Book Clubs: Yes or No?

Reading is a wonderful hobby, an activity that can carry you across different times, a variety of worlds, and the full gamut of emotions. Who out there can put their hand up and admit to never having cried nor laughed along with a character in a good story?

But reading is a solitary activity too. Although “alone time” is sometimes mandatory allowing an escape from pressures such as work, study, recalcitrant husbands and even Life, there is a difference between being a Loner and enjoying “alone time”.

Sometime ago I joined my first book club which convened once a month at the Local Library. I enjoyed these gatherings as my introduction to a group reading the same book was not overly intense. Indeed some people whom attended did not even bother to read the designated book, nor any book. Lots of Dickens’ and Austens’. It was purely a social occassion that left me feeling pretty unsociable.

So I joined another group of readers who included a coordinated Reading Journal for note taking in their nominal membership fee. I liked the ambiance that these Journals created, full of prompts, tips and even recipes, and felt that I had found my niche.

Determined to fit in I made a determined effort to read the nominated books of many different genres. It pushed me out of my reading comfort zone, and I was overjoyed to see not one single classic listed as compulsory reading.

Six months in and I was struggling with the 1,369 page Fantasy novel by George R R Martin, A Game Of Thrones, the first in the GOT series. Not my genre, not my cup of tea, just not, not, not. I must admit to being as pleased as punch when I finally completed the task and sat down to write cohesive notes in my coordinated Reading Journal, full of tips, prompts, and recipes, that would adequately indicate my understanding of the themes, metaphors and subplots within this novel.

You cannot imagine just how pissed off I was having discovered I was the only person to actually wade through the wretched book. Page by bloody page. Everyone else had “watched it on Foxtel”.

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With work and commitments I then participated in an online book club forum which went really for a few years. It was so much easier to disagree about authors and themes with the anonymity of a pseudenom. Along the way I made some life long friends who also enjoyed catching up at book sales and coffee, though sadly, life is short. Shorter for some than others.

Feeling the need for some social activity once again as this miserable cold winter tends to send us all into semi hibernation I’ve just come across a new book club that sounds worth a try. It’s a group ” for wine drinkers with a serious reading problem.”

You never know – the liquid refreshments just may encourage another foray into the classics.

Do you have a book club experience to share?

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