I am delighted to welcome Laura DiSilverio to our place. I recently reviewed the debut book in her new mystery series (click here). She has a good question for you too.
Up front confession: I do not currently belong to a book club, even though I've just launched a series about the five women who make up the Readaholics book club.
Over the stifled gasps, I add: I would like to, but with two teens still at home, I have not carved out the time to join one or start one. [Embarrassed pause.] Okay, that's weak. We make time for the things that are important to us, right? I mean, I make it to the gym 3-4 times a week, and to Bible study every other week, so if I were serious about wanting to join a book club, I would. After all, CEOs and government ministers and stay-at-home moms with six kids find time (and babysitters) and get to their once a month book club meetings.
Book Club Types
I've gotten as far as debating what kind of club I would like to join. One that reads best-sellers? One that reads classics? A club that mixes it up with fiction one month and non-fiction the next? One that has husbands and wives, or one that's all women? One that spends ten minutes discussing the book du jour and an hour catching up with friends and noshing? Or a club that huddles around a facilitator with a long list of prepared questions?
I divide most book clubs into two groups: social and serious. There's usually a lot of wine or margaritas at a social book club, and furrowed brows and note-taking at the serious ones. As a writer, I've talked to clubs of both kinds and enjoyed them both. I get all my best what-to-read-next recommendations from book clubs.
Reading Like a Writer
I think part of my inertia is because I haven't ever been part of a book club that wants to look at books the way I do, as a writer. Francine Prose wrote a book called Reading Like a Writer some years back, and I think she'd be great to have in a book club. Yeah, it can be interesting to argue about the social issues raised in a book, and ask "What would I do in such-and-such a situation?" But I want to dissect how an author makes a character sympathetic, or how she raises the tension in a particular scene, or why he chose a particular setting. Few of my friends and neighbors want to take a book apart that way. That's not a slam on them--they're not writers.
I'm sure a movie director would have a similar experience watching movies with non-industry friends. Her buddies might be gushing about the moral dilemma portrayed in the film, while the director says, "Did you notice how that shot was framed, or that transition, or the lighting?"
While writing this post, I've come to the conclusion that I really do want to be part of a book club. If I start a book club that spends at least part of every meeting looking at how the author wrote the book (and part of each session quaffing wine, chatting and arguing about the book's content), will any of you join me? We'll have to call ourselves the Readaholics, of course.
In the comments, please recommend a book for us to start with!
P.S.: If you don't live close enough to Colorado Springs to make it to meetings, why not check out the Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco to see what they're reading?
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THANK You Ms. Silverio for that thoughtful post on book clubs. I tend to look at how the book is written as well.