So I’ve been reading books since I was a kid, I loved them before I could even walk, basically I’m your run of the mill bookworm. But I’ve oddly enough never joined a book club before. I didn’t even do Battle of the Books in school despite always scoring high for most books/pages read in class. I guess it was simply never something that really appealed to me? The most I do or have ever done is deliver an avalanche of my emotions and thoughts about whatever I’m reading lately to a friend who is politely (or sometimes genuinely lol) entertained by it. But now that’s changed… *cue dramatic music* (haha I’m kidding).
I stumbled across a notice in my local library’s newsletter announcing a new book club for adults who enjoy reading YA and for once I actually stopped and considered the idea. So I signed up, read the month’s book (which I had conveniently and coincidentally checked out from the library a couple days prior), and drove myself to the library the first Tuesday of September. I had no idea who would be there (essentially I was mentally preparing myself to walk into a den of strangers), and I had no idea what to expect. Like I said, I’ve never done this before so I had no inkling of what would unfold or if I’d even enjoy it.
But now here I am in November after having attended 3 of these book club meetings (they’re monthly and I figured you can’t judge a club by just their first ever meeting) and I thought I’d share my thoughts. Not so much to promote this particular book club, but to go over some pros & cons of my experience that might interest you if you’re hunting for or curious about a book club.
September – One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus (Mystery)
October – Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart (Fantasy)
November – I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (Thriller)
December – Wither by Lauren DeStefano (Dystopia)
For now the librarians leading the group are the ones who choose each month’s read, but at the first meeting they asked everyone to share their most favorite and least favorite genres so they can better gauge what the group as a whole might enjoy. So far we’ve read a contemporary mystery, a fantasy, a horror-thriller, and our next book is a dystopia. The librarians love all genres so I’m confident that they’ll keep up the diversity in the books they choose. We often throw out what we’re currently reading (besides the book club book) or a favorite book or even just a suggestion for those who enjoyed the month’s book if they’re looking for something similar to read. We might eventually do voting but for now to keep things simple while the group is still new the librarians are in charge of the book picks and so far I think they’re doing a great job!
Well, I’m certainly the youngest in the group haha Most of the members are 40s+ with a few in their 30s and uh just me in the 20s. But that’s alright, they’re a fun group of people to discuss books with and I like how diverse the group is (although we could do with some guys in the group). No one is forced to contribute to the discussion but most people end up saying something by the end once everyone’s warmed up and even when people have totally different opinions on how they felt about a book it’s taken really well (no arguments yet at least haha). I’m usually a pretty quiet person around strangers but not with this group! I guess since books is something I’m well versed in I’m less shy about sharing what I know or think.
I really enjoy going to these meetings but I will say that sometimes I feel a bit out of place because perhaps I read too much or maybe it is my age difference. The majority of the group didn’t know about Goodreads when the librarians brought it up, many don’t know proper genre terms (for example, a few didn’t know the term ‘dystopia’ to describe Hunger Games), and they seem much easier to please while since I inhale about a hundred books a year I pick up on patterns more easily and therefore it sometimes takes more to make me happy (for example, Grace and Fury was totally cookie-cutter and a bore to me because I’ve read the same story time and time again but to the others, most felt it was unique and spectacular). The people are fun though and the librarians keep everything moving and lively which I love.
We meet once a month and reserve a room at the library for two hours (although sometimes we leave early or just socialize off topic if a book simply stirs less discussion). Two librarians who are giant Young Adult fiction fanatics lead the group with some prepared discussion questions but members of the group often contribute their own thoughts or questions that help promote discussion. It’s a very open and friendly environment that I appreciate because it keeps it from feeling intimidating and I’m not afraid to share my honest opinions even if they conflict with the majority. We’re all pretty good about not talking over one another or slamming anyone who disagrees and it’s generally a pretty fun time! I really love hearing the different opinions and getting to discuss what we love or don’t love about a book we’ve all read (it’s sort of why I started this blog actually).
My Overall Conclusion
I still love using this blog as a way to discuss or simply share my thoughts on the books I’m reading (and it doesn’t hurt that it helps land me ARCs of new books hehe) but there’s something about meeting with people in person to discuss a book you’ve all read. There’s an energy there that simply doesn’t quite come across the same through the internet. Although I can be often stubborn in my opinions I actually do enjoy hearing other people’s thoughts, they might not change my own but it’s weirdly fun to hear different viewpoints anyway. Maybe this won’t be a place I’ll make friends necessarily (I mean I am the only one in their 20s with no spouse or kids haha) but I really do enjoy participating and spending an hour or two with these fellow readers.
Turns out I’m a book club person. Who would have thunk it? I definitely plan on attending future meetings!
What about you? Do you have a book club you’re a part of, either online or in person? Are you even interested in trying a book club if one came available? Let me know your thoughts on this whole book club thing!