Book Club Blues (am I the only one suffering from this?)

Book Club Blues Discussion and Thoughts

First, let me say all you people out there who rave about your book clubs and how great they are and how ya’ll just love each other- I kind of dislike you. No, actually, I’m envious. Pea green with envy. Because the book club I belong to, well… it does not inspire me to write a love poem about how great it is. It’s not terrible. But it could be a TON better. Hence, my book club blues.

Some backstory:

Back in 2012, I met this lady at a book signing (actually met her at a Joshilyn Jackson signing!) We quickly discovered we live only 1 town apart (which in small-town Mississippi means we are basically neighbors!) and we exchanged emails and a friendship began to form. A few weeks later, she invited me to her house for book club to discuss the Joshilyn Jackson book they were reading. So, pretty excited- I’d never belonged to a book club before. I went and had a pretty good time. We talked some about the book, some about other things, some wine was consumed and then the night was over.

Each month was a different book (and different people came and went as the agreement was the club would meet on certain day and if you could come, great; if not, catch you next month).

Why I’ve Got The Book Club Blues:

Book Selection:

For the first several months, each person picked a book and hosted book club. This worked out fine, mostly. Sure some books were not necessarily the ones I wanted to read- but I just rolled with the punches you know… Until…Around 3 or s months go by, and I notice a few things- there is 1 woman who only wants to read non-fiction. Hey, I get it- we all like out genres. But she dismisses EVERYTHING written by a woman as “chick lit” and repeats ad nauseam “I can’t abide chick lit”. So my enjoyment of the club began to slip.

Discussion of the Book:

You know the joke about my book club reads wine labels? Why, that’s not exactly true about my IRL book club- the truth is that it’s more like a social club. Yes, there is some discussion- but not that much. Again it’s ok. I mainly go for the fact that it’s something to do in a small town and because there are a couple of members I really like. I don’t even expect us to have a deep in-depth discussion of the book. BUT I DO LIKE THERE TO BE SOME DISCUSSION. And not to be forbidden to talk about certain parts of book because someone has not finished it. There are some months you don’t finish the book. Again, not a problem. But I suffered through that 800 page monstrosity 11/22/63 and I darn well want to discuss the ending. Only to find out that we aren’t discussing the ending because some people haven’t finished. Ai yay yi!

Author Events at Book Club (Skype/Call in)

And then… this: It was my month to pick a book- I thought long and hard, wanted to pick something that would have appeal, not be “chick lit”, and would provide discussion. I picked LITTLE GALE GUMBO by Erika Marks. I tweeted about it- and Erika kindly let me know that she would love to call or Sykpe in (you know things that most book clubs actually enjoy). Of course, the book club I belong to is not like most- the did not want to chat.  After that experience, even though I “know” quite a few of the authors of the books that are being chose to read, I don’t dare suggest having an author call in. Fool me once, shame on you… Fool me twice, shame on me.

The Future of The Book Club

We took a break for several months because one of the women was pregnant. In November we started back, and we’re struggling to come up with book selections that can be agreed upon. NIGHT FILM was picked (and it was split 50/50 on who liked/did not), THE GOLDFINCH (no one liked).

Again, with 500 million books published a year (maybe a teensy exaggeration) you’d think we could come up with some books. But, the “non-chick lit” reader makes things hard. Then we have some that don’t want to take a stand or rock a boat. Here’s the thing- pick a book. If it’s not good, it’s not good. It it’s great, it’s great.

I suggested for the next book titles such as A HUNDRED SUMMERS, CALL ME ZELDA, or THE WIFE, THE MAID and THE MISTRESS. (FYI: Just in case you did not know- THOSE books are CHICK LIT). So is Sarah Addison Allen- just in case you are curious.

For the next 2 months, I’m unable to attend due to other commitments. And I’m unsure how I feel. I get frustrated because it seems no one wants to be in charge, yet no one really goes with the flow. And yet, if I quit- I would miss some of the people in the club.

 

What do you do when your book club starts giving you the blues?

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37 thoughts on “Book Club Blues (am I the only one suffering from this?)

  1. melissa says:

    I am with you-I have book club blues. I am green with envy for anyone that gets to go to one. love book clubs. I love this website. I usually stick to my favorite authors. I joined a book club and really enjoyed it. I read books I normally would not have bought but ended up really enjoying them. Rebecca, Snow Flower and Secret Fan just to name a few. Maybe the break will do you good-and once you’re back, you can enjoy it again. I miss my book club.

