{DISCUSSION} Book Clubs

Book Clubs

“Man, I wish I had someone to talk to about this amazing/horrible book.”
“Why don’t you join a book club?”

Ever run into that? Ever had people take about their book clubs and been like ‘aw man. I wish I was in a book club. That would be so cool.‘ Yeah, I’ve definitely been that person. I’ve been that person more than once, in fact. I run into people who are in book clubs, who talk about their book clubs, who discuss their book clubs with people who aren’t in the book club and all of it sounds like an awesome idea… until you really think about it.

From what I’ve heard, a book club is a democracy. The members of the book club throw out ideas for what book they want to read over the course of the month/week/etc and then they come back and discuss it. Perhaps there’s a genre or theme for the book club so members aren’t throwing out every book on God’s green Earth, but there are still dozens to hundreds of possibilities for the book club to read. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Not only will you be able to discuss books with people, but you’ll also get to really work on your TBR… next month… when they pick a book on your TBR… or perhaps the month after that… or maybe… You see where I’m going? From what I’ve heard through the grapevine (as I’ve never been part of a book club myself and only have second-hand experience), it’s a very real possibility for the book of the month to be something you’re not interested in reading. What if it happens more than once? What if it happens a lot?

Okay sure. Maybe you’re in the wrong book club and you should find one more suited to your tastes (or TBR), but there’s never a perfect scenario. There’s never going to be a perfect book club where you get to read the right book at the right time and that’s what bothers me. Yeah, I think it’d be great to have the chance to sit down and chat about a book with people who love reading as much as I do, but I don’t like reading books I’m not interested in reading or reading on someone else’s schedule. (I did enough of that in middle and high school.) I’m an adult now. I have choices. And my choices are not on that book club’s TBR.

It’s for this reason that I find myself not liking book clubs. They might be great for other people, but they’re not what I’m looking for because I like to read at my own pace, on my own time, and what I want when I want. I have a dozen+ books sitting in my bedroom waiting to be read. I don’t want to have to set those aside for a book I’ve never heard of or have little interest in. I want to burn through the books I already own and enjoy reading. After all, that’s what reading’s all about: enjoyment.

Even though book clubs aren’t for me, maybe they’re for other people, maybe they’re for you! Do you belong to a book club? Have you left a book club before?

Let me know in the comments below what you think about book clubs. I want to hear all about it! ^.^


And check out my discussion from last week:
Hype = Book Death?

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57 thoughts on “{DISCUSSION} Book Clubs

  1. Hey Melanie!
    Some girls and I just launched the first event of our new book club yesterday and it was great. I’ve never really had anyone to discuss the books I read with, besides my sister, so it was amazing to see how other people think about something you’ve all read and to hear their comments and thoughts.
    Your post made me think about how other view book clubs!
    Happy reading, always!

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    1. Hi there, Leen! Thank you for commenting and I agree: people think differently about book clubs. It’s always very interesting to see what people have to say based on their experiences. I’m happy you enjoyed your book club and I hope it continues to be exactly what you want. After all, we all just want to talk about books with other people. ^.^ (Though, I’m trying a couple different alternatives to book clubs to see if I like those better.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi! I’ve nominated you for the “One Lovely Blog” award. I absolutely love your blog! Check out my latest post to know more about the award and its rules. Have a nice day! 🙂

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        1. Aw! Thank you, Leen! ^.^ I have received this award before. So, I may not post a new post for it, but I did comment back on your blog! ^.^

          P.s. If you link to another blogger’s post here on WordPress, it should auto-notify them. (but it has to be a post, not a page.)

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I personally don’t mind reading books I hate, so that’s never been a deciding factor for me with book clubs. I would so much rather read a book I’d rate 1-2 stars than a book that I’d rate 3-3.5 stars. 3 stars for me is a “it wasn’t great, it wasn’t bad, it was just kind of there, I don’t feel strongly about this book.” and I hate it when that happens. I want books to make me feel passionately on some level. I mean ideally the book club would help me find a lot of 4-5 star books that become my new favorites. But even if I (or someone else) hates a book, at least the author did something right and made me and other readers feel passionately about the story right? To often I’ve seen books voted for that I know would get a meh review from me. If I already feel super meh about the idea of the book, I’m not going to spend time on it.

