7.16.2015

BOOK THOUGHTS ON THURSDAY | ON BOOK CLUBS AND ONLINE READING GROUPS


The world of books is never boring. Every week (well, most weeks) I'll discuss a different topic related to books, often inspired by or in response to what's going on in the online book community (or something I've seen another blogger talk about). I call this Book Thoughts on Thursday. Feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments, or even write your own post on the topic and share the link with me! 

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I don't have a real-life book club. I'd love to join one, but my problem has always been either that the people I know aren't interested, or the people who are interested I don't know. Secondary to this, of course, is the fact that it can be difficult to select books that will appeal to a variety of readers. The chances of finding a group of readers who all have similar tastes is low, so inevitably you have to get through a few stinkers (or perfectly good books that just aren't your thing). I don't have a good track record when it comes to making it through books I'm not interested in in a reasonable time-frame, and I fear that I would end up DNFing more than I finished.

This is where the internet comes in handy. Through blogging and tweeting, I've managed to find some kindred spirits, bloggers who not only love books as much as I do, but who have tastes that overlap with mine more frequently than not. I've started doing buddy reads - mainly with Julianne and Katie - and one readalong (The Girl With All the Gifts) with Katie and Shaina. After that rousing success, the three of us were discussing which book to read next on Twitter, and managed to find three other bloggers who were also interested in reading (or re-visiting) the book we wanted to read next:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13153693-ghettoside?ac=1

So, as of today, we are embarking on a group read of this particular book, with discussion to take place via a Google doc that we can all add our impressions and comments to as we read.

I'm super excited about this - I'm dying to hear what these bright, insightful readers have to say, and I think there will be some fantastic discussion. Who knows? Maybe this will lead to future group reads! So far the group consists of me, Shaina, Katie, Shannon, Lauren and Amanda.

Sound like something you'd be interested in participating in? You can! Head over and send me a tweet (@raincityreads) and you can get in on the action! I'll post about the group read along with my review of the book in a month or so, but in the meantime, over to you. Do you guys belong to book clubs (real or online)? How do you decide which books to read? How do you manage discussing the book in online book clubs that have too many members for Twitter chats? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments!

10 comments :

  1. I am in two "in real life" book clubs, one with my work peeps, which is really more of a wine club, and the other with some friends and friends of friends. I find the limiting factor in book clubs is LEADERSHIP. Someone has to take charge in sending out reminders, setting the "rules," and facilitating picking books. This has been in issue in one of my book clubs, because no one likes to take charge (I guess, except for me), but I feel like it might be too much for me to "lead" TWO book clubs. The worst thing that has happened to me in one of my book clubs, is the friend of a friend, was commenting on her reading tastes, in that she "doesn't DO African American literature..." Um. What the actual fu*k? AND, to top it off she's a high school English teacher. For real. I'm trying to find a way to kick her out, but you can be sure I didn't let that comment slide by...

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    1. I hear you about leadership. Even if you're good at it, it can be exhausting to always be the one in charge. It takes some of the fun out of it. I guess ideally you'd take turns - one month one person picks a book, hosts the meeting and sends out reminders, the next month someone else does it. But that means everyone has to actually step up when it's their turn. It's a lot of potential frustration, that's for sure.

      I don't get readers like the friend of a friend. I don't really understand saying you won't read books by a certain gender or ethnic background. I can understand having genres you don't really do (though I think it's good to try once in a while - you never know when you'll find a book that will change your mind), but an author's background doesn't even necessarily inform their story! And if it does, it's a GOOD thing to read as diversely as possible, because how will you learn about the world otherwise? I also feel like when it comes to writing, I tend to get on or not with particular authors based on how they write and what they write about rather than particular categories of authors.

      It's particularly disturbing that she's an English teacher. I think it's such a privilege to introduce young people to the literary world - but, to paraphrase Spiderman, it's also a huge responsibility. If you expose kids to carefully selected diverse works, you're setting them up to be open-minded readers for the rest of their lives. If you don't, you're setting them up to feel like whole areas of the literary world are closed to them (either because those areas make them uncomfortable or intimidate them). It's a tragedy when that happens. I wonder if you can find an author that people don't really know, read their book, and THEN reveal that they're African American? After she loves the book? That would be an excellent object lesson. Ugh. Very glad you didn't let that slide.

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  2. So looking forward to this, I just wish I was going to be around for all of it. What could be more fun than reading along with my favorite fellow word nerds?

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    1. Sorry I somehow missed publishing this comment earlier! I'm so excited to read with you guys - and don't worry, just hop in whenever you've got a chance! :)

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  3. I love your idea for an online book club! I don't think I can join you for Ghettoside (even though I totally want to read that book), but I definitely plan to join you in the future! Looking forward to hearing how it goes!

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    1. I'm really excited about it, for sure! If you do decide you'd like to join in for Ghettoside (or if you want to read it at a later point and access the Google Doc to read our comments and add some of your own later) just let me know! We're pretty flexible and always happy for more readers to join in! :)

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  4. I was going to join a bookclub at my local library a little while ago; I filled out the form and everything. Then I looked at the list of bookclub kits and realised I’d read about 75% of the books on it, so I didn’t end up joining. Thinking about it now, it would probably be interesting to sit and discuss a book I’ve already read with a bunch of different people, but I always like to be reading something new.

    But an online group read with you guys sounds fun! Especially as you guys seem read books I may not consider picking up otherwise. I’ll definitely keep a look out for any future group reads.

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    1. I should see if there's a book club at my library - I didn't even think of that! I hear you - I find that it's really difficult to find a club with books you're interested in but haven't read. Though I'd rather a club with books I've already read than books I don't want to read, I suppose.

      I'm hoping that this will be the beginning of more online reads; we'll see how the format goes and how everyone enjoys it. I'll definitely post again if/when we're doing another one, but if you ever want to do a buddy read, just let me know! :) Always happy to read along with someone I can chat to about what I'm reading.

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  5. I'm in a real life book club that I really enjoy. We're all pretty open to trying new genres and I have fun talking to the people in the book club, even on days when we only spend a little while talking about the book :) I thought Ghettoside was fantastic, so I'm sending you a message now about joining in.

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  6. I actually don't have all that many book-obsessed friends IRL, so I haven't joined or created a book club - but I am part of a bit of an informal book club with four other bloggers! We don't do true read-a-longs, but instead choose a general theme, topic, or author and each pick up a different book pertaining to that, and discuss on our blogs afterwards. I think it's a lovely little compromise - celebrating books we love with people we love, but also leaving enough room to choose books that appeal to us within the theme. xx

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