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August 28, 2008

What's So Great About a Book Club?

Posted by carol
Book club members no doubt have a variety of opinions on why they enjoy being in a reading group. Here is Trish Collins' take...

Click here to read Trish's previous post about the trying time she had finding a book club to call her own.

Most readers have probably been reading longer than they've been in a book club. And a book club's not necessary for the enjoyment and discussion of books. So what's so great about a book club?

The best thing about a book club was made clear to me a couple of meetings ago. The book we'd chosen, An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England, was disliked by everyone except for the lone member who'd recommended it. After we went around and talked about what we liked and disliked about the book (actually...most of us talked about what we didn't like, not what we liked), this lone member talked about what she DID like. As the discussion progressed, the lone member defended the book and tried to get us to see deeper into the book. Towards the end, she read some passages and talked about what she thought the author was trying to get at...passages that, while I had read them, I had thought to be silly and dumb. Now I see I just missed the point.

I don't like An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England anymore now than I did the second I finished it, but I do appreciate it more.

After leaving the book group, I really thought about how I read. Am I really getting what I should be getting out of the book? I read for pleasure, so I don't think about a book to the point where I could write an essay, but perhaps I should linger a little longer, not jump to the next book quite so fast, let my palette savor what I've just read. How many other times have I missed the point?

I've decided that the great thing about a book club is I get a little more insight on a book. It gives me the opportunity to slow down and really think about what I've read. It's okay if I missed something, because someone else will probably bring it up. It makes me appreciate what I'm reading just a little bit more. The food, the giggling, the book talk, all of that takes a back seat to what I really love about a book club: understanding and appreciating what I've read just a little bit more.

What's so great about your book club?

---Trish Collins