    I like doing reading challenges sometimes though! Like the Horror Reading Challenge that the Cornerfolds blog is hosting. Pretty much you read whatever horror books you want and by the end of the year, tally up how many you’ve read (and reviewed!). That’s the kind of thing I can get behind. Plenty of wiggle room in my reading choices, and plenty of flexibility in case something major happens life wise.

    I love the idea of book clubs but online ones I’ve tried just don’t work for me. In the ones I’ve joined (and as said by Magini, there’s a variety) typically there’s two books that are voted for so us readers have options, but frequently I’m just not interested in one or both options. Too often books are voted for/selected that are new and my library doesn’t have them yet. And while I’d read the book if I could do so through the library, I’m not quite ready to drop $9-20 on a book I know little to nothing about. That makes the club less fun and interesting for me, and makes it harder for me to get involved in the talks. At this point I just kind of stay away from book clubs. Too much aggravation otherwise.

    I find that challenges are a good alternative to book clubs though! You can talk about a genre and the books you’ve read in detail and have that great group feel as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Huh… So, correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re saying that if a book gets a 1 or 2 star review, the author did something right? To me, that’s counterintuitive. For me, the book gets 1 or 2 stars because it’s bad and it’s bad because the author wrote a bad story with lots of plot holes or weak characters or unfinished world building. On the other hand, if there is a character I hate because of who the character is, not because they’re written poorly, then that is still going to get a good review from me. I will actually being doing a discussion on weak vs. weakly-written characters in August. (Though, I agree about 3 star books. Meh books are not fun because they leave little to talk about.)

      I actually joined that reading challenge this year, but feel like I’m missing the point. Aren’t you still lacking the discussion with the reading challenge? I mean, if there’s no guarantee that people are reading the same book as you? Perhaps I need some clarification on what reading challenges are about since this is my first year participating.

      Ah! Yes! I completely agree with the idea of having to pay for new books just to read for a book club. That bothers me, especially when I have such a large number of books sitting in my room already that need to be read.

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      1. When an author writes and publishes something, aside from getting the story out there and making money off of it, they are trying to make people feel. Feel what? Anything! So while the author probably had plot holes galore, poorly written characters and problematic rhetoric (which can range from abilism to racism), they at least made me feel something when I rate the book 1-2 stars. They did something right in that regard. A 3 star book didn’t/doesn’t do that for me.

        If a writer is good enough to make me hate a character because the character is awful (Yes, looking at you Umbridge!), that’s a sign of good writing and that’s going to make my rating higher. You’re right that is totally different than a badly written character!

        So yes, I do think that the author did something right when it comes down to 1-2 star books because I felt something strongly. Ideally every author wants that something to be positive, but taste is so subjective anyway.

        To me a reading challenge is about finding new books and connecting with others that have an interest in the same genre. So if, for example, I read Hell House for my horror reading challenge and maybe two other people did, we could talk about it, and other people who are interested in reading that book could join in the talk too. There’s no guarantee, as you’ve said, but I personally think that keeps things fun. It’s a surprise who’s reading what and it’s such a joy to see people get excited over what they’re currently reading. For me that’s where the fun lies.

        Yeah, I understand that some book clubs get the books for discounted prices or the like, but still not quite enough incentive for me. If I’m gonna spend money on books it’s going to be for special editions or to finish out the series I already have!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Huh. I guess in the sense that you’re explaining it, we look at book reviews in different ways. I look at mine based on the writing and the appropriately executed plot and world-building. While you look at book reviews in regards to whether or not you felt something for the book. That’s very interesting. I’ve never heard of anyone doing that before.

          Ah! I suppose then that I’m doing reading challenges wrong as, at the moment, I see them more as personal goals as opposed to a means of interacting with other readers. Granted, this year has been insane for me. Hopefully next year I’ll be able to interact more via reading challenges (and perhaps I’ll pick a few less :p).

