In college, my sorority sisters and I referred to an unsanctioned after party as a “book club”.
Now, it means something different to me. I have two dear friends who meet with me online once we all complete our latest reading. We talk for an hour (after a brief update about our lives) then choose what book we’d like to do next based off what we heard was good or one of us enjoyed recently. We usually start with “What did you think overall?” and end with “What did the author want us to get out of this?”
I’ve heard others have larger groups, meet in person, require set times, or follow rules in order to choose the book. In comparison, our book club is relaxed and I feel good about what we have. Yes, sometimes our schedules don’t align quickly and I read many other things during the interim. I sit to chat and it’s a bit like being at the movie theater. So many previews have shown I have forgotten what movie I came to see.
Yet it’s worth it because the three of us each bring something to the table. We draw on experiences of volunteering, adoption, teaching in public schools, pregnancy, achieving a PhD, international research, divorce, moving around the country, marriage, family rifts, jail, vacations, home buying, and deaths in the family. We look at the books from a learning perspective, academic discernment, and with technical critique. We all love to read and have enough books in common to make comparisons.
We’ve been discussing books since 2011. We’ve read serious books, and seriously popular titles. Classics and new Goodreads suggested. Some include:
All Our Wrong Todays
Born a Crime
The Girl on the Train
Men We Reaped
No Impact Man
Turtles All the Way Down
World on Edge
I look forward to our chats, and hearing what the others say. This reminds me how many ways there are to interpret a book, and how a book is a different experience to us at different times in our lives. I am no longer a harsh book critic. Instead I look for what the book could be to someone as well as what is was to me when I chanced to read it.
What have your experiences been with a book club?