Book Clubs Revisited

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!


About Maureen Lang

Author of a dozen novels, Maureen Lang has won the Selah Award, a Holt Medallion, FHL's Reader's Choice Award, and been a finalist in such contests as the Christy, the Rita, the Carol, Book Buyer's Best, and others. Before publication she was the recipient of a Golden Heart and a Genesis (then called the Noble Theme). She resides with her husband and kids in the Chicago area. Titles by Maureen Lang All In Good Time Bees In The Butterfly Garden Springtime Of The Spirit Whisper On The Wind Look To The East My Sister Dilly On Sparrow Hill The Oak Leaves Remember Me Pieces Of Silver
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3 Responses to Book Clubs Revisited

  1. Sarah Goebel says:

    Hi Maureen. I have never belonged to a book club and really did not know much about them before reading your post. It is interesting. Although I don’t belong to a book club, I always seem to have a pile of books waiting for me to read them. So much to learn and so little time for it!
    I can see how allowing someone else to choose what book is next might be refreshing.


    • Maureen Lang says:

      I’m really grateful to be part of a book club! If you ever want to start one, it’s pretty easy – just invite a bunch of people over (friends, neighbors, people from church, whatever, even if you don’t know them all that well) and put out some snacks (they’ll come for the food if nothing else!). I just really enjoy hearing what other people say about the same story I’ve just read. Sometimes we all see eye-to-eye (more often than not) but then there are the times when others see something I didn’t, or vice versa. It’s interesting!

      The only caution I would have about counseling someone to start a group is that, like any group, it usually starts out with a lot more people than end up coming regularly. Those of us who are the “regulars” in our group have learned not to take the absence of others, or drop outs, personally! Our lives can get so busy and during certain seasons it seems reading is one of the first things to be set aside. As you said in your comment, there’s so little time!!!

      Thanks for your thoughts!


  2. Pingback: Authors Wanted! | Books in the Burbs

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