My sport club has a book club among the many activities that go on surrounding the main sport played there. I succumbed to its delights in about September last year. It’s certainly an interesting way of picking books you would not normally read. Our co-ordinator kindly gets a dozen or so copies of the book from a library – I think it is a service the county provides for bookclubs in the area. So I have one paperback book I’m reading at any time alongside the ebooks I’m reading, sometimes of my own accord, sometimes to review for a blog tour or similar. You can see the books I’m reading in the Goodreads widget near the bottom right.
We generally get a month to read the book before the next meeting, since we fix meetings to fit the books and members, rather than a fixed date we work around. Many of the members are retired, sometimes for some time, so we have a range of preferences and experiences, but it is a good way of getting together to talk of something outside the daily run of things. We each say what we thought of the book and give it a rating. These vary widely, reflecting both the taste of the members and the styles of the books. Our biggest problem is probably what to read next – since there is such a choice – and we are encouraged to recommend things. So far, recommendations have rather split the group – my recommendation (The Hare with Amber Eyes) wasn’t enjoyed by some of the members who found the names and history too complex. Others enjoyed it, as I had. Recently we had a book recommended that someone had enjoyed on holiday. It was a thriller with a lot of promise but too much torture by fire for my liking, and I put it down after fifty pages when the torture continued. Three others refused to read it too – the highest rating was only 5/10. We are currently on a very promising book about the occupation of the Channel Islands by the Germans in the war, told through letters.
There are plenty of online bookclubs too – Goodreads has a number of them, and other Goodreads groups have their book or books of the month. I would love to join in these, but with a ‘to read’ list of over 250, adding books that aren’t already on it seems unfair to the authors waiting to be read. If I’ve won the book or gained it free some other way, I try not to delay too long in reviewing it as a ‘thank you’.
I read an interesting guest post on Duolit a while back on making your book attractive to book clubs. I never thought of it that way, but given how difficult it is for us to choose our next read, maybe it is worth a little effort by an author to say “read mine”.
If you’ve not got into the bookclub scene, whether as a reader or an author, why not try. You never know what you might find out!
Are you a bookclub member? What do you think? Why not blog from A to Z in April with books that you have read for each letter of the alphabet?