          Totally agree with you on buying books. Has to be something I’m personally interested in and not something extra. ^.^

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I’m a greedy reader! XD I need both. I need great world building and plots, and I need characters and interactions that make me feel things. If a book has wonderful world building and plot, I’ll like it but if it doesn’t make me feel anything, it’s not getting a 4-5 star rating. Certainly good world-building and plot and the like will keep my review on the positive side! But if a book has weak world building and (maybe) a weak plot but makes me feel something, I’ll take that into account too. Ideally any book I read will make me feel something positive and have strong world-building and the like.

            You’ll figure it out! It’s my first time doing a reading challenge like this (hosted by a blog and has a lot of participants overall, which is pretty different than personal reading challenges), so I’m not nearly as active as I’d like to be in the group talks. I’m sure we’ll get the hang of it!

            I also always read some of the book if I’m interested in buying it (please tell me I’m not the only one!). If the writing style sucks me in I might take a chance on it, but honestly I buy new reads from second-hand stores to save money and once I know I love the book/series I buy them new. It’s a weird habit but it lets me buy books without breaking the bank!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I think it’s good to read part of the book before buying. Though I have beem binge buying books online lately because they’re on sale. So I haven’t been reading them, but they’re books I’m interested in. So… not too worried and they’re WAY cheap.

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  3. I would join a book club that would allow you to read whatever book that interests you and then have a brief discussion about how it was written and the technical aspects that you noticed in regards to the book. Pretty much, read a book and review it in a discussion setting. If someone else is there that has read the book they could join in or if they have an opinion about the genre or questions about the book they could share those also. That way by the end of the meeting everyone has discussed the book that interested them and may piqued someone else’s interest enough to read the book.
    That’s what ends up happening at my writer’s club usually unplanned and I’ve gotten some interesting reading suggestions from it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm… Now that’s an interesting subject. Focus more on the discussion of the mechanics of the book as opposed to the actual plot of the book, yes? Am I understanding that right? Though, in this case, you would have to have a group of writers, as you stated you’re doing. Otherwise, there’s no guarantee that the members of the book club have any idea what to talk about. Does this make sense? Readers focus more on the plot and entertainment factor while writers focus more on the mechanics and inner workings of the writing. Though, that does something interesting, I’m not sure it would quite satisfy me, especially if I have a book that I just want to bash because of specific plot pieces, you know? (Or am I the only one who book bashes :p)

      P.s. Thanks for commenting! I hope you’ll join next week’s discussion, too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep. We basically look at how the author may have approached writing the book and what we may have learnt from the book, (plot development, character development, ect.)
        It wouldn’t work if you weren’t with a group of writers… we just started talking about the books we were reading one day and it came from that. If you are with people that just read and don’t write it wouldn’t work… but I was just sharing my experiences with book club type situations. I was in a book club in university but it didn’t last long because this sort of happened: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_nEyIsZ21E
        As for bashing books there are a few I’ve read that just annoy me and would love to just complain about but I also don’t want to ruin someone else’s opportunity as karma may come back and bite me in the butt. XD

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh. My. Gosh. That video was HILARIOUS! But honestly that is how I feel a lot of the times when talking to non-readers. They stare at you with vacant expressions because they have NO idea what you’re talking about and you’re all like ‘WHY DON’T YOU GET IT’ And are shaking by the shoulders. deep breath Anyway….