  2. Honestly blogging has really filled that book club kind of gap in my reading life I think. I started a book club with a couple of friends right after college and we were really rocking and rolling for a few months but then a couple people moved away or started working crazy hours and it kind of fell apart. Having a book blog, to/for me, is like talking with the largest book club possible and I get to pick all the books! Fist pump!

    • That is true! And I do the She Reads thing (which I think is the best online book club). I joined because I was hoping that I would meet some ppl that would be fun to do things with. And a couple of them I REALLY like. But, we really only see each other during book club (married and have kids and don’t seem to want to do much outside of our book club meetings).

  3. I belong to two different book clubs and I am pretty lucky in that I like both of them. One I got into from Meetups. It is a one drink minimum book club that meets at a local Friday’s. They don’t always read books that I would choose on my own but the discussion is always on topic (about the book). The moderator is excellent and she really does a good job making sure no one dominates the discussion.

    The second one is hosted by a friend who owns a second hand and new book store. In that one we don’t pick one book and read it, but we just come together a couple times a month and discuss whatever we are reading. We sometimes trade books off. Definitely a more social club but with lots of book talk and activities. We all went to a romance authors conference on a local university campus together. We also meet up to go to book signings and BEA.

    • Oh wow! Both of your book clubs sound amazing! I’m all jealous!
      One time a year, I meet up with these women I met at a Booktopia weekend- we call in Unoffical Booktopia and it’s kind of like your second book club.

      Psst… I have a romance giveaway happening now and I’ll have some more in March 🙂 Just FYI!

      Thank you so much for stopping by 🙂

  4. Melanie Backus says:

    In our book club, there are no assigned books to read. We just all come to the table with a little book report of sorts from the book or books we have read since our last meeting. This way, we read what we like and tell the group about it. We also bring our brown bag lunches thus being called The Brown Bag Book Club.

    • We kind of do that- except 1 girl always talks about the same books. And another one “can’t remember anything else she’s read, but loves to talk about her days of reading Faulkner in college 500 years ago”

  5. T, I feel your pain. I loved to read but since I’ve been in Texas for the past five years, I haven’t found a book club I wanted to join. I’m a member of an area women’s social group and they have started a monthly book club but none of their selections have interested me.

    When I moved to TX from NC I drove down and while on the way, I stopped in at an IBS in Vicksburg, Mississippi, where the owner told me about The PulpWood Queens national book club. The founder is Kathy L. Patrick and so I bought her novel: The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara-Wearing, Book-Sharing Guide to Life. I loved that members get together to share their thoughts about the monthly selection and even better….they wear tiaras for the discussion! How cool is that?

    In 2009, my husband took me to Jefferson, TX where her bookstore/hair salon is located and she gave me my very own tiara to wear when I found a local chapter in the area. I wore that tiara everywhere we went during that weekend in Jefferson, and no one gave me any funny looks. I guess they are used to it, lol.

    Unfortunately, there isn’t a chapter anywhere close to where I live. I check out the book selections chosen each month and have read some of them on my own. My husband thinks I should start my own chapter, but in all honesty, I don’t know that I want the responsibility. So, for now it’s chatting with other book bloggers and friends on Goodreads.

    I enjoyed your post!

    • Hi Barbara Ann,

      I’ve heard of the Pulpwood Queens (and I love tiaras!) I’ve actually been wanting to go to Pulpwood Queen weekend- it just has not worked out yet.

      AGREED! The responsibility- omg, omg, omg! I know exactly what you mean. Like you want to do something like open a book club, but then you know that it’s going to be work and I worry that I won’t have fun with the members (especially if they start acting kind of crappy!)

      Barbara Ann, not to toot the She Reads horn too much- but seriously, check them out. She Reads is a great online book club, I host the Twitter chats, and it’s super fun. 🙂 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting- fingers crossed you find OR create a book club of your own soon! xo

  6. Books in the Burbs says:

    Oh, I had the blues and the bruised egos, and too much drama!!! Shortly after closing my private practice, I decided to join a book club. The moderator decided to quit and I took over. It was pretty structured: we’d vote on a book and then we’d eat and talk about the book-at length. Those who hadn’t read the book or didn’t want to know the ending had to come at their own risk-because we would talk about the book at length. We did a few skypes with authors, but the couple of times an author actually came to our meeting-it was even more lively. Because the club was small, members had to attend one book meet per quarter (at minimum) to be considered active. When I had surgery, I had another member take over couple of months. Then, she decided she didn’t want to let me resume my role and started her own book club, spread lies about me, and I was still recovering-so I just decided to close the book club down. When it became too much work, too much drama between members, and was becoming a breeding ground for gossip, I realized I needed to close the group.

