As much as I’ve always loved reading, and as many books as I’ve read over the years, I’ve only been a member of an official book club for a little over 3 years. I cannot tell you how much I’ve enjoyed it!
This is how our book club works: each month, one member (whose name is chosen on a rotational basis and/or had her name picked out of a hat) gets to suggest three books for that month’s choice. It’s so fun to have someone else sort through the titles they’d like to read – most I’ve never heard of! Then within a few days after our meeting, our members vote for one of the three, easily done via a poll on Goodreads, which offers a description of each book as well as access to all the reviews we care to read. Simple and effective.
One of the best things I’ve discovered about being in a book club is that I’m reading books I never would have heard about otherwise. Well, perhaps I would have eventually heard of some. We’ve read many books that have been (or become) really popular, like The Help, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. When we heard The Help was going to be made into a movie we planned a “field trip” and met at the theater to watch it together.
And we’ve chosen other books that were the basis of movies, too, like a couple of old titles Practical Magic and Chocolat. We rented the movie and watched it at a subsequent meeting. Usually I prefer the book to the movie, but with Chocolat all of us preferred the movie, believe it or not. And the sequel to this book, written by the same author, was a sequel to the more popular movie than the book. So sometimes the visual media really can do a better job than print. Who knew? Certainly not me.
Belonging to a book club is a bit like having homework sometimes. Because I don’t want to let the group down by not participating, I always try to read the book that’s chosen. I admit I’ve slogged through some. One that went a bit slow for me was a classic by Wilkie Collins, Lady In White. I guess my tastes have just become to modernly impatient. But most often I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve liked others, like a Young Adult novel called Delirium and another brutal but compelling read like The True Story of Hansel and Gretel. The list is wide and varied, and I’ve found it really helpful to be “assigned” the books so I have a deadline to finish them, and then look forward to hearing how the others felt about it.
So how about you? Do you belong to a book club? Have you ever thought about starting one? I’m almost always reading something, but this book club has definitely widened my considerations and broadened my taste!