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Thread: Does anyone belong to a book club?

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    Forum Assistant sweetpea's Avatar
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    Does anyone belong to a book club?

    I have my first meeting of the book club I was asked to join this Saturday. I was an English major in University, and have been an avid reader my entire life. I've read almost everything, from a Stephen King and Robert Ludlum phase in my youth, to the classics (named my daughter after an Austen character!), to plays, novellas, poetry, etc. But I'm a little stymied when it comes to recommending a book for this group when my turn roles around. I love quirky books, chick lit, well-written and engrossing fantasy, historical fiction, even really good young adult books...basically I will read anything that interests me and I am not a book snob in the slightest. I'm just not sure if the other people in the group will enjoy reading the same things I do, so am hesitant to suggest anything.

    Any suggestions for great reads for a book club? The book we are discussing on Saturday is Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons which at first I didn't get into (seemed too Desperate Housewives/Wysteria Lane) but eventually did start to enjoy and relate to. It's about a group of friends who form a book club that lasts 30 years and sees them through all of the ups and downs of their lives. Not sure where to go after this. Do people usually recommend something they have read before or do they go for something new to the group??

    Do you belong to a book club? What is your format? What kinds of books do you read? Do you actually discuss the books or is it more social?

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    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone belong to a book club?

    The book club I run is very narrow in its focus because we used to be affiliated with an art museum. We only read books about art or artists - fiction and non-fiction.

    Does your book club have a set focus or do they read all kinds of books? Maybe you could ask for a list of their previous selections and that would give you an idea of what types of books they're interested in. I find Amazon to be a good source of book suggestions. Each book listing has links to other books that may be similar and they're often books I haven't read. Honestly, I'd just ask what genres they like to focus on and go from there, although I probably wouldn't feel comfortable recommending a book for everyone to read right after I joined a book club either.

    A friend of mind is in a book club that chooses their books in a really cool way. The person who is hosting the book club that month chooses the book as well, BUT - they have to pick the genre out of a hat. They read everything from literary fiction to sci fi to biographies and everything else. It's forced them to read things they normally wouldn't read and has given them some really good discussions.
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

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    FORT Fogey norealityhere's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone belong to a book club?

    I just attended book club tonight.
    THis particular one is mystery, but I go to others, as well.
    We have a facilitator at this one. Specific questions are asked in order to get the conversation going. Then, we allow it to go on unless we see it straying too far from the topic. THis also allows everyone an opportunity to talk without any one person just totally dominating it.
    Tonight, we discussed Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
    It was very well attended and everybody talked and everybody had a lot of opinions. Probably 1 of the best book groups I've been to.
    I think it's important to have a moderator / facilitator and have specific questions prepared. I've been to far too many where it just becomes a social hour and the book never gets discussed.
    As far as books to suggest when it's your turn, I'd take my cues from the group and what they seem to like. Amazon has some really good book club tips online. I try to recommend books thatI've read before and enjoyed, but I'm also game to venture out of my comfort zone. Kind of depends on the rset of the members.
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    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone belong to a book club?

    I don't know that you necessarily have to have prepared questions. My book club tried that and it didn't work for us. I facilitate, along with another person and it works for us to keep the format looser. It just varies with the group, I think.
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

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    Re: Does anyone belong to a book club?

    FORT is my book club! My MIL belonged to one and she used to give me the books when she was done....very eclectic, all fiction.
    I agree, you should ask for a list of what they've read before---after all, you don't want to recommend something they've already done! --and that will give you good guidance as to their taste, and to the length of the books they've read. For example, the Outlander books (see other thread) or the The Girl With/Who books are great, but they are pretty long ... would work for a club that meets every month but maybe not every week if the people in it have jobs, etc.

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    Forum Assistant sweetpea's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone belong to a book club?

    Thanks for the comments! This is a new group, actually, just formed and our first meeting. A lady I worked with in a high school library started it, so it's mostly a group of people she knows. I guess I'll get a better idea of how things will run after Saturday. She suggested that one person host/choose the book, another person find some discussion prompts, and a 3rd person to research the next book/host the next meeting. Not sure how it will all work yet.

    I agree about FORT being my book club. I've gotten tons of suggestions from reading here. I like the idea of drawing the genre out of a hat...that would make for some interesting selections I'm sure, and would certainly help to take people out of their comfort zones.

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    FORT Fogey justCoz's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone belong to a book club?

    The book club I'm in meets once a month. We meet at the library if the meeting rooms are available. We have one person "in charge." It used to be someone else, but she started working more, so another lady took over. She usually goes online to get discussion questions. We never follow those exactly because they don't always fit our group. Sometimes those questions will spark other discussions. Our group is pretty good at staying on topic, and when it starts veering off it's usually time for the meeting to be over.

    We've been doing it for a few years now. At this point we take recommendations for books. Our facilitator makes sure there will be enough copies of the books at the library, since a lot of the people don't buy books but borrow them. In past years we've almost gone month to month in choosing, but this year we are more prepared and have half of the year planned at a time. At this point we know the books for the next 6 months. That way people who take a long time to read can get started if they need to. One lady who teaches was happy with this arrangement because it's much easier for her to read books in the summer and so she'll be able to read some before school starts again. Have fun. We have so much fun at our group.

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    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone belong to a book club?

    We pick our books about a year out. Right now, we've got them planned until about next May. Some of our members get them from the library but because we choose kind of unusual books, they aren't always available from the library. I have a resale license, so I'm ordering the books for everyone directly from the publisher. They just pay me for the book, plus sales tax and whatever their share of the shipping is and it's still around the same as Amazon or a little less.

    Sweetpea, sometimes it's helpful to have everyone talk about the kinds of books they want to read so you can all get a feel for what the group will focus on. You don't have to get specific, but it might help to know what everyone expects out of the book club.

    My mom is in two book clubs - one that meets at the local Barnes and Noble and another that is part of a community group. The B&N group reads paperback fiction and non-fiction, but focuses mainly on fiction. They started out with the facilitator - a B&N employee - picking all the books, but now they all suggest titles and it works. The only problem with her other book club is that the members asked to see the list of books from my mom's B&N group and now they have started choosing their books from that list!
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

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    Yes we Did! - Twice!! Katydyd's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone belong to a book club?

    We have a great mystery book store where I live, and I belong to a club that meets once a month. We read, well, mysteries Critical, our club sounds like yours in that we choose our books close to a year out. Sometimes we'll do a mini theme - like foreign authors or mysteries set in other countries, for several months. Sweetpea, I wouldn't hestitate to make a suggestion of a book you like or are interested in reading when the time comes. That's part of the fun of joining a book club . You'll get the chance to read a bunch of books that maybe you wouldn't have otherwise picked up. Who knows what gem you might introduce someone else to? Or not But sometimes the best discussions come about when some in the group really like the book, and others don't. Have fun on Saturday!
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    REMAIN INDOORS MotherSister's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone belong to a book club?

    Quote Originally Posted by sweetpea;3935992;
    The book we are discussing on Saturday is Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons which at first I didn't get into (seemed too Desperate Housewives/Wysteria Lane) but eventually did start to enjoy and relate to.
    That's Lorna Landvik isn't it? I haven't read that one, but I liked two of her others -- Oh My Stars and Patty Jane's House of Curl. They're sometimes a little trite, but she draws really great characters. Perfect spring/summer reading.

    I've been wanting to form a book club for some time, but no one I know is interested. I am part of an online reading group, which is actually pretty fun. We're genre-focused too, but as far as selections, we just do a free-for-all suggestion period, and then vote on the next book a month in advance.

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