My book club met this week to discuss All the Light We Cannot See. Most of us liked it a lot and we had a really good discussion of the characters and their role in the story, and whether we liked the way the author told the story, skipping back and forth in time and between characters.
I joined this book club a few years ago when my friend and neighbor Deb decided to start a book club because the one she was in didn't discuss the books. I was reluctant, but she was persuasive and for the most part I haven't regretted it. We have read some books that I loved that I never would have read and some others that I hated. We have added a few members and we have a few snowbirds who only come when they're in town. Usually we don't have every member at a meeting, but if everybody came, we would have 12 women. Just today one of our member asked about adding two of her friends to the club. We will discuss it at our next meeting.
How many is too many for a book discussion group? When do the number of members start to negatively affect the discussion? Would people start feeling like they aren't heard because there are too many people in the discussion?
I am an introvert from the type of family that doesn't all talk at the same time, so I always find it hard to be heard in meetings. I also have what apparently is another introvert trait, of needing time to think about something before responding. So I often hear, "You didn't say much in the meeting." Or "You have really good ideas, why don't you talk more?" I like the structure of our book club because we start by going around the circle and each person has a chance to rate the book, 1 to 10, and say whatever they like about it. This guarantees that everybody gets heard at least once. And though we have people who talk more and those who talk less, we are very kind and respectful to each other.
So I am undecided on whether adding two more members would be good or not so good. New people can change the dynamic of a group, for better or worse. But you can't really ask people to stop coming after you've said yes to them.
Well, I have a month to think about it. And begin reading the next book, which is The Secret Daughter.