Why I don’t like book clubs – and yet I’m starting one (allegedly)

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be on Twitter. There I was, minding my own business, sending out pithy (to me) tweets about this and that, when suddenly I found myself inveigled in a conversation about book clubs.

I don’t like book clubs. I get that people love them, and I must say that I did have an enjoyable time in one a few years ago – but that had nothing to do with books. Mostly we got together, drank beers and talked about men. Even so, because I am a nerdy wordgirl, I had to endure reading many, many books that I did not like at all. Because they had been set as the text for that month and I am nothing if not diligent when it comes to doing my homework.

So I’d wade through someone else’s choice of literature, feeling physically itchy about it at times, and then turn up on the night to find that I was the only one who had. Even the person who had set the book hadn’t read it. Or, if they had, they wanted to tell us that they ‘liked it’ or ‘didn’t like it’ and then move on to beers and men.

Leaving me there, alone, with my carefully prepared thoughts on theme and narrative devices.

Hmmmph.

Anyhoo, back to that fateful Twitter conversation. Somehow, thanks to @ClaireyHewitt, I have found myself head prefect of a newly formed online book club. Only I’m not going to call it a book club, I’m going old school, with Reading Club. Much more refined.

Despite my best efforts to delegate the whole exercise to @HelloMaxabella (you can’t say that without hearing Seinfeld sneer “hello Newman”, now can you?), here I am. With my Fibro Reading Club. Membership of one.

The Rules of Fibro Club:

1. You do NOT talk about Fibro Club (okay, not really, but how could I resist?)

2. The book for each month will be announced in my newsletter on the 15th of each month. The Fibro Club post regarding that book will go up on the first day of the following month. That gives us about two weeks to read the book. Long enough?

3. If you want to participate in the discussion, it would be great if you read the book. But if you don’t like the look of the book, feel free to simply bypass that month and pop back another time. Or read something else and tell us what you think of that instead.

4. No shirts, no shoes. Pyjamas and beers are, however, perfectly acceptable.

At this stage, I’m still deciding the best place to hold our discussion. We can just do it in the comments here. Or we can shift to Twitter. Or I could even get all excited and start a Facebook page. All suggestions welcome.

There you have it. My prefect badge is all shined up and ready for the announcement of the first book in next week’s newsletter. Feel free to sign up if you’d like to join in!

Have you ever been in a book club? Tell me what you love and/or hate about them so that we can avoid the same mistakes?

[UPDATE AUGUST 2016]: I am no longer in charge of the Pink Fibro Bookclub, but it lives on. You can join the club’s Facebook group here.

Comments 22

  1. I am in. How about stretching the comfort zone of many and making it a Google + community.

    PS have I told you of my dislike of email newsletters..I have a special email address for email newsletters that I have to sign up for…but I never check it so I guess I better use my real one for this one.

  2. I’ve been in a book club for over eight years and have never missed one meeting. It’s been such a great way to stay in contact with people who are now very dear friends.

    We read everything, except Dan Brown type best-sellers. We’ve read classics, graphic novels, erotica, Australiana, good crime, chick lit, science fiction and a lot of excellent foreign authors.

    We even had a bloke as a member until he hooked up with one of the girls and they ran away together.

    An open-mind is the key for a great bookclub. xx

  3. Oh yay! I’m excited. I had an idea a year or so back to run an online book club. One of those fleeting ideas that sound great at the time and then I realise how much work is involved!
    I’m in for sure! Perhaps we could do a Facebook group? Or just here on your blog as Maxabella suggested?

  4. I’d like to give it a go. I’m part of a real-life book club that is comprised of all English teachers and librarians. Needless to say, we talk about the books. We also drink wine, eat amazing food and have a ton of fun. It is such fun for me.

    Could you create a “Reading Club” tab on your page and file the discussions there?

  5. I do like a book club and have belonged to a couple. One was very social, involving wine and nibbles then coffee and cake and we chatted, with only a cursory mention of the book and while it was fun, it was really just friends gossiping. The other one was quite formal, with lots of academic questions and sheets of paper…I felt as though I was back in a uni tutorial with pressure to say something terribly clever! I find the idea of an on-line book club intriguing but am wondering how it would work (don’t have Facebook – I know, techno-dinosaur) Would there be a general structure – a few questions on whether you liked it, maybe a brief discussion of the plot, themes, characters and style? (sorry English teacher talking) The great thing about book clubs is the variety of opinion, some people love a book while others hate the same book – fascinating!

  6. I am in!
    I have never been in a reading club before but always wanted to be. I think because I like Marieke Hardy and watched her on First Tuesday Book Club 🙂
    I look forward to your next newsletter.

  7. I saw on Twitter that Claire nominated you as running this! Thanks.

    I have never been in a book club – the pressure to read a book that I may not necessarily have chosen, seems like a bit of hard work! I have a huge amount of books that I want to read, but just not getting through them fast enough!

    But if you happen to choose a book, that I want to read, I would be happy to be part of it.

    Annie

  8. I have just found your blog and wondered if this book club is going ahead as I am very interested 🙂

  9. Love bookclub and about to start a new one again after moving – but some things that have bugged me with them over the years. Yes I am with you with the not reading the books (well what are we going to discuss then?), someone who HASN’T read the book and gets all narky when there are ‘spoilers’ in discussing the book. I know life takes over sometimes and the book cant always be finished no matter how hard you try but put your big girls pants on and deal with the fact that if we are going to discuss the book in any fashion then YES you are going to hear spoilers potentially along the way. Feel free to vacate the lounge and refill your wine glass/visit the loo/stick your fingers in your ears and say ‘nah nah nah Im not listening’ or whatever takes your fancy but pleeaaase dont whinge when we do discuss the bloody book this IS a bookclub after all, and yes I am so with you with the “Um I liked it” or “Um I kinda didnt really like it” version of discussion at bookclub. A little bit more detail would be nice thanks. And um my last one the biggest b*tch I have about old bookclubs is non-readers coming along and when its their turn to choose a book they dont come along with some lovely meaty novel but a reference book…on CLEANING! Ah yes true story. I read to avoid housework really I dont need to READ about it and DISCUSS at bookclub. Please leave!

    Well got that off my chest thanks. I LOVE LOVE LOVE bookclub and look fwd to taking part in this one if I can keep it up with the other new one just kicking off this week in my new home town yay!

  10. Pingback: 4 things I learned in my 4th year of blogging | Allison Tait

  11. Pingback: Should I join a writers' group? | Allison Tait

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *