Have you ever been a member of a book club? How did your group choose (or, if you haven’t been, what do you think is the best way to choose) the next book and who would lead discussion?
Do you feel more or less likely to appreciate books if you are obliged to read them for book groups rather than choosing them of your own free will? Does knowing they are going to be read as part of a group affect the reading experience?
I am a part of a unique book club that is actually a book/wine club. We discuss first the wine, then the book. I’ve talked about the book club here and here. We only pick our books one month out because evidently we aren’t nearly as organized as a bunch of the other book clubs out there. Basically people just come with suggestions of things they want to read or have recently read and would like to discuss. One time I even went through my wishlist of books and tagged some of them ‘bc rec‘ (book club recommendation) so I would buy something I already wanted anyway, instead of getting something completely different. Our book club founder Kelly usually at least starts off our discussion, but (again) we aren’t one of those organized book clubs. We don’t have a list of questions or anything, we just start talking; normally that could be a problem, but not after tasting 6 different bottles of wine!
I am generally able to go into my book club books with an open mind so that my level of appreciation doesn’t differ one way or the other depending on whether or not a book is for book club. I’ve even read (and loved) some books I probably wouldn’t have picked up otherwise, like “The Glass Castle” and “Middlesex“. I will admit, though, that there were a couple of times that I wasn’t going to be able to make it to book club and I was glad, because I had no intention of reading the chosen book. The only thing that changes about a book for book club, is that it will be finished by a certain time. It will not be put off to read ARCs or for theme reads, because it will be complete by the time book club night rolls around again.