Book Club Suggestions

I have a wonderful bookclub. Reading and discussing books is a great joy of mine. The group of ladies who I do this with on a monthly basis are one of the great delights of my life. We are a mixed bunch. All from our regional town, some of us know each other very well, some of us have met through this group. Despite the fact that we may see some of our fellow readers in very few alternate contexts, we all have intersecting worlds and every meeting we discover someone has a friend outside the group that someone inside the group knows. It’s like that living in a small community.

About twice a year we put forward suggestions of some books we would like to read. From those suggestions there is a discussion on which of those suggestions most appeal to the group. Then we put a list together outlining the chosen books for several months in advance. We have read novels and biographies, fact and fiction. There are always books on the list that I would never normally pick up. Sometimes it is for good reason, other times I am ever so glad for the enforced read.

It is also agreed that whoever chose the book for that month supplies something to eat. If we can connect the food into something within the group – all the better.

We have have come together through our common love of books. We don’t all enjoy the same thing, we don’t all agree with each others interpretation of the book. We do find joy in the discussion, which often is far more encompassing than just the content of one book. We have developed friendships which are cherished and enjoyed, tied together by characters constructed by an author’s prose, simple written text. Yet during the month those character enter into our individual minds. Shuffling, dancing, plodding and spinning through our imaginations. As we all assemble and chat around the table, the characters come to life, jumping from head to head as we talk, and as they do our understanding becomes a little deeper of those characters and the women sitting and talking, explaining, sharing.

We don’t all read the book. Every month there will be someone(s) who has not finished, in fact it is not uncommon to have participants who have not yet opened to the first page. It does not matter. The talk can continue, our minds can be stimulated regardless. Conversation can be contributed to regardless. It is such acceptance of one another’s busy lives that helps the group to succeed.

Tonight Jonty asked me, “What do you do at book club, Mummy?”
“We read a book during the month and then we get together and talk about it.”
“Oh”, he says with interest, and then he scampers away yelling out, “Could I find a book for you to talk about?” He returned clutching his piece of literature with pride. “Mum, do you think the ladies could talk about this at book club. What do you think they would say?”

Considering the age of the children we mother – mostly in the under 8’s set – I very well think we could discuss that book, although more about the show it represents then the actual content of the book. In fact, I think it may have already come up in discussion before – right alongside Peppa Pig.

In the meantime, I’m grateful that the Under 8’s didn’t chose the selection. I’ve just finished sniffling my way through the ending of M.L. Stedman’s “The Light Between Oceans”. A simply brilliant read as a plot twists and turns it’s way through interesting, yet flawed characters while examining and exploring some complex moral issues. I give it a 4.5 out of 5. (Another book club tradition is to rate the book out of 5)

Do you enjoy reading? Are you a member, or have you been a member of a book club? What was the protocol of your group?

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7 Comments

  1. I love the idea of a book club! We tried a few years ago but never got started properly though. I think it helps to have a few kindred spirits. The perfect combo of books, good conversations, coffee & snacks – what could go wrong with that?

  2. I LOVE reading. Before my daughter came along I used to read about a 100 books year. Now I’m lucky if I manage 30 a year. I’d love to be in a bookclub but so far have not come across one to join.

    I tried to read The Light Between Oceans a few months ago and had a different experience to you. I found the slow pace excruciating and after a while I skipped ahead and read the end. I have an anticipation issue and a need to know what happens. If the pace isn’t just right I usually give into my bad habit. It was such a sad story with no winners.

    **SPOILERS if you haven’t yet read it***
    Also I found the protaganist’s answer to the moral issue (the baby’s arrival and what they decide to do with it) to be unbelievable. I’ve struggled with infertility and putting myself in her shoes I still think I would have done the right thing and reported the child. Especially when her husband points out that there is a mother out there missing her child. Maybe my own reaction is different because I eventually got my happy ending where as Isabel didn’t. What was your feeling?

    Apparently I want to join your book club *G*.

    1. Hi Jess, You would have got along famously with Mrs. S. who also didn’t enjoy the book – but mainly because in her opinion the book was badly written and she didn’t like the dialogue of the characters. She found the plot plausible.

      Being one to enjoy easy reading, I had no complaint with the writing style, I was feeling particularly happy after finishing it, in retrospect I might downgrade my rating to a 4, because I do agree, I found the character Isabel extremely frustrating. I don’t think I would have kept the baby myself, even at the height of my sadness during infertility, but I do think her desire to keep the baby was believable because of the extreme isolation combined with the recent stillbirth. I think suffering such a loss with no support, would be enough to make one lose their moral compass out of grief. I found her treatment of Tom most frustrating though once the child was returned. I could understand the compulsion to continue the lie and keep the child because they found out the day before they returned to Janus. I think it would be possible for someone to delay for a few days before doing the right thing and returning the child after raising her as their own. They did not have the luxury, and returning to the island was convenient to reduce the guilt, that they both very obviously felt.

      So yes, I think you would have liked to be in the group for the discussion! What’s your latest enjoyable read?

  3. oooer online book club!

    I just read The Universe versus Alex Woods which was great (4 stars out of 5). Well-written, interesting and quirky characters, great relationships and some wacky, yet believable events. There is a moral question in the book too which makes it a great book club read. I’m sure there would be some interesting discussions around it. I totally recommend it for your book club.

    It’s actually how I find which books to read. I search “book club books’ on Good Reads and then pick from there. That’s the thing I find most challenging with my reading. Finding the next book to read!

    I’m very envious of your book club. It sounds like such a lovely and interesting evening. I should to try to inspire some of my friends to start one.

  4. @Jess – the only reason I’m in a book group at all is because I wrote on facebook “Hey, I want to join a book group but can’t find one. Therefore I’m thinking of starting one… anyone interested?” Turns out there were several people who’d also be trying to find book groups with vacancies – two days later, we had a full book group and we’ve been going for a year now. So, I reckon that’s worth a shot. 🙂

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