    So, I haven’t been a part of one since and I am leery of them now, too. It is so important to have rules that members can agree on, and that everyone realize books may not always be the person’s kind of book-but to keep an open mind or just don’t attend that specific meet. There was one time that a woman came, didn’t read the book, didn’t want to know the ending-was super vocal about it and how much she hated the book based on the synopsis. And, she tried bulldozing he meeting over how upset she was about the synopsis!!! Good grief!!

    Maybe you should start a Skype book club and we can all Skype in together and do our own book club!! I love chick-lit and book clubs are meant to be fun!! I think people sometimes get confused as to what the book club is about. I never understood how people could get confused with what a book club is. So, some would show up just to eat and leave, or stay and talk about their life and keep changing the subject about the book to get back to them. So, it takes a leader to keep the group on target. My guess is that you are probably not the only that feels the same way and perhaps expand the book club to doing other things too, so that for those who don’t read books can still get together on other events. I certainly would want to read the books you suggest!!! Also, I agree with the other commenter: Meetup.com is awesome and is how I joined the book club.

    Great topic!!

    • Thank you!

      I’m one of the newer people in the club (even though, I’ve been there awhile). One thing to know about this town is that people are very “clique-ish” and the other is: I’m the youngest (I’m almost 10 years younger than a couple and 30-ish years younger than some of the others).
      There is 1 lady (the non-chick lit reading lady) that grates my EVER. LOVING. NERVES. I’m not sure when she became under the impression that her opinion is the most important, but I’m about ready to clear her of that misperception.

      We have those people in the group who only want to talk about their lives- and hey, I’m not saying we can’t talk about some personal things (I mean I don’t- I don’t trust them enough). BUT, we could. BUT I ALSO WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE BOOK.

      I think you made the right call in ending your book club (although it sucks!)

      I wouldn’t mind starting a Skype club- but where I live- the internet is so crappy, so that option is out for me. But one day maybe 🙂

      The problem is that I know at least 1 person feels the way I do- but she suffers from wanting to be nice all the time and just says “don’t rock the boat”. Which just aggravates me.

      We have a “leader”, but she tends to get distracted as well. It’s just a mess.

      And IKR? The books I suggested- hello? They sound good, y’know! Thank goodness for you internet book friends 🙂

  7. I completely understand your blues. My friend and I started our book club over 5 years ago in reaction to all the “Twilight” talk. We wanted to read and discuss other books. We invited 10 women from our neighborhood (My neighborhood is full of young mothers and most of us go to church together) and 5 started coming. We had great discussions. Everyone took turns picking books and even though we ended up talking about everything else too we were still a “book club”. There were some I liked and some I hated. Occasionally we would invite someone to join us and before long word got out and we started having 20-30 women stopping by to visit–more of a “girl’s night out”. Hardly anyone read the book. Then, my really good book friends moved away.

    We had a lady that always made disparaging comments about any YA or “chick lit” book that was chosen. And another woman who never commented at book club but made comments on Facebook about how “immoral and/or filthy” the book was (really, we don’t read erotic books). Fortunately, the have both stopped coming.

    Last year we decided to let everyone make book suggestions and in January we vote on the choices for the year. It’s helped a little because people know in advance what we are reading so they can request it from the library or put it on hold. More people are reading the books. I’m more likely to get out-voted on my choices now. I admit I’m not overly excited about the 2014 choices.

    It’s still nice to get together and I love all the ladies. I’ve come to rely more on my online reader friends (like you) to really discuss and enjoy books. I so appreciate you and others who understand me.

    Sorry you’re having book club blues. Hopefully it gets better soon or you can find a group that fits your tastes and personality better. Good luck.

    • We need a system on voting or something. We said at the last meeting for everyone to be thinking of a few books and email each other. I emailed like 10 books to the people in the group- never heard from anyone, but the non-chick lit reader who didn’t care for my picks. Grrrrr…..

      I realize that I won’t LOVE all the choices, but I do think out of the 12 books we read every year, there should be some that I’m excited to read.

      I kind of don’t know what to do. I don’t really have any friends that read (I Know, shocking!) So, I’d been really hoping that I would find some kindred spirits in this group. But it’s not quite working like I hoped. Fingers crossed things get better!

  8. My friends book club fell apart because three of the girls didn’t want to try to read different genres. I grow sick of reading about falling in love with werewolves. Lol. Cause that is all they ever read.

  9. I quit. It just isn’t worth my time. I joined a new one this month and we are reading Michael Lewis’s Boomerang. It is through my local library, so I’m sure we will be discussing the book. I also have a book club on my blog – it is really just me announcing what I plan to read for the month and people commenting on my posts if they wish. I can’t handle anything more than that right now. I would have been so disappointed if my book club didn’t want to participate in a Skype discussion with the author.

