Wednesday, February 8, 2017

My Book Club and Why Book Clubs are Important

It's not really my book club. It's a book club that I happen to belong too, and I'm actually the newest member. I got invited to attend my first book club meeting in September 2016, but the group has been meeting for a few years. They are truly an excellent group of ladies. There's all age from early 20's to mid 60's, we are in all different stages of motherhood, different religious and political beliefs, and we all love to read, so you can imagine how lively the conversations can get.

I decided to share a bit about my book club because January was my pick! I chose one of my all-time favorite books, The Other Boleyn Girl. It seemed like a bit of a safe pick but I was quite nervous about it. I've loved this book so much for so long that it was a bit like giving them a piece of my soul to read.

Joining a book club has changed my reading habits quite a bit. I've found some new authors and books that I never would have picked up on my own, and it helped me get out of my year-long reading slump. I'd tried online book clubs on Goodreads and LibraryThing but neither really worked for me. I don't know why but I find posting in an online group full of strangers really intimidating, I also have a hard time feeling motivated to read a book I'd never pick up on my own when I know no one in the group will know, or care, if I read the book. Plus, as an introvert, I vastly prefer a small. intimate group to one with twenty thousand members I don't know. A book club that meets in person just works for me.

And here are the reasons I think book clubs are important;

1. You'll read books that weren't even on your radar, let alone your TBR list. This is true of just about any book club, whether it's online, at your local library, or a small group of friends in your basement. Reading tastes and preferences can vary so much, even in the same genre, that I can almost guarantee you'll end up reading something that you would have never picked up off a shelf, or one clicked on Amazon.

2. You won't like all the books you read. That's right. There will be books you despise, and that's a good thing, Because you'll be learning about yourself, as a reader, and as a person. Example: Bill Bryson. I thought I had a pretty sarcastic and mean sense of humor until I read a Walk In the Woods. Bryson is down right awful. I finished the book, but the first thing I thought when I put it down was, 'I hope I never meet this guy, I hate to think what he'd write about me,'.  Not only did I not like the book, by the end of it I didn't like Bill Bryson, and I'd learned that I don't like that much negativity from an author. Once upon a time I might have found his writing funny, but I'm not that person anymore. Personal growth can be a bitch, and my opinions were not popular at book club that month.

3. Book clubs can be 'Reading Slump Repellent'. When you just can't settle on anything to read, and nothing sounds good, a book club picks takes the decision out of your hands. Someone picked this for your book club, you have to read it, the meetings in a week and a half. And before you know it your back in your reading groove. I mean, I'm sure it doesn't always work that way, some reading slumps happen no matter what you do, but not having to decide what to read can help bring you out of it.

4. The discussions are amazing. When you have a great group of people who are passionate about reading, your group can have some wonderful discussions. One of our best book discussions that I've been a part of was about The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. We went over an hour late discussing that one. We have such a varied group, that there were so many different view points and so much going on in that book, it was an amazing night to be a part of. I can see how this would be tricky to find because not all book clubs are created with the goal of reading and discussing books. Some are about drinking wine, or getting out of the house to socialize with someone who doesn't want to wipe their boogers on your jeans, or gossiping about celebrities, or something else entirely, so finding the right group is important. But when you find it, it's worth all the cheap wine and Kardashian gossip in the world, unless of course you like those things, in which case bring on the wine!

If you're reading this I hope you have a great book club that is everything you need and/or want it to be. Whether it's a group that's strictly about the books, like mine, or one that talks about everything under the sun and has a good supply of spirits while they do it, remember the main goal of any book club should be to enjoy yourself!

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