Author Topic: Book Clubs  (Read 839 times)

Captain Crunch

  • Twister, Dustbuster, Hospital Bed
Book Clubs
« on: January 14, 2018, 07:38:23 PM »
Are you in any book clubs or have you tried in the past with disastrous results?

I used to be in one that only discussed utopian books.  As you can imagine we ran out of suitable books over time so started to alternate between utopian and dystopian books and sometimes we watched a film or play instead.  It was quite good fun but as the group was very small (four on a good day), we started to know what everyone would think about a particular book or film before the discussion.  It broke up in the end – one person moved out of town and two others went off to have babies – but we still meet up now and then just for fun.

After that finished I joined a bigger, more general book club in town where you get a choice of three books every month and you spend a couple of hours in the pub talking about them.  It’s all very polite, there hasn’t been any violence yet .  I’m currently reading The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer for it.  Previous books include Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari, You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman and My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young.

Some of the people who go to the general book club have had bad experiences in the past.  There’s one, I think it might in a bookshop, where you have to sit in a circle and make your points one after the other.  Others are more like study groups from what I’ve heard.

What have your experiences been like? 

icehaven

  • I will be in the bar, with my head on the bar
Re: Book Clubs
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2018, 07:49:17 AM »
I run two as part of my job (prison librarian) and have been trying to get another started for a while but lack of staff has put the kibosh on it so far.

One is more of a relaxation group for detoxers where we listen to a talking book and it's mainly a chance to get away from the wing and take their minds off things for a bit, while the other is a more traditional read between meetings and then discuss group. We meet weekly so tend towards a collection of short stories and poetry, essays, long articles etc. but do a whole book if I need to skip a week. Finding the material each week can be a bit of a mither, particularly given the material has to be appropriate (or not inappropriate), but it's one of my favourite parts of my job, not least as it's a popular thing, and I never fail to be surprised by various participant's reactions/ opinions etc.

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: Book Clubs
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2018, 05:10:36 PM »
When I wasn't working (around 2010) I discovered a group which met in the town library every month. I saw from the poster that this month they were reading The Rotters Club - which I'd already read - so I decided to go and see what it was about.

They all sat round a big table and, basically, talked about the book - what they thought it was about, whether they liked it or not.

We then had to write three or four sentences reviewing the book, and these were pinned to the board for people to read.

They were all at least 10 years older than me, pretty welcoming... and so I picked up a copy of the next book on the list.

I think I kept going for about 5 months, giving up in the end because they chose White Teeth, a slightly thicker book than they usually went for, and having got a job, I found I didn't have time to finish it.

It was an interesting experience. For one thing they mainly chose books I wouldn't normally have read, and made me think about them more than I normally perhaps would have. I mean, I do think about what I read, but something about having to distil those thoughts into a three minute speech which is then discussed, is quite a good discipline.

I remember the only book I didn't like was an Ian Rankin (non Rebus) one - and I was disappointed, because I always imagined I *would* quite like Rankin.

Re: Book Clubs
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2018, 11:07:06 PM »
They've always sounded like hideous things to me, gruesome ceremonies of intellectual piety and posturing.  When I talk about a film, book or whatever that has moved me with particular intensity one way or the other, I'm always conscious of floundering when trying to describe, without using cliches, how I felt and why.  And I get infuriated when people, who don't respond particularly strongly to any works, use nothing but cliches.  Not irritated, infuriated.  So I'm not the best person to participate in such things.

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
    • International Syndicate of Cult Film Critics
Re: Book Clubs
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2018, 11:01:28 PM »
AV Club did a book club, and I read stuff I'd not normally have bothered with - irritatingly, I can't remember any of them. There's one which I thought was Iris Murdoch but isn't (it's a true crime story about a middle aged couple and one of them murders the other), a novel about wrestling which I thought might have been Michael Chabon but wasn't, and...I think "The Intuitionist" by Colson Whitehead, so I do remember one I guess. Worth it if you have the time to expand your horizons.

Re: Book Clubs
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2018, 02:00:59 PM »