A couple of years ago my neighbor asked me to join a book club that she was starting. I didn't think I was the book club type and I also told her I didn't really think I had time, but she was persistent. She told me she wanted to start this group because the book club that she belonged to didn't discuss the books. They just talked. She also told me she was inviting the smartest women she knew. Flattery will get you everywhere apparently. I joined.
I didn't know any of the other women in the group except for my friend, but now I look forward to seeing them once a month. They are a group of smart, interesting women, many teachers, but also an artist, a children's advocate, and a financial advisor. We spend most of the meeting time actually discussing the book, but we also laugh and share things about our lives. Since someone had the bright idea, about 6 months ago, to serve wine, we've had even more fun.
Being in this group has made me read books that I would never have read. We try to pick books that have gotten good reviews, but are not too new, since we all prefer to borrow from the library and of course the new books generally have wait lists. We read mostly fiction, but we have an occasional nonfiction selection. I realize now that there is a certain kind of book that works as a book club book. It has to have something in it that is discussable. For some reason this often means that the book is depressing.
We had a string of three months recently when I hated all the books. We start out our meetings by going around the circle and each person rates the book, 1 to 10, and offers some comments about it. In one case we had quite a split among the members, with some really loving it and others hating it. But the last two books, everyone disliked. And we had a lot of fun talking about how much and why we disliked them.
Left to my own reading devices, I read mysteries, history, especially about the American Revolution and 18th century Vienna, and books about music, especially Mozart. Being in the book club has truly broadened my reading, and introduced me to some books that have stayed with me.