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READING GROUPS- do you belong to one?

(14 Posts)
Missbopeep Tue 08-Oct-13 15:30:47

Is this the right place for this? If not say where is...

I'm toying with the idea of starting a reading group in my village but have some reservations. Honest opinions please.

I like reading and now that I've changed careers it's not part of my day to day work. I miss chewing over a book with someone.

I'm not sure though if a reading group is what I need- do you find yourself reading books that don't interest you? How does the group choose a book? How do you 'cope' with members whose tastes may be totally different to your own?

If I were to try to start one what advice would you give?

Venues- I'd try to run it from a village hall or school hall because I don't like the idea of taking turns at people's houses-because not everyone has enough space, or they may have pets etc that are not to everyone's tastes.

OP’s posts: |
KurriKurri Fri 11-Oct-13 00:08:10

I belong to a reading group - and some of the reservations you have do apply, but I think the benefits probably outweigh them. - Sometimes the book we read is not to my taste, but more often I have discovered authors or books that I really enjoy, that I would probably never have tried if they hadn't been the 'set book'.

We meet once a month in a small meeting room in a local hotel (they let us have the room for free as long as we all buy coffees). We choose the books in several different ways - we look at lists of 'book group reads' (usually available from libraries or online if you google) or often our library has a theme going such as 'summer reads' or 'books which inspired films' etc - so we pick something from those lists. Or one or other of us suggest something we like the look of - we try to mix it up - classics (modern and traditional) modern novels, locally set novels, detective fiction, the odd biography, although we are mostly fiction.

We get our books from the library - so we are restricted to what they have available in reasonable numbers, - but if you are buying the books yourselves you'd have more freedom.

How you organize it is really up to you - but we go round the group and everyone says what they thought of the novel, if and why they enjoyed/didn't enjoy it, then we all discuss it in more general terms, and talk about some of the wider themes of the book - it's pretty informal.

Just to give you an idea, some of the books we;ve read over the last year or so, - The Bell Jar (SYlvia Plath) Started Early Took my Dog (Kate Atkinson) The Blue Book (A L Kennedy) The Way We Live Now (Trollope) Beloved (Toni Morrison) and we read Dawn French's autobiog. - Next month we're doing Iain Banks - The Crow Road.

Quite a lot of book clubs specialise in a particular type of fiction - we are a bit less restricted in our choices.
I think there is info on Google about setting up book clubs -which might be helpful.
We sort of run ours in a co-operative type way - one person orders the books from the library, I e-mail everyone a reminder the weekend before the meeting, - everyone has a little job they do to keep it going.

We do often disagree about the book, - it's quite interesting how differently people can feel about the same novel, - and we have some animated discussions - but differing opinions are good to hear and its all very friendly smile

MaKettle Fri 11-Oct-13 13:14:49

Actually, I think it's useful to have members with different tastes if you want discussion. We all loved our last book, and once we'd agreed on how good it was - half an hour - there was nothing left to say.

tillyfernackerpants Fri 11-Oct-13 14:09:52

I'm a member of a reading group. We meet in a local bar - they reserve a table for us. Tbh, a group larger than 12 doesn't really work as you don't get chance to hear what everyone has to say, and smaller conversations spring up.

Our way of picking books seems a bit more complicated than most! About twice a year, we put forward ideas for books, one person collates the list and sends it out. Then we pick three from the list, the most popular picks are chosen as our reads for the next 6 months.

I agree about the mix of people. My kinds of books are never picked (!) but it does mean I read a wider variety. If we've all liked a book, there's usually not much to say. It was a bit awkward last time though as only one person loved the book! But at least she could speak up and say why she liked it, it was good for the rest of us to see it from her point of view.

I hope that helps - good luck!

tillyfernackerpants Fri 11-Oct-13 14:11:17

Oh, just to add, if we can get them from the library we do so. Many libraries have sets of books for reading groups to borrow, so something to look into?

Otherwise, many of us have started buying books from the World of Books website. Free delivery, and usually under £3!

