Let’s Chat: Book Clubs…Yay or Nay?

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I have never belonged to a book club. The idea of them is intriguing to me…Everyone reads the same book and then gets together to discuss it?  Sounds like my version of heaven!

However, apparently it’s not always like this?

Apparently people don’t always actually read the book?!? The discussion get together often turns into a wine drinking event where anything and everything is discussed EXCEPT for the book?  Frankly that would drive me insane.  I could imagine me showing up with my highlighted book and notebook full of notes (#booknerd)…and I’d be the only one ready to dive in and discuss?

And what if I don’t like the book picked?  I would never want to be forced to read a book that I didn’t initially want to read.  HOWEVER, this could also be a huge pro because it would force me to expose myself to pieces of literature I otherwise wouldn’t have selected on my own.  And what if I didn’t finish on time?  I would never want to have to skim the rest of a book just to complete it by a certain date.

I love reading and I love discussing books…but on my own terms.  Hence I started a blog to do just that 🙂

So tell me…are you in a book club?  What is yours like?  Who chooses the books?  What if you hate the selection?  What if you don’t finish on time? What happens when you get together to discuss?

This #booknerd clearly needs some answers.

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12 thoughts on “Let’s Chat: Book Clubs…Yay or Nay?

  1. Hi Jenny. I’m in a book club. We meet every couple of months. We do talk about the book, but usually only for about 10 to 15 minutes. Typically we go through the discussion questions. We decide as a group on our next book club book. That often takes us longer than the actual discussion about the book! We aren’t very strict, so it’s not a big deal if someone doesn’t read the book. Let me know if you would like to join our book club. We meet on Friday nights and the next time we are meeting is October 12th and we are reading Swear on this Life.

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  2. Hi Jenny! I love this post. I have been in and out of book clubs for most of my adult life. I feel the same way you do – I’m there to discuss books and if I don’t like a book, I don’t want to waste my time reading it. Although, we all know I’m strong in my beliefs so if I don’t like it, I’ll share that opinion passionately in the book club. When I moved to Arizona, I joined a book club to make new friends and I went to ONE meeting – all they did was complain about the people who didn’t show up that day. Very disappointing. I’m in a woman’s group now and we do all sorts of activities and events, including a book club. I go to the ones that interest me and skip the ones that don’t – it works perfectly for me and I regularly see these girls outside of book club at other events. Each book club meeting is a different mix of people so that’s always nice. I’m so excited for your blog – if I can’t be in a book club consistently in person, we can discuss books here!

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    1. Thank you 🙂
      You sound just like me! I totally understand and agree with everything you just said.
      One of my hopes for this space is that it will become a place for anyone to freely discuss books however they choose! Sort of like a “virtual” book club without assigned reading, deadlines, etc.

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  3. Oh, honey. Let me tell you about my book club! LOL! “Books, Bitches, and Booze”.

    First iteration, 2014-sh: Basically, a FB post I wrote caught on fire and a book club was born. It grew from about 4-16 quickly and ended up being exactly what you described: an hour and 50 minutes of wine drinking and sex talk and about 10 minutes of book chatter. As the original organizer, I was beginning to sense people’s annoyance. So about 6 months in, we set it to a vote and established some ground rules:

    1. 6:30p soft start (show up, gab, drink, eat, catch up with your friends, etc)
    2. 7:30p hard start (ie, talk about the book)
    3. 8:30p pick a new book for next month, wrap up by 9.
    3. You have to attend 50% of book clubs. So this means 6 a year since we meet once a month.
    4. You have to read the book or at least do your very best. If you hate it, well, you hate it. It happens.

    Immediately after the bulk of book club voted to impose these rules, about 70% of the membership quit and I was labeled as a dictator. I guess if being a dictator means you request a democratic vote and ask people to um, please read the book and then show up to book club half the time, then yeah, I’m a dictator and I’m ok with that.

    So book club was a little sad for a while. But then something really cool happened. The hard-core girls who were there to discuss literature with other smart women stayed and recruited, very naturally, new women. And then those women brought new women. And here we are, 4 years later, with the loveliest, ever-growing group of ladies who adore each other, speak freely with each other, pick interesting books from true crime thrillers to what we call “demon porn”, from YA to memoirs of rock bands. It’s awesome. We ALWAYS talk about the book. Sometimes the conversation just GOES. Sometimes it gets LOUD. And other times, it has to be prompted with notes and questions printed off the internet. Not everyone always reads the book, but we’ve established a lot of trust and respect as to why some do or don’t and we don’t question. We also do not track who is coming and when because, trust and respect.

    Bottom line: it’s a great group of smart women who are cultivating friendships and knowledge through a really fun and functional book club. We also eat amazing food and drink delicious wine 🙂 YOU would love it.

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    1. Can I come too?

      Jenny, my book club, which has since dissolved, was exactly what you described to the point where no one was even coming to book club.

      Brittany, I like what you did. It created a group of women who really want to talk about books, which is all I ever wanted in a book club. Don’t get me wrong I love wine and catching up, but I can do that anytime. Mine had been with people from work so I was in a little different territory on the making rules/enforcing voting thing.

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      1. Yes I could see how it would be different when enforcing these rules with colleagues as opposed to friends. It’s a shame to me that so many book clubs out there are liks this. Don’t get me wrong…social interaction and getting together among friends is CRUCIAL, I honestly don’t know what I would do without seeing my friends socially! However, there is a time and a place for this…and disguising it as a get together to discuss a book which never gets discussed just makes me sad.

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  4. Hi! I just found your blog after you posted on EBG. Love it!! So I am not a book club fan, but about a year ago my friend started a Facebook book group. It’s not a book club in the sense that everyone reads the same book. It’s a place for people to post recommendations or ask for recommendations, share book lover memes :-), and discuss books we’ve read! Every Friday my friend posts a “Friday reads” thread. It’s so fun and has motivated me to read more. My kind of book club 🙂

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    1. Amy! Hi! It’s so nice to hear from you, I’m so happy that you are following my blog. Welcome! Your book “club” sounds AMAZING and pretty much the vision that I have for my blog. Have you “liked” the Book Coffee Happy Facebook page? I post stuff like that on there and would love to have you on there, too 🙂 Hope things are going well! Xo!

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