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Book clubs - please tell me more

(7 Posts)
PaxUniversalis Fri 01-Dec-17 14:09:01

How do book clubs work? Do you receive a list of recommended literature, or do you choose your own books? Can you discuss non-fiction too (e.g. books on historical events or architecture)? What kind of questions do other members of the book club usually ask?
I've been thinking of joining a local book club - first time ever at 49 - and I'm looking for some practical advice. Thank you.

Thiswayorthatway Fri 01-Dec-17 16:03:04

Different book clubs work in different ways, many of which you mention. You just need to find one which suits you. Personally I prefer a more relaxed apprcoach where we discuss a book and then each suggest a read for the next meeting. My Mum's book club circulate a list of the books for the coming 12 months, she prefers that to my ad hoc approach. You get a mix of characters, some pretentious, just go ready to listen and not be offended if no-one agrees with you. I have sometimes said that personally I did not enjoy a book but that didn't mean everyone else had to dislike it also, it's a matter of taste. I have found book clubs great for reading books I would otherwise not have read or finished.

babybythesea Fri 01-Dec-17 17:57:40

I joined one that has been going a long time. Every month (usually the second Thursday but it's flexible depending on what everyone is doing) we meet at someone's house. Almost always the same person, largely as she has space. There are 12 of us. She normally lays on tea and coffee. (I ought to say that most of the members are retired - the eldest is 90. I am 41 so quite a bit younger than most of them but it means that our book club is run to meet their needs - we don't meet in the pub for example!). We don't meet in the summer when lots of people are away or busy with family. And often in January we have a poetry meeting - instead of reading a book over Christmas, we all bring a poem (we have a theme) to read out and discuss, as a lot of them are busy with family etc.

We chat for a bit, then bring out the book. Someone will have been asked to 'introduce' it. Means doing a bit of research - the author's life, what were their famous works, if any, and are there any interviews about the book we've read which might give a bit of context or ideas about where the inspiration for it comes from. Usually this lasts between 5 and 10 minutes - really depends on the author and the book! Then people jump in and we just chat - who liked it, who didn't. Why or why not. What you thought of different characters, was it believable, funny etc. Often ends up with people sharing different memories from their own lives, especially if we've read a book set in an era which means something to someone.
We've read a huge range of books - we read a book by Claire Tomalin about Samuel Pepys, which was excellent, and we've read the first of the Cazalet Chronicles, and a book called The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, and classics like Jane Eyre.

We get our books through the library. They have a service where they have about 500 titles, and they have multiple copies of them (usually 12). We have one person co-ordinating things with the library - me, at the moment. So, I will look through the list, available online, and choose books I think might appeal. It's just titles and authors so sometimes it's a stab in the dark! The others have had the list before but mostly are happy to let someone else choose! Then, at some stage before the date of the meeting, I go to the library, pick up a set of books, take them to the meeting, we have the discussion about the book we've just read, and then I take in those books and hand out the books for next month.

We live in rural Cornwall so I don't know if this service is available elsewhere. We also all live fairly close to each other and so if someone hasn't finished the last book and wants to hold onto it, and drop it back to my house when they are done, that's fine by me. I keep lists of who has had a book given to them and who has returned one! Organising it can be interesting. I have no idea how many other book groups are waiting for a particular book, so I usually have three or four on order to make sure we have at least one ready to collect and read. The library are really laid back about when books get returned, thank goodness.

Works for us. Hope that all helps!

froomeonthebroom Fri 01-Dec-17 18:09:25

We meet once a month in the pub. We choose books out of a hat, from recommendations from friends/authors/our children's teachers.

It's very relaxed and often discussion of the book is secondary to the social side!

WipsGlitter Fri 01-Dec-17 18:13:45

One we get pissed over dinner and briefly talk about good books we've read.

Wh n it worked properly we each took turns to host. Host picks the book. Wine and snacks.

PaxUniversalis Fri 01-Dec-17 18:30:36

It sounds like a fun way to read more books and meet new friends. I had never considered joining a book club until recently. We live in a small rural town/large village and making new friends isn't always easy.

I guess it would make me read more fiction. I read a lot of non-fiction, mainly art and architecture related books, however this year I have put a ghost story on my Christmas wish list. I don't usually read ghost stories but I heard about it on BBC Radio 2 a few weeks ago and it sounded intriguing.

I do like the idea of wine and nibbles! grin

MightyOWL Sat 02-Dec-17 01:03:20

I joined an established book club nearly a year ago. I read a lot, but needed to get out of the house and be a bit more social.

There are 10 of us and meet once a month, at a members house. The host puts on nibbles and wine (but no one is a massive drinker - I do know of some very boozy book clubs!). We discuss the previous months book, sometimes someone has prepared some questions to get the discussion started but they're often not needed.
After a discussion, we break for food, provided by the host, not very fancy, usually soup and nice rolls, quiche and salad type thing, then we come back and the host presents her suggestions for next month. The host chooses three books (usually on a theme), we look at each one, and we vote for which one we would like to read.

It's been good for me as I have read books over the last year that I would never would have picked up otherwise. Everyone hosts once a year - 10 of us, no meeting in August and at Christmas we go out, and have a book secret santa, buy a copy of a favourite book you think everyone should read, wrap it and they are randomly given out.

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