musings

Book clubs

Is anyone here part of a local or online book club?

I’ve recently joined a local one with some friends and, honestly, I love it.
We have met twice so far, once a month, and it’s been such an enjoyable social experience, as well as a great opportunity to talk about books. We’ve gathered at someone’s house (and we all bought loads of food and drink) and at a restaurant, and in both settings, it was open, relaxing, and fun.

Rotating the book choice (so a different person will choose each month) has meant that already there’s been a great variety in what’s been chosen.

April’s book was Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive – we found this an emotional and poignant read, although some of us (myself included) found the time-shifting structure a bit difficult to manage. We discussed how courageous Matt Haig has been in discussing his mental health, and how shocking some of the statistics he included in the book relating to mental health, depression, anxiety, and suicide were.

May’s book was Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I was so happy about this choice as it has been one of my favourite books to talk about since I read it in the summer of 2017. Everyone seemed to really love the book, and found Eleanor a rather endearing, unconventional heroine. Some of us felt that the ending felt a bit quick and would have preferred more answers (about Eleanor and Raymond) but we speculated that there may be a sequel (pretty please?). We also had a great discussion pondering who we imagined playing Eleanor in the upcoming film adaptation.

June’s book will be The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Only the person who chose the book has read it (although most of us have heard of it, and some even have a copy).

That’s what is so wonderful about book clubs and reading groups. It can provide motivation to pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read for ages, or read books that you may never have chosen yourself. With Eleanor Oliphant in particular, many in our group said they would never have picked that book up when choosing for themselves. Being part of a book club allowed them to read and enjoy something completely new and outside of their usual reading.

Some of our group have never read regularly, and love this opportunity to do it and talk with everyone about it.

We’re all using different formats to read the books – physical copies, e-books, and audiobooks – and this provides even more discussion. Audiobook listeners have played segments of the books to us so we can hear how the text is performed and what that adds to the story.

I can understand why they continue to be popular, and why online ones have also grown. They can be as formal or as relaxed as the group decides. There are some attached to bookshops and libraries, whereas others are like ours – just a group of friends and acquaintances meeting regularly. Some groups set questions beforehand to discuss, while others just fit book conversation around general talk.

Joining a book club has been such a good decision for me. I obviously love discussing books, but I’ve also been able to meet new people, enjoy delicious food and drink, and simply be in a relaxed social setting.

What do you think of book clubs and reading groups? Are you part of one or have you considered joining or even starting one?

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1 thought on “Book clubs”

  1. I really enjoyed this post – it was great to read your experiences with book clubs, and especially wonderful to read about the different ways in which the book club members are engaging with books. I love that the club has inspired people to read outside their usual choices, or just to read more!

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