The Thursday meme courtesy of Booking Through Thursday:
Have you ever been a member of a book club? How did your group choose (or, 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?
I’ve been a member of a Yahoo book club in the past. I don’t really remember how they picked the books that we voted on. As for who led the discussion, nobody did really. The group “facilitator” didn’t really facilitate. I was pretty frustrated with that group, left, and I don’t miss it all that much. Now, I have my own book discussion group on Ning. During a normal month, I pick three books from our list of suggested reading, minus themed books such as Christmas books, by using a MASH sort of method. Then, those three books are voted on by our members. Either Jennifer or I will start the discussion and then, as people finish the book, members contribute their thoughts. While a new book is chosen every month, the previous months’ discussions never close so that if someone misses out or new members join, they can still read and discuss the books too. For June, we had a contest so the whole method for choosing a book was way different.
I definitely am not less likely to appreciate the books we choose just because I didn’t pick them out myself. I look forward to the opportunity to read and discuss books that I might not have chosen myself. One of my favorite books that we’ve read so far is Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods and I never would have picked it up on my own. Our members have also voiced similar opinions even if they didn’t enjoy the book(s) at all.
Knowing that they are going to be discussed does affect the reading experience for me. If I’m reading a book that I’m really enjoying, I look forward to expressing my enjoyment with the group. If I’m reading a book that I know is a bit controversial for our group, I greatly anticipate the possible debates and just seeing what everyone else is going to say.
Overall, despite being apprehensive at starting my own group and the ups and downs, it’s been a great experience. The “main” members, or the ones who participate regularly, are a great group of people.
I hope this didn’t end up sounding like an endorsement for my group, lol, but oh well if it did. ;)