I love my book club. Like Really Really Love it. When I found out it was National Book Club Month I decided that Literary Sluts would feature profiles of different book clubs every month. I’ll even write about my own before the month is up. If you are currently or have been involved in a book club, we’d like to tell your story here. Email us by clicking the link or through the Proposition Us tab above and we’ll reply right away to learn more about your book club.We’ll start our book club features with a group of teachers from Allegany County in Maryland.
Heather graciously answered a number of questions about the book club she helped to start with 3 of her friends. The club is comprised by a number of women ranging in age from 30 to 50.
Heather, tell us a little about the book club you belong to.
We take turns choosing a book every month. At the beginning of the year we make a list of who will choose the month’s book and make a list. Of course the books change throughout the year depending on what we have read. We’ve recently decided to go back and start rereading some of the classics.
How did you find the book club and how long have you been a member?
I helped to start the book club. At first a few of us just started exchanging books that we had read and really enjoyed. After talking to a few friends who like to read, we decided to start a book discussion group that meets once a month. We are in our third year of the book club and while many members come and go, the four of us who started the club are always there.
How often and where does the book club meet and how many people are in it?
We meet the third Thursday of every month. We began meeting at each club members house but have been meeting at a local Italian restaurant and having dinner while we discuss the book. Every 3 or 4 months we meet on a Saturday morning for brunch instead. The four original members have been in the club the entire time, and usually 6 or 7 people show up for the discussions.
How would you describe your book club’s personality? And are you all friends outside of book club?
We are all really funny and fun to be around. Some people are friends outside of book club but most are just acquaintances.
What do you like most/least about being in a book club?
I love reading new books and spending time with other women. It’s nice to know that I have a night out every month with the girls. It’s also great t hear the differing opinions on the books. The thing I like least is when I end up reading a book I don’t enjoy at all. It’s almost painful to get through books like that.
What things have surprised you?
I’ve found that some of the members message me through our county teacher computer messaging system to talk about the book during the day. I talk to them more now then I would have before and it’s great to chat about a book, especially when I’m having a rough day.
What types of books do you normally read?
We read anything and everything. Everyone gets a turn and there is a nice balance between new and old books, fiction and non-fiction. I’ve read many books outside my comfort zone that I’ve ended up loving!
Which few books generated the best discussions?
I think the best discussion so far has been about The Help. There were just so many characters and issues to discuss in the book. Another good discussion came from A Thousand Splendid Suns. We talked about the issues then that are happening now and how they effect people.
Have you had any books that have bombed?
Yes-I HATED, as did many others, Down the Nile-Alone in a Fisherman’s Skiff. What a horrible book! The thing most of us hated was that it was 3/4 of the way through the book before she even got on the Nile.
Describe a typical meeting?
We trickle into the restaurant after work talking about our days and ordering drinks. When everyone arrives we order dinner and then discuss the book. Generally we talk about the characters, the issues, etc, then someone usually breaks out book discussion questions and we read our favorite passages. We have dinner and sometimes end up talking shop. We then discuss the next book on the list. We also discuss teaching at all discussions because we are all teachers.
The single most fun/funny thing that has ever happened at your book club?
I think that most fun thing was the first year when we got to see everyone’s house. It was interesting to see where everyone lives. The funniest thing is when one of our members always picks out the most random passages that no one remembers and then just laughs about it until everyone else is laughing.
How has the book club changed over time?
It has changed some, but only for the better. The books are getting better and the discussions are more intense.
Does your book club have parties or special events/outings?
We do have social outings every now and then. Occasionally we’ll go see a movie of a book that we’ve read. We’ve also had dinner parties.
Do you have any advice for someone who is either thinking of starting or joining a book club?
Make sure you have a core group of dedicated members who will always show up. Have a plan as to how you will choose the books and when you club will meet.
Heather thanks so much for telling us about your book club!