Clawdy Fri 11-Oct-13 16:36:30

We're a group of eight,and meet up in each other's houses and it works well,we're certainly not fussy about pets or space! We take turns to choose a book,usually fiction, and if it's your book choice,you host the get together once a month,providing crisps and wine. It's made us all read books we wouldn't have dreamed of reading and that's usually great. Our group started with two friends,who each asked another friend,and so on till we reached the manageable number of eight after a while. It's lasted for ten years.

maillotjaune Fri 11-Oct-13 17:04:58

I used to go to one where one of the most frequent hosts had a whole menagerie and it was a problem for some members (allergies, not liking big dogs etc).

The books were more of a problem though as I did end up resenting reading books I was pretty sure I wouldn't like every other month. I stopped going but am trying another one now and seem to have more reading tastes in common with other members so will keep going. Ultimately though, I have limited reading time and much as I enjoy the social side of it, I need to want to read most of the books chosen (even if I don't like some of them iyswim).

SatinSandals Fri 11-Oct-13 17:15:39

I belong to one and think the best thing is reading books that you normally wouldn't read. We just meet in each others houses and choose the books between us.

defineme Fri 11-Oct-13 17:26:45

I started one (still going strong after 7 years) and go to another. I have read so many books that I would never have come across and I love it if we have different opinions. I have even been mortally offended by a couple of books, but how interesting is that!There's been a few that have bored me (casual vacancy??), but there's no law says you can't skip bits.

Mine are all made up of friends and so it can be a bit chatty, but I'm a bossy type and make sure we give enough time over to discussing the actual book!

One of mine meets in a pub and we all buy our own drinks...just make sure it's not quiz night- book chosen by discussion. The other is hosted in turns and the host chooses that month's book. I just put out crisps and wine, but others do go to town, so I suppose that could get tricky.

tillyfernackerpants Sat 12-Oct-13 18:19:03

defineme Fri 11-Oct-13 17:26:45:
There's been a few that have bored me (casual vacancy??), but there's no law says you can't skip bits.

This is a good point - there have been times in our group where people haven't finished books because it hasn't interested them or held their attention!

JulieAnderton Sun 13-Oct-13 18:48:48

I used to organise a book group at my workplace. After the initial flurry of interest died down we ended up with a managable number of about 5-8 "regulars".

Everyone put forward some ideas for books and I made sure that everyone had their choice whilst trying to ensure a good mix of modern/classic/different genres.

Something I found worked very well was choosing the next book two months in advance. So the book that was announced in january was to be discussed in March, February's announcement in April and so on. This gave everyone plenty of time to get hold of a copy of the book and to read it.

I loved reading books that I wouldn't normally read. Not all of them were to my taste, but it added to the discussion if not everyone was in agreement.

Shanghaidiva Mon 14-Oct-13 14:49:29

I run one and we meet once per month and we take it in turns to host. We select books about 3 times per year - 4 books each time so that everyone has time to find a copy. The LitLovers webiste is a good resource for recommendations. After we have chosen the books I send out a list of discussion questions the week before the meeting. Sometimes we don't discuss those questions but they are a useful starting point.
Every year we aim to read:
one classic
one children's book
one book about China.
Books we have read in the past:
Hunger Games trilogy
Mao's Last Dancer
Glass Castle
Wuthering Heights
The secret garden
Casual Vacancy
Cutting for Stone
It's rare we all agree as to whether the book was good/bad and this it what makes the discussion interesting. However, we all loved the Book Thief!

Thewhingingdefective Tue 15-Oct-13 22:33:59

I have been in a book group for seven years. There are about ten of us and we meet roughly every 4 weeks in someone's house. We all take food/nibbles.

We have done a lot of books and our choosing system has varied, from names out of a hat, book suggestions out of a hat, all pitching our suggestion to the group and voting, choosing a genre or just plain old taking turns. We have similar but differing tastes and are pretty easy going about what we read.

Our discussion is sometimes more structured, but other times more free flowing and chatty. We usually spend about an hour going over the book we have read, then tuck into the food, then talk a bit about other things we have read and enjoyed and want to recommend. We finish off by choosing the next book and arranging the next meet.

We have also had a couple of trips to the theatre to see stage adaptations of books we have done and been to see authors we have read.

I love my book group.

Thewhingingdefective Tue 15-Oct-13 22:35:38

Forgot to say - you will read books you don't like, but the great thing about book groups is trying stuff you would normally not even pick up.

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