Susannah here, enjoying a cool Connecticut breeze and a cup of good coffee…
Last night I attended a meeting of a local book club. Not as a speaker, but as a potential member.
Um, big deal, Suze. Aren’t you a writer? Why wouldn’t you be part of a book club?
Well, it’s a question I’ve asked myself. And there are reasons why, up till this point, I’ve resisted.
- I love books, that should be obvious. But all day (and often well into the evening, depending on my deadline status) I’m working with books in some manner: writing them, editing them for other people at Crazy Diamond Editing Services, reading critically for friends, doing social media and marketing, fulfilling obligations to my writers’ group (CTRWA), and, well, books or the business of books are in my head pretty much all the time. My pleasure reading time is drastically reduced from my pre-writer days (not that I don’t double dip in the pleasure-reading well with some of the above activities). Did I really want to add one more book a month to the mix? Especially one chosen by someone else when there are so many on my own TBR list?
- Would the group want me? Now that I’ve “crossed over” into published author territory, would they see me as intrusive? A Know-It-All? Mercenary, just there to try to hawk my own books or my friends’ books? Would my presence at the group make anyone feel they couldn’t be perfectly honest about what they thought about the book being discussed?
- Related to the above, could I be perfectly honest about what I thought about the book? The answer there is, probably not. While I could be honest (and usually am) with my very best writer friends about my opinions on a particular book, I would feel like I needed to censor my thoughts with a group of readers. No way am I going to break the Author Code and criticize another author–and yet, I did just that last night. Not for the book being discussed, but for a recent runaway best seller that really rankles me on a lot of levels. So I would always need to be aware to be on my Special Best Author Behavior.
As it turned out, only two people showed up to the book club meeting, the lovely organizer and one lovely reader/discusser. And we had a wonderful conversation about a book I hadn’t yet read (Maia Chance’s Snow White Red-Handed)–and now want to! Because this book sounds like lots of fun, and I probably wouldn’t have planned to make time for it if it hadn’t been personally recommended by other readers.
They asked me to come back, both as a member and an author later in the year, so I guess they want me. I’m still deciding whether to join the group officially. I may wait until the end of the year, when one of my other commitments will end. Nature abhors a vacuum, LOL!
Are you a member of a book club? What were/are your experiences? If you are also a writer, did it change your outlook or approach?