Thoughts on Book Clubs

Posted June 27, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 6 Comments

I am not sure if you have noticed but I love books and I love talking about them to excess. I think my wife tends to get sick of my talking about books so I’m lucky to have a book blog where I can focus most of my bookish energy. If my book blog isn’t enough and I still need to talk about books, I often turn to social media. Also there is one other avenue that I use to satisfy my bookish obsessions and that is book clubs.

Now I have an addiction to the book clubs on Goodreads, I’m involved in a few of them but some how ended up being moderators for all of them. Most of them I started because I felt there was a gap in the wide range of Goodreads book clubs that needed to be filled. I would be happy if someone took over as moderator but I’m also happy to be a part of any Goodreads book club that is doing something unique. My primary focus on Goodreads is obviously the Literary Exploration book club, where we get a chance to read from different genres every month. This is the only book club I feel I have to read the book assigned every month.

However I’m also apart of a book club hosted by my local indie bookstore, I love the real life element of this book club. I know this may surprise people, the socially awkward introvert enjoying being out in public but I do all right if I talk about books. I like that the bookstore tends to pick books I don’t know about or had not thought about reading. As a literary explorer this book club has really pushed me into books out of my comfort zone. This has an added bonus; I love being the person that has a different opinion to everyone else. More often than not I’m the one that loves or hates a book while others think differently; I’m not always alone but I like that my opinion is different.

I enjoy hating a book almost as much as liking a book, I just love books and it doesn’t matter my opinion of the book. I find it freeing to write negative reviews and talking about what is wrong with a book. Almost to a point where the idea of a bitchy book club was talked about on social media, a place were people talk about the flaws of a book rather than what they liked about the book. This idea never took off; I doubt there are many people interested in this approach to a book club but I think it would of being fun.

There are negatives about book clubs as well but nothing to dramatic. I personally would love to see more critical thought put into a book when it comes to book clubs. Goodreads book clubs tend to be very basic and there is never any in depth analysis to the books being read. I would love to find a book club that explores literature in great detail; I am still trying to learn how to read critically and I think a place that can help develop these skills would do me a world of good. I have ideas for a club like this but I lack the skills, I’m a novice and I think that makes me wrong for the job.

I digress and need to get back on topic; I use book clubs as an avenue to feed my bookish obsessions but also to help develop my skills. I mentioned that I’m a socially awkward introvert and going to a book club that meets in real life has helped me communicate my bookish love. When I first started I was quiet and didn’t say much but the more I go, the better I have become at talking about books, expressing my opinions about the books. This has been a huge help, not only socially but I think it has had a positive effect on blogging too. I can talk about books with ease online but this book club has helped me develop different ways at looking at a book. I think other people’s opinions on books can be an asset in developing your own skills.

Now I want to ask the readers about book clubs, do they go to a book club, what works and doesn’t work, and anything else you wish to say on the topic. I am particularly interested in ways to find develop my critical reading skills, I know practise makes perfect but I would love to find a way that both nurtures and pushes me. Goodreads doesn’t seem to have that, or I haven’t found it there, so I wrote this post as a way to ask the question and talk about book clubs in general.

6 responses to “Thoughts on Book Clubs

  1. frellathon

    I am not a member of book clubs because I would suck at keeping up as I have been with the reading challenge 🙁 but also because I don’t want to have to read the designated book. I also am intrigued socially awkward introvert you say, that sounds like me lol

  2. Violet

    No, I can’t say I’ve noticed that you like talking about books. Hahaha!

    I used to think that I’d like to be part of a book club, but I know I wouldn’t read books that I wasn’t interested in, and I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a room with other people. So yeah, unless it was a book club that just discussed Proust, like the one in NYC someone told me about, it would be a waste of everyone’s time. I wouldn’t mind re-reading and discussing Proust or Joyce, but that sort of book club is not likely to happen any time soon in this cultural wilderness. I’m glad it’s working out for you though. It gives your wife’s ears a rest, anyway. 🙂

    • I would join a book club that read Proust or Joyce, I know they are difficult and you would need to meet once a month or something just to talk about a few chapters at the time. It is hard to find a book club that discusses a book critically and in detail. You could start and online Proust book club 😛

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