This month, as both of my book clubs are reading books with rather similar covers (neither of which was my pick--I'm not so fond the ocean in general), seems like an apt time for me to explain how two groups that seem so similar are actually so different...apart from the fact (or perhaps slightly because of the fact) that Book Club #1 has a good decade of experience behind it, and Book Club #2 is still toddling on its new found toes.
The Main Ingredients:
- me (whose literary eyes are bigger than her literary stomach)
- my book club of old (I first joined them in...1999? They started in '97)
- my friend (who used to be in the book club but fell away, then began to desire the formation of a new book club)
So I helped my friend start a book club. The format of both groups is similar: 6-8 people rotate choosing a book, and meet every 4 weeks or so. We meet at homes or coffee shops or wherever the book-chooser chooses. The main differences lie in the fact that Book Club #1 is made up of people who live literary lives (we teach, we write, we devour and exchange books, we talk about themes and beautiful language) and Book Club #2 is made up [mostly] of people who enjoy reading, but haven't read much in a long time (smart, enjoyable ladies to be sure, just out of the habit of books).
I've come to realize that Book Club #2 is more of a "Giving Back to the Community" sort of thing right now, and that's okay. I get to talk about themes and layers in group #1, and in group #2 I get to see people rediscover a love for reading. Once I thought about it in this way, my perspective completely changed--volunteering with books? It's like a dream come true! There are worse ways to spend your volunteer time for sure (like helping your kiddos try to sell magazines to raise money for a school that you already pay tuition at. just for example. I'm not bitter.) Added bonus: I don't feel guilty if I don't patronize my library as much as I'd like. At least I'm helping out somehow.
Although these two groups serve very different purposes in my life, I'm enjoying them both. One of favorite things about them is how the books are chosen...I love that they aren't chosen by committee. Every once in a awhile someone will bring a couple of options, but most often we just read what is picked. I love the surprise: not knowing what is coming next. I love branching out--most of my book club books are ones that I would not pick up otherwise, and there have been some that I've really enjoyed (and even if I don't enjoy it, I feel more well-read.)
Do you participate in any book groups, either privately or through libraries or book stores? Are any of your book activities something you would consider to be akin to community service? If you are in a book club, how do you go about picking books?