          Yeah, actually I think that would be a great idea for a writing group: to talk about published books and describe what was good or bad about them. Analyzing would be a great way to help become better writers for sure! I like this idea! needs to join a writing group down in GA :p

          Ah, but I don’t bash books online. I try to remain relatively objective when writing reviews and talking about books. I like to bash them when talking with my friends, though. :p Hee hee! (Besides, karma has enough ammunition on me that I don’t think my bashing is really going to make that much difference… >.>)

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yeah, I know what you mean regarding dealing with non-readers. They frustrate me… especially when it was a book they suggested the group to read and they ever got around to reading it. XD
            I find working with a writing groups gives you a lot of perspective on different styles you may not have considered or known about. Everyone is different and has a different opinion on writing so you never leave the group without learning something new or having something you want to continue the next week. At least that’s the group I’m with… although we try to start with topics but never get around to following them. XD

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Haha! Non-readers, the other sub-species of human. :p

              I’ll have to look into a writing group when I get settled here next month. I’ve actually never been part of one. I tried, but the group could never find a time to meet. So, we only ever had one meeting. Haha! But I’ve always been one of the loner writers. My writer friends were online. :p So, I’ll have to see how well I do with other… real people. Hee hee.

              Liked by 1 person

                1. Ah! Yes, I’ved looked into Meetup before and I hope to use it when I’m settled again. Using it where I’m currently living was so annoying because I’d have to drive like 45 minutes into downtown for meetings. That kind of deterred me. :/

                  Liked by 1 person

    1. See, and I think that’s where I’m at. I like the idea of being part of a book club to surround myself with people who enjoy reading, but I don’t do well when people tell me I have to read a specific book. That just feels too much like grade school all over again. groan

      Liked by 1 person

            1. That’s very open of you! I’m trying to broaden my genres a bit, but I still stay well within the realm of fantasy and scifi at this moment. What can I say? I like world-building. What’s your favorite part of reading a book?

              Liked by 1 person

                1. Mm. I think I was able to justify much of their behavior because of their age and the speech was part of the world-building in my opinion instead of a nuisance of characters, if that makes sense. Perhaps we read different types of books based on what we look for most in the book, would you agree?

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  4. I love the idea of book clubs, but I’ve never found one that fit me. I’m not much for reading book of the months, but even looking in Goodreads at the side reads, it seems very structured and the whole “hey, I just read this book – anyone else read it and want to talk about it?” never seems to particularly take off.

    It bugs me to no end! I do read all these cool books and I want to talk about them with people! I just need to find someone to talk about them with!

    sigh

    Anyone reading this wanna talk about Tau Zero? The Johnson Project? The Private Sector? haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man! I feel you on that one, Lilyn. I hate reading a good book and having no one to discuss it with or WORSE reading a bad book and not having a ranting buddy. Those are the worst, but unfortunately a book club isn’t guaranteed to take care of that. :/ Especially if the book club is only reading one book a month (and I know you read a lot more than that). So there would be this back pile of books you’d want to talk about that no one else in the book club has read yet. It would so frustrating!

      You’re right. I have attempted to join a couple forum chats over books I was reading at the time via Goodreads and people were really unresponsive. Or they only responded to certain people. And it just didn’t feel right.

      Perhaps we need to look more for reading buddies than book clubs. People who have similar reading interests and reading habits. That would likely be the best option for finding someone to discuss books with. Thoughts?

      P.s. Thank you for joining the discussion! I hope you join again next week! ^.^

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Mm… Yeah, I can’t really help you on the horror end. I have been trying to branch into it, but I’m also catching up on fantasy and scifi books at the same time. So, my branching out is a very slow maneuver (and you read a LOT faster than I do. :p)

          Though, the interest in multiple genres is one of the reasons that I think book clubs are limiting because often times I think they only pick one genre. That kind of bites for people who read in multiple genres like you and I. I mean, what do people do then? Join multiple book clubs?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yeah. I think that’s the only choice they have. I wish I could get more people to respond to review posts . They are the perfect platform for springing a discussion about the book but it never seems to work out like that. -.- Isn’t it funny? Talk about books all the time in a blog, but can’t get people to actually TALK about books with you on it. …and whoo boy, some of the times I’ve tried to talk about a book on someone elses review, it’s like I’m indulging in a cardinal sin! Lol

