The Book Club

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.

Snow White Red-HandedAs 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?

17 Thoughts

  1. I just moved to a small city, and I know there are book groups around, but when I ask enthusiastically about a group, the answering description sounds like a closed group, not interested in new members. Your post reminds me that, since I want to find a group, I need to keep an ear open and continue asking!

  2. I haven’t been a member of a book club since one in my workplace years ago. Where the three guys with PhDs wanted to dissect and analyze. No thanks. I’d rather be part of a group of women drinking wine and having fun discussions – like several of the groups I’ve been invited to visit as an author!

  3. I have been in quite a few book clubs as we moved across the country. They can be like the story of Goldilocks some were too big, some were too small, and some were just right. The good thing about book clubs is they force me to read books I might not read otherwise.

  4. I’ve never been part of a book club. I have no many books I am dying to read, I don’t want to read something someone else picks for me. Heck, some of the online groups I’m part of have official books read for discussion, and maybe once or twice a year I’ll read one if it happens to already be on my TBR piles.

    However, I have to second the recommendation for Snow White Red-Handed. I read it last month and I absolutely loved it. Can’t wait for the second in September.

    1. Mark, the ladies were telling me about Snow White Red-Handed and I was so intrigued! I am putting it near the top of my TBR pile. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I’ve never been part of a book club either but I have been a visiting author at several and they all seem like such fun that sometimes I feel tempted to join one. Thanks of the post, Jane!

  6. I have belonged to a book club for a little over a year now and I love it! Originally I went only because a friend of mine didn’t want to be the oldest person there. She started the group (as part of her job with Sprouts)to get young moms to meet in the area. I went having no intention of joining. What could I have in common with women who are in their early to mid twenties with toddlers when my kids are college age? Well, it ended up there were some older moms as well and now we go out of our way not to miss a meeting. I have met some interesting ladies, read quite a few books I would never have known about and have enjoyed all types of wine. I highly recommend joining a book club.

    1. I see we’re back to the wine, LOL! Definitely sounds like fun. I love that you have women of all different ages that you can hang out with. What a gift!

  7. I work as a library clerk, and another library clerk and I started a book club in April. The hardest part is picking out a book to read. We are both the youngest people in the book club (she’s early 20s and I’m early 30s) and most of the other ladies that come are at least 50+. We try to read a different genre each month, and we need to pick a book that is appropriate (both for topic and for discussing), has multiple copies available through our library system, and is available in many formats (regular print, large print, audio, ebook). We do enjoy our discussions and it is nice to be able to talk with others about books and I’ve read books I may not have read otherwise.

    1. Sounds complicated! And thanks for doing it. I’m sure your patrons appreciate it. Hooray for libraries! Most of my first book, Feta Attraction, was written in my local library. I still go there to write sometimes when I need to mix it up and see different people (not necessarily interact, just see them).

  8. I am the official librarian facilitator for our local book club. (That means I’m the one responsible for getting the books through interlibrary loan.) It’s is a nearly impossible task to find a book that everyone wants to read. We’ve solved that problem by including theme months into our schedule. At that time we all find a different book to read on the same topic such as the civil war, women’s issues, Christmas or once for St. Patrick’s Day in March, any book with a grean cover. It makes for some interesting discussions.

    And BTW, I have read Snow White, Red Handed and enjoyed it very much! I already have Maia Chance’s next titles down on my list, even though they haven’t bee released yet.

    1. Again, thank you libraries and librarians! A theme month sounds like a great solution, and a wonderful way to introduce club members to new genres and authors. Win-win!

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