whatever book club I do. Who knows? Maybe I’ll join one AND form one! Anyway, I love that y’all did such unique stuff. Let me know if you read anything fabulous in the YA group. It’s interesting that the store picks your books. I’ve always loved YA but lately it’s gotten so dark and dystopian that I’ve steered away a little bit. Miss you, dear friend!

      • Ah yes, the dystopian books! I really enjoyed the Hunget Games, we read two others in the book club. And a boarding school one. I think of you when I go as I know your love of YA. The bookstore is The Blue Bunny, owned by Peter Reynolds who is an illustrator. Did the Judy Moody books. A very nice guy, who loves Dedham. It started as a children’s bookstore, but as the kids got older, they added youth then YA. they even have a small adult section and of course will order anything you want. We can walk there when you come for a visit. You will really enjoy being part of a book club. Can’t wait to hear all about it / them!

        • How cool! And now it makes much more sense that the book store picks the books! You can’t know how badly Jeff and I want to come visit y’all, but unless he has a case up there I don’t see it happening anytime soon. 🙁

  2. Just the other day, I was having similar thoughts. I’d enjoy discussing books, but I’m not sure I really have the time, and I don’t know where to begin. Let me know what you learn.

    • I’ll let you know, VV! Yes, I haven’t had time before either, but I figured I’d better start preparing now for the things I want to do when that last birdie flys the coop in August! 🙂

  3. You must have brilliant friends. 😉

    I stumbled upon mine. I think I talk books so much I got the invites based on that. Seems feelings don’t get hurt much in my two clubs. People are open-minded and sound, voicing opinions in mature and thoughtful ways. One group uses the questions, one does freeform. This Wednesday we are hosting an author for one of ours. Lucky she’s local. Greatest take away by far for me is the mental stimulation–the rich discussions.

    Now, one thing I need to know from you…are you going to love it or list it? 😉 Happy Monday!

    • Lol! Yes, Wendy, I have brilliant friends! 😉

      Your insights are very helpful. Right now I don’t think anyone I know is in a book club, so I’m going to either have to figure out a way to find one or form one. But my friend circles are changing a bit as I move into a new stage of life, so we’ll see what that means!

      Definitely going to love it–after the reconstruction is done! But I think the Lord used your post today to nudge me into fixing up some things in my inner house. 🙂

  4. Hello Mrs. Mateer,
    Well I too, don’t have time for a book club. But I would love one day to be part of a book club.

    I think it will be easier to start a book club with people you know, like friends, family, etc. They inturn can bring other people or friends of them who too would like to belong to a book club.

    About taking turns picking books, I think it’s an excellent idea!

    Maybe everyone in the group should form discussion questions and the discussion questions provided by the author or publisher could also be used!

    It’s also a very good idea to contact the author of the book the group enjoyed! If the author can personally asist the meeting or Skype, that would be fantastic! But there are some writers who can not manage Internet. (I wanted to contact Janette Oke but I discovered on Internet she only receives handwritten mail with the post, no emails! 🙁 )

    I think the books read, the discussion of the books, and the personal friendships formed at book clubs is what makes them so awesome!

    Kind regards,
    Shirley

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