Thursday, June 12, 2008

Club Footnotes

Today's BTT question:
A combo of two suggestions by: Heidi and by litlove

Have you ever been a member of a book club? How did your group choose (ot, if you haven’t been, what do you think is the best way to choose) the next book and who would lead discussion?

Do you feel more or less likely to appreciate books if you are obliged to read them for book groups rather than choosing them of your own free will? Does knowing they are going to be read as part of a group affect the reading experience?

When I moved back to Newfoundland a few years ago, I lived in a VERY small town of just a couple hundred people or so. While I'm sure, had I taken the initiative to find them, there must have been some like-minded readers amongst the bunch, I was content to discover the world of lit-blogs and let the locals read through the romances, westerns, and Christian books that dominated their tiny library. But when I finally moved back to Nunavut, the prospect of meeting with an actual face-to-face book club was too much to resist.

Initially we chose our books the democratic way: voting. This worked fine for a while until my inner communist came out. While I was okay sometimes reading other people's choices, I started to feel like mine were never going to be picked. In a popularity contest, my books were zitty kids with bad breath. So, I suggested that we each pick one book and a monthly schedule was drawn up ensuring everyone had a turn.

We had one individual that was sort of unofficially in charge. She sent out monthly reminders and kept everything organized in terms of meeting places, book lists, and so forth. We were all very thankful for that. But, no one really led the discussions. They sort of just fell into place. Usually whoever picked the book began, but the conversation just flowed naturally from there. There was never a real formal study, and I really appreciated the relaxed atmosphere-- it especially helped when there were differences of opinions.

In less than three weeks I'm moving again. I'm excited and nervous about finding and joining another bookclub. Comparing them will be interesting, in any case.


Anonymous said...

Good luck to you on finding a new book club. It sounds like you have some good experience behind you and can help guide your next book club. I laughed at your description of your book selections. How did they go over during the meetings?

Lesley said...

I'm a book club reject — I probably should have tried a bit harder to fall in, but ... nyah!

Anonymous said...

I hope you find a good group. I'm also looking for a real book club to join. I've been here for a while and haven't found anything yet.

BooksPlease said...

It sounds like you found a good club in the end with every one having a turn to pick a book. I hope you find a good one with your next move, with just such a relaxed atmosphere.

Anonymous said...

I love the sound of your book club. My experience was not as pleasant. I like the idea of a schedule with each person selecting a book.

Anonymous said...

Near my new place, I can't find any library. Let alone a book club. Not that I am keen to join any. After my intial bad experience, I prefer to read alone!

Booking through clubbing

Chrisbookarama said...

I think a bookclub's success really hinges on having at least one person in charge of the little details.

Unknown said...

Chris is right. My club has been meeting for 15 years. Members have come and gone, but there is one person who has always been there and always taken care of the details.

Here's my BTT

John Mutford said...

Literatehousewife: Last time my pick was Paul Glennon's Dodecahedron. I think the reluctance was due to no one having heard of it (despite a nomination for a Governor General's award). Most people found it intriguing and seemed to be thankful for the suggestion.

Lesley: A book club shouldn't be work. Try to fall in...bah.

Thatsthebook: With a place the size of Yellowknife, I'm hoping I can even be choosy!

Booksplease: They'll all get tired of hearing about "the way my old book club used to do it..."

Bookgal: It certainly helped keep people from dominating.

Gautami: Yeah, I just read yours. Ouch.

Chris: Once the woman who took care of those things left town and asked me to take over. I REALLY appreciated what she does after that.

C.B. James: Sounds like they're cut from the same cloth.

John (@bookdreamer) said...

Yep always the proactical details that trips up!
My his he being serious post!

Bybee said...

Good luck finding a new book group...I finally found one here after almost three years, and it's going well.