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Right?! Some days I wonder why I’m even writing book reviews because no one seems to react to them. They just click the star and walk away, even if they’ve read the book. It’s like ‘okay then…’ I mean, I want to know if people agree with me or disagree with me or what they thought! That’s the whole point of book blogging, right? I’m so lost. Apparently you and I got stuck on the boat drifting out into book discussion sea. -.- Because I, too, have commented on some book reviews (like long comments, too) and I get all of a sentence back from the original poster. headdesk

              Liked by 1 person

    1. ‘Synchronized reading’. I love that. That is a perfect way to explain book clubs and I think that’s one of the reasons I don’t enjoy it. Part of it reminds me of school and the other part of me is too competitive and always be like ‘what page are you on? Oh, well I’m on page 50.’ Like, I don’t think I could handle the casualness of a book club. (which sounds crazy, I’m sure.)

      Your book club actually sounds really awesome, more like a group of people who read in the same genre, but did you ever come across a time where someone had read a book that no one else had read and so, therefore, they couldn’t talk about it? That would be my concern with a book club without an assigned book and I’m sorry you can no longer go to your book club. That’s such a shame.

      P.s. Thank you for participating in my discussion! Hope to see you again next week! ^.^

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There were plenty of people who had read things other hadn’t, but they still talked about it. They described the plot, style of writing, and it was still enjoyable to listen to. I’d love to find a similar book club – perhaps in an online format? That way you could connect with many more readers. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hmm… Very interesting. I would be so worried about talking about a book, though, if someone else hadn’t read it, you know, for fear of spoilers? Though, perhaps I’ve over censored myself.

          I mean, trailers often times give away quite a bit of a movie. So, why can’t we do the same thing when recommending books? It’s an interesting idea for sure. I may have to try this out should I ever find a book club for myself. And I hope you find a new book club that was just as awesome as the last one! What medium would you use for your online book club? Like Goodreads, a blog, a forum? I’m curious. I know nothing about online book clubs.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh yes, we try to keep the summaries of books spoiler free for others. And I’ve no idea… using the blog format seems most sensible. I’ve got limited experience myself – the book club I was in didn’t last long and so the concept is still fairly new to me too. I suppose it will need more thought!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. From what I’ve heard there are some book clubs on Goodreads. It seems like the logical location for it at least since you have the books on the website already and people don’t have to make blog accounts and you could make it private if you want. I guess it depends on what you’re looking for in regards to what medium you would use to host your online book club. ponders more

              Liked by 1 person

  5. I think you care too much for the book-of-the-month/week, etc. I’m curious what others are reading and what are their opinions about the chosen book, but I don’t feel like I’m compelled to read it right at this moment or ever. But sometimes it gives me the motivation I need to finally start reading the book I wanted to start for ages.

    Plus the book clubs have many other discussions, games, help posts that can be a curious addition. Or even groups like Top 5 Wednesday that give you ideas for blog posts. They can be fun if you’ll find the right ones.

    Obviously, everyone has different needs and expectations, but even if you’re very specific you might find a club that works for you, or you might even create one and invite people who share your opinions.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hmm… So you’re saying that you join a book club not necessarily for the book itself but rather to motivate yourself to read in general? But when you have discussions, doesn’t that become an issue? I’m not sure I understand how this works. I would appreciate it if you could explain it to me. ^.^

      Ah! You’re talking more about online book clubs in this sense, it would seem. I was talking more about in person book clubs (partly because I didn’t realize online book clubs is a thing). But you’re saying that online book clubs can be more inclusive because there are more options for things to do outside of the generic book discussion, yes? Did I follow that correctly?

      Haha! You’re right. Perhaps I will have to make my own book club when I finally get settled into my new location. I’ll have to look into it as I’ve never been part of a book club before.

      P.s. Thank you for bringing a new point of view to the discussion! This was eye-opening! I hope you participate in next week’s discussion as well! ^.^

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah! Well thank you for bringing a whole different side of the aspect to the book club discussion. I don’t even really know where you find offline book clubs around you anymore. :p Like walk into a library or something? Haha! Perhaps I will have to look into online book clubs. It would make things a lot easier and more interactive from how you’ve explained it.

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