24.10.12

Why I left Book Group



Last October I decided to do something new (better than buy something new).

A continental style cafe had just opened near us and was starting a book group. Great opportunity, I thought, to discipline myself to read more and to get out and meet people.


I bravely went along to the initial meeting where we politely chatted and put our top three suggestions for a book to discuss into a hat. The titles for the first few months were drawn: Water For Elephants, The Finkler Question and Room.


So I had a whole month to read and digest a new novel. BLISS. I sped read it the weekend before. Panic set in like I hadn't experienced since I was fifteen. Was this for fun, where's the DVD, isn't that what students do nowadays? I speculated.


At the next meeting the coffee was pleasant but the conversation was stilted. No one would actually say that the book wasn't that great (why had we chosen it?). We seemed to be sticking to a script that the leader had found on a website. A third meeting was planned - right I'll give it another go, it will warm up next time, I hoped. This time two people dominated the group. One who openly hadn't read the book (she could have least read the end) yet still 

managed to talk about it and everything else under the sun. And another just fresh from hanging up her graduation gown who thought no one else in our small city had ever been educated. I had some pretty compelling things to say about that book but I decided to keep my own counsel.

Reader, I never went back. Maybe I was unlucky, I don't know. We just didn't seem to gel and I didn't trust the group with my most profound thoughts. I'll stick to Richard and Judy's website and swapping books with my friends and family. Because I think reading should be relaxing, an escape. As it says on the poster: 'My book club reads wine labels'. 


But if anyone's got any recommendations of books or good experiences of book groups then I'd love to hear. 




10 comments :

  1. I always fancy joining a book group, to encourage me to read out of my comfort zone but I have never plucked up the courage! The ones a few of my friends go are called 'book group' but they don't ever read books, just drink wine!
    Room was one of the most amazing books I have ever read x

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    1. I was enthralled by Room too. A good book never leaves you x

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  2. I think letting members choose titles can kill a book club. It's generally assumed that the person who recommends a book likes it enough to be insulted if others criticise their choice, so honest debate can be stilted. It would probably be better to stick a pin in various prize nominations lists or similar and select your reading that way!

    And I know just what you mean about sticking to a script!

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    1. Hi Annie thanks for commenting. I agree with you. I've had a peek at your blog (which I hadn't seen before). Love your style of photography and writing - I'll be back x

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  3. Hi! I'm new to your blog.
    I love reading (almost since I can remember) but curiously I was never interested in participating in a book group. It's like reading (and here I'm talking about fiction reading) is such an intimate thing, that talking about it to a group of people would just 'profane' my reading experience. Crazy, I know.
    Anyway, I'll keep reading you!

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  4. Lovely to hear from you Mopsa and I agree that reading is intimate. Great to find another new blogger interested in simplicity/minimalism. I shall be reading you too xo

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  5. Hi sorry to hear that your trip to the book club wasn't a pleasant experience. I don't read as much as I should like these days but my brother reads loads, took him to the library today and he stocked up for the next month or so. He writes a few reviews on his blog called Badelynge. Why not pop by and have a look

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  6. My friends and family have had mixed experiences at Book Clubs - you are not alone in your reactions. I have decided to stick to blogging-about-books [I get better, cheaper coffee that way AND I can do it in the comfort of my own home, in my own time!

    blessings x

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  7. Well if people can't be bothered to talk then you can't bleame people who do! Without them the group would be even more dull. You had a choice and you decided to keep quiet. That was a shame but don't blame others - you were even more boring!!

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