Book Club

Monday, October 5, 2015

I love my book club. For years I tried to find a good one, but every time I joined a new one I would once again be disappointed. Each time I quickly discovered that “book club” was mom code for “get out of the house and hang out with people.” Which is great except, I didn’t know those people well enough to want to talk about their kids for 30 minutes, I wanted to talk about the book! We rarely even got around it, which is just not cool.

So time and time again, I realized that every book club made up of 20 and 30-somethings was not for me. Believe me, I have nothing against sitting around and drinking wine or coffee and chatting. It’s just I’d just rather do that with my friends than with a group of people I don’t know well.

In 2009 a woman I'd met in the United We Read program I used to participate in invited me to her book club. I've been a member ever since. During my first meeting they showed me a list of books they’d read and rated over the past decade and the vast majority were ones that I either loved or had on my TBR list.

I’m the youngest member in the group by about 30 years and it’s perfect. It’s a small group, but one that’s very committed to reading the book and showing up for the meetings. If someone can't make it we normally move the meeting around. They are almost all retired and have wonderful stories about places they've traveled to and things they've experienced. Our difference in age and personalities allows for a diverse reaction to books and great discussions. Each year we try to read at least one mystery, nonfiction and classic in addition to various fiction.

Tell me about your book clubs? What do you love about them or what would you change?


Kay said...

When I worked at the library, one of my favorite duties was to moderate the book group that was started in 2007. That group still exists, but after I left the library one of the volunteers, who was also a member of the group, took over the moderator duties. I still check in with them from time to time, but don't attend regularly.

After our first group was such a success, I asked my manager if I could begin a mystery book group (as that was my favorite type of book to read). She agree and we had our first meeting in February 2008. That group is still in existence and I am still the moderator. I love the group and we have many faithful members, at least 4 who joined it in the first 6 months. Most of us are in our 50+ stage of life, empty nesters, but avid readers. We have a couple of members that are younger, but they have both expressed some of the same things you did here. They want to talk about the books. LOL

Enjoyed hearing the story of your group, Melissa!

Meg @ write meg! said...

How fun! I absolutely love the idea of a book club, but have never joined one. Coworkers and friends have made overtures to start them over the years, but they never got off the ground. I was looking into a few at the local library before the baby came along, but now I'm lucky if I read 20 pages each night before totally zonking out. Hopefully one day! I love that you found a great one!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

Love this!! When I very first started going to a book club (which is now defunct), it was mostly made up of older women and I found that we really focused on the books rather than our lives. Eventually the group became younger and younger and while it's fun to get together and gab, I never felt like we talked about books enough! Sometimes we wouldn't discuss the book at all. You're lucky to have met your perfect group!

Anonymous said...

It took me a very long time to find any book club that a) wasnt meeting in the daytime which was useless for working people or b) was really a gossip group masquerading as a book club just like your experience. I go to one in a bookshop and we have a lovely range of ages with the eldest member 91 years old. i like the people but they often choose books that really don't interest me.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Kay - That sounds wonderful! I've always thought it would be fun to have a themed book club, maybe classics. I might have to take that on one day.

Meg - Yeah, starting a book club with a newborn doesn't seem like the perfect time. I think getting really involved with a good one has to coincide with the right time in life. I'm hoping mine will be patient if I have to be a little MIA with my little one next year.

Trish - It's all about finding the one that fits what you need right now!

bookertalk - Yes! I love having an age range. It means the attendees have a diverse collection of experiences. I love that my book club is very collaborative when it comes to choosing books. We keep an ongoing list all year of possibilities, then we choose the next year's books at our October meeting. If there's one someone really doesn't want to read then we just axe it.

Mari said...

This sounds great. My book group is more of the kind that is not for you, but we are friends- since college - and this is usually the only time we hang out. :)

thecuecard said...

Sounds like a small but good club! My book club is about 6 people too, and older. What I like about it is that whoever picks the book often takes you out of your own reading wheelhouse to try new things. It seems to broaden my reading scope, and I like the discussions.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

You are lucky to have found a nice bookclub. I joined one years ago and wasn't happy as (1) person seemed to dominated the conversation. I was on a waiting list for a library bookclub and a spot finally opened up for October so I am looking forward to my first meeting the end of the month.

Debbie said...

Oh my gosh!! I belong to 3.5 book clubs. The point 5 is the Literary Guild, where all the little old ladies get together at a local restaurant and give "book reports". We don't read the same books. My friends and I are the youngest in that group---and we are in our 50's.
I also belong to a Library Book club, which meets at the library once a month--only about 6 or 7of us, again, mostly older ladies (older than me)
And the others? Well here you can check them out here:

In one of them, I am the average age-- 50ish,
but in the other--I AM the older lady!!! LOL
So, my book club friends range in age from 23 to 83.

And weird, but I just realized that we've had members pass away from old age (the Literary Club) and one night at book club, one of our members had a baby. Well---she was at the hospital -- we carried on with book club while getting updates all evening.
I love the age range and diversity that the women bring to each group.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Mari - That's wonderful. There's definitely nothing wrong with that. When I join a new one though I always feel like I have friends I want to hang out with just to chat, at my book club I want to talk about books :)

thecuecard - I completely agree with that. I've discovered some books that I never would have tried if we hadn't read them in book club.

Diane - I can't believe your library has a waiting list for its book club! It's great that the demand is so high!

Debbie - I loev the "book report" idea. What a great way to hear about more books! I also love the variety in ages in your groups. That makes for the best book clubs!

Anonymous said...

People tease me because I'm "in" so many book clubs, but there are only one or two that I go to every meeting for - the one I formed at my office, which focuses on shorter works since "no one has time to read" (that's what they say,anyway. I still get almost a booka week finished). And a "meetup" Book Club that meets at the Rathskeller (where the fact that they have Two-Hearted Ale on tap is admittedly part of the appeal) which is a pretty fun group that is developing a good core of people whose thoughts about the books I look forward to listening to each month. I WAS going pretty regularly to a group that met at Indy Reads Books, but they are all pretty much (significantly) younger than I and organizationally they refuse to pick a regular meeting time (and Stick to it!) which I think is a must for me. Everyone has conflicts occasionally, but to reschedule over and over again is a deal killer for me. But I reallyenjoyed the people in the pat group too, and hope it doesn't Peter out altogether. I still go to the Vonnegut Library Book Club fairly often but they meet in the middle of the day on a weekday and its a challenge forme to miss work regularly like that. When I go, I usually just take th afternoon off. :-) I stoppd going to a Great Books Foundation group at the Nora Library,where I was the youngest by far but didn't have enough members to always ensure a decent discussion.

What else? I still stop by Bookmama's Bookstore inIrvington every now and then when their club reads a book I'm interested in. Same for the Carmel Library's book clubs which meet at the library which is an easy trip from my office.

One member of the Rathskeller club once 'busted me' at Indy Reads when I was meeting with that club, and they now call the indy reads club my "Mistress Book Club" - I don't have the heart to tell them I was going to indy Reads BEFORE the Rathskeller,which would actually make THEM my MBC. :-)

How's that for a long-winded answer? :-)

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

bibliophilica - You hit up so many good ones! I think it's hilarious that you got "busted" cheating on your book club. I would love to attend some of the ones you mentioned but I know that taking on even more right now is not the best idea. Maybe in another year or two.