    • I wish my library would start one 😦 But, they’d want to have it during the day- and when you work- that so can’t happen!

      I used to have 1 on my blog until my co-host had to take time off. And then it just kind of started to more work than enjoyment b/c people were not participating much.

      I was SO EMBARASSED. Here, this author, was nice enough to call in to chat about her book- and they couldn’t even get a lively discussion up. So embarrassed.

      Thanks for stopping by- I’ll have to check out your blog’s book club!

  10. Oh, how frustrating! I’m enjoying my book club, but we’ve only had two meetings, so we’ll have to see how it evolves. For now, we’re having one person nominate 4 or 5 books each month. Then the rest of us rank them and the book with the best average rank wins. It works really well, but if people in your group aren’t willing to read outside their comfort zone, I’m not sure any book selection system is going to save that. Perhaps you could break off a group to read certain genres? Or leave it, but just keep in touch and have bookish discussions with people you enjoy talking to? Tough call! I hope you find something that works better for you than the current situation 🙂

    • That mentioning of books by is what we are trying to do now- but we only have a couple of vocal people in the group. The others just want to go along with the group’s choice 😦 In theory it sounds nice- but when no one is providing backup and you have a couple of people picking or vetoing the books- it gets all ARGH.

      I don’t think we could break off either b/c I think only a couple of us want to really discuss the book, but no one wants to “offend” anybody in the group by saying we should discuss more. Again… ARGH.

      If I look at it as a social club, it’s ok. But as a book club- we seriously fail. I swear I have deeper more in-depth convos about books with people on Twitter than I do in this book club.

      Fingers crossed for something better in the future 🙂 🙂

  11. I was in a book club once that just sort of fizzled out. We had a string of crappy book choices and it stopped being fun for everyone. Everyone but me was a working mom (I’m a worker, not a mom) and we decided if it wasn’t fun that we should find something better to do with our free time. I’m in one now with my neighbors that is a blast, but I think it helps a LOT that we have interests in common beyond just reading… Like our neighborhood. I would be SO FRUSTRATED if someone dismissed everything written by a woman as Chick Lit. Sounds like somebody needs to take off her cranky pants and branch out a little.

    • This is basically what is happening. I joined in the hopes that I would meet some fun ladies because I don’t have a ton of friends in the area anymore (most of my friends have moved to a bigger town or have become so involved with mommyhood that we don’t really talk). When I met the girl who invited me to join, she was so nice and fun- and I felt the group would be like that. But it’s not. Some months are better- better books, the cranky pants member/s are gone, etc.. But, some… just make me ugh.

      I am so terribly frustrated. I mean, I realize that not everything I WANT to read you would WANT to read, but I don’t say a word about the non-fiction books she’s chosen. But she just belittles everything that sounds chick lit, even if it is so far from chick lit (which is every book written by a woman that is not NON FICTION. Oh wait, excuse me- she will read some mysteries- but they have to have a true-crime feel.)

      ARGH.

  12. Agh! This sounds awful! I would have been hella pissed about not being able to discuss the ending – I’m sorry, but, really? And the book snob – yuck! I vote you start a mutiny and take the good people with you. 🙂

    Thanks for linking up with Spread the Love!

    • I. WAS. LIVID. Seriously, I wanted to throw shrimp and grits EVERYWHERE.Peeved me beyond all measure.

      The book snob, good grief, the book snob- I wish every time she would not show up. EVERY TIME.

      A mutiny? Hmmm… Def food for thought 🙂

  13. How annoying that must be! I agree with April: I think I would contact the nice people and see if they would like to form a new book club. If the other lady is determined to control the book selections and only read what she likes, maybe a book club isn’t right for her. Good luck with this, T, hope you find a solution that works for you 🙂

    • I’m def feeling like a mutiny might need to happen 🙂 🙂 Seriously, I do want to chat with some of the others and see if there is a possibility of something changing!

      Thanks for the good wishes- hopefully, things will change!

  14. Aw man that just sounds like the wrong combination of people for a book club. The “no chic lit” lady should start her own club, and let the rest of you have your fun. But really, should you ever find yourself moving to Houston, I can recommend some awesome book clubs. I’m in quite a few but there are some that work and others that are so-so.

    • I’m SO glad I’m finding such supportive people of my book club blues 🙂 🙂 🙂

      I think the no chick lit lady just has too much fun acting superior!

      Ooh yay! I know who to chat with if I’m ever Texas bound (and you just never know 🙂

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