Thursday, July 15

Our New Book Club

As some of you know, we have a very active neighborhood women's group. One of the women decided a while back that she would host the July meeting, and it would have a book club format. We were all to read the book "The Help" prior to the meeting, and bring an hors d'oeuvre or a dessert to the meeting.

About 14 of us gathered last night. I had gotten several pages of book club questions from online, and I (sort of) led the group in an informal discussion of the book, its characters and what actions influenced the outcome, etc. It was really a nice evening, and we have decided to do a separate book club that meets every three months (for now.)

When we began discussing how we would conduct the book club, and what rules we should have, several people disagreed on the book choices or had particular suggestions; such as no nonfiction books. So it was suggested that we allow the hostess of each meeting to be the one to choose the book (one that she had already read and liked) and that if anyone disagreed with the choice of the book, they could "sit out" that meeting and pick up the group with the next meeting. It was also suggested that we could put into a fishbowl the name of a book we had read and liked, and the hostess would choose one.

Do any of you have experience with a book club? How did you go about choosing the books to be read, and how did you handle dissent on the choice? Are there any other pitfalls in a book club and if so, how would you suggest it be handled?

And just for your information, the foods were excellent! Just the right number of each type of food, wines flowing, and lemonade and iced cucumber water for those who didn't imbibe (like moi, the designated driver.)

We have a new neighbor who came to last night's meeting and she is going to be a delightful addition to all our groups. She stepped right in and joined the various conversations, brought a killer appetizer and offered to host the very next meeting! How's that for joining in? We love her already!

14 comments:

srp said...

I have often wanted to do a book club, but no one in our neighborhood seems to have time to do it. Your neighborhood seems so close knit... how fortunate you are!

Mar said...

I haven't been in a book club, the closest one would be at the library, where there is one host and he chooses the books, I should give it a try, it sounds very enriching.

Iced cucumber water? I should try that too!!

Gilly said...

What lovely neighbours you have!

And good luck with the Book Club. I've had no experiences of one, so can't help, though I would have thought that having to read a book you wouldn't normally bother with would be an Good Thing! And educational, too!

Anonymous said...

I am in a book club...have been for about 5 years. The club has been in existence since the early 90's. First give your bookclub a name that reflects the "mission" of the club. Our name is Quest. Book selection is probably the most challenging part for there is almost always at least one person who does not want to read the book that has been chosen. We do not require a person read the book to be present, but it sure does help with discussion to have read the book. Each year when we chose our books we chose from the ongoing list that is collected over the year of book recommendations. We read all sorts of material, fiction and nonfiction. Many times we spend more than a month or two on a book for the discussion of the book is what is the most important. We spent two months on The Help, dividing it into two sections. The first month we focused on the author and the times surrounding the book, and the first half. The next month we went into more of the story and characters. This was an interesting book in the sense that there were alot of differing opinions but in the end we had a much deeper understanding of the history and issues that were dealt with. The ladies in our group age from 50 to late 80's...this is a plus to see the different perspectives that age can bring. We keep food fairly simple. Two of the months are more "luncheon" oriented and the other afternoons are refreshments.
We go over our ground rules once a year to keep the reminders of being open to others points of view, be nice about a book choice even when you do not like the book, etc. Our group has grown very close and very supportive of each other through the years of getting to know each other. There is nothing like a good book group...good luck!

kenju said...

Anonymous, thanks so much for the insightful advice. I will pass it on at our next meeting.

Arkansas Patti said...

Oh, I want a book club here. Maybe I can get one going.
I like the idea of the book being chosen by the hostess. It could get you reading a book you might not normally pick out.
I have The Help on my night stand but since I got my Kindle, I hesitate picking up a real book. Very sad side effect. I hear it is wonderful, someday when my battery dies, I'll find out.
Enjoy it and your group. Sounds fun.

sage said...

I was once in a book club, but it fell apart. I once did a book club online--but around a particular book, (pretty deep with deep academic discussions) where each individual takes a different chapter and posts discussion starter questions. I would like to do more of those.

Star said...

You had me at iced cucumber water. I have never heard of that. Is it water with cucumber slices?

Evil Twin's Wife said...

It's nice to get new good neighbors. If we ever move, I'm coming to your neighborhood! :-)

Beverly said...

I've never been in a book club either, but it sounds like fun and enlightening. You got some good pointers there.

Olga said...

I have only participated in short term kinds of book discussions at various libraries. Your neighborhood sounds like a great place. have good neighbors add so much to life.

Darlene said...

I have always longed to belong to a book club, but have never had the opportunity. I think your suggestion of allowing a member to opt out of reading the book is good, but I would still let them come and listen because they might find that they want to read the book after all.

I would prefer simple refreshments; several beverages, chips and dip or something very easy to fix. I have found that there are always a few women who get very competitive on who can serve the most elaborate desert and it overshadows the real purpose of the club.

Granny Annie said...

I have never been in a book club. I absolutely loved THE HELP and if I were in a book club and someone in the club did not like THE HELP I would have been very unhappy. Guess that means a book club is not for me. LOL

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

I tried to comment on your turtle/bug post but got a blogger error. But here I am to say that the book club I belong to has the host choosing the book but it's done 10 months in advance so you know what you will be reading so you can pick and choose.

I loved The Help, by the way, and you are in the south. What did you think?