Why have you quit a book club?

14 Jan

So the title is pretty self-explanatory: I’m curious what would cause a person to quit (or not join) a book club. Yes, this is slightly self-serving because I’m hosting an on-line book club read-along, but I also want to know because I’m thinking of quitting one of my book clubs. I seriously doubt I’ll lack the umph to do it, but maybe this will help.

I’ve run into a few reasons people don’t want to be in a book club: don’t like the book, don’t have enough time, worry about falling behind or not finishing the text, don’t like the other people participating, etc. But I want to know what finally pushed you over the edge.

Here’s my situation. I’m in four book clubs; two through my library, one that I run at work, and one I run online. So that’s a lot of books that are more-or-less dictated to me. I don’t get a lot of time to read books I choose, unless they’re audiobooks. One of my book clubs just isn’t doing it for me consistently. There have been a good number of duds from this group. But, on the bright side, a lot of hits. I read The Art of Fielding in this group, the book I choose as my #1 read of 2014, and it’s with this group that I had the discussion on The Light Between Oceans that led to my top page of all time. But more recently, I’ve been let down by the selections. The group isn’t well-organized and the discussion always seems to go to someone’s medical problems or something that was on PBS. A little side-tracking is fine, but this group can be too much.

So, as a way to remedy this disappointment a bit, I started my Read-Along with Me series. I could (kinda) pick the books and hoped to find a group of like-minded people who were excited to talk about books. And I think Read-Along 1 (The Maze Runner) went well. Read-Along 2 (The Space Between Us) shrunk to 2 other participants, but we had a lot of fun. It was a great discussion and we ended up loving the book. So I decided to go ahead and do Read-Along #3 (The Unbearable Lightness of Being) which began this past weekend and after several people having to decline, there are only two of us left: me and Nicole. So I’m trying to find out; why don’t  you join a book club? Then I’ll do the opposite of that.

So Reader, help a girl out. What would turn you off to a book club? What would turn you on to one? What would make you quit? And, if you will, should I quit my book club and strike it off on my own? I’m not sure I’m brave enough! What is your opinion on themed book clubs?  That would be something like a YA club, or a SciFi club or a historical fiction club.

And, if after all this, you want to join Nicole and I for Read-Along #3, please send me an email. We’d love the company.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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5 Responses to “Why have you quit a book club?”

  1. readingcook January 14, 2015 at 1:18 PM #

    For me, the main purpose for joining a book club is to read and discuss books I might not have discovered on my own and that help me grow as a reader. There have been a few duds along the way, but there have been some absolutely incredible books as well. Most of our discussions have been enlightening, especially when different opinions were being expressed. I would be turned off – and quit – if the discussions continually got off track or if there were members who felt the need to argue rather than discuss. I would also lose interest if there were more dud selections than worthwhile reads. From what you have shared, I think that one book club is not truly meeting your needs as a reader, so I think you are better off without it.

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    • Sam January 14, 2015 at 2:47 PM #

      I love that I discover new books with my club. That’s the main reason I’ve joined. I love when someone’s comments make me think and there have been times that’s been the case as well. There’s no arguing in our group; these people aren’t that type. And I’d say the duds don’t outweigh the winners. I want to read a lot more of my own selections and that’s where I’m struggling with this group.

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  2. Mari January 14, 2015 at 3:03 PM #

    Sam – here are my thoughts to some of the points you made in your post today:
    1) Themed book clubs are great! I am not interested in all types of books, but for fun I enjoy good fiction. I joined the book club that we both belong to because of the “edgy” theme, and because it meets at a local restaurant, not at individual homes. I also like that the organizer has prepared discussion questions and the format of the meeting is structured so that everyone gets a chance to discuss.
    2) Why would I quit a club? That’s a little tougher to explain, especially since I am one who bailed at the last minute on your read-along. But, similar to what I like about our current club meetings – structured planned discussion – I was not prepared to participate so heavily (writing a “muse” piece on a section?) and found I was dreading it before it even started. Participating in discussions, contributing a discussion question or two – those are fine with a larger group so the impact of an individual’s responsibility is not so critical to the event. But with only 3 of us participating I was concerned about the level of responsibility on each person. I am a leader in all aspects of my life, but was looking to be a participant to a much lesser dregree. That being said, I really think the concept for the read-along is excellent, and would love to participate if there was less pressure (self-induced, I know!) And by the way – I did buy the book and look forward to reading it!
    3) Lastly, in the future I probably will not participate wiht books that I can’t get on my Kindle. It is just so much more comfortable, portable, user-friendly than a paper book for me. I know there are people who feel exactly the opposite (my husband included, who will not use a reader) but I love my Paperwhite – especially in the summer on the back deck, in the middle of the night in a dark room, at a boring concert…
    I hope this give you some insight, especially as to why I decided not to read along (I do feel bad about that) but as final advice I would tell you that if your book club is not providing the experiences you enjoy and are looking for – you should quit. Life’s too short!

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    • Sam January 14, 2015 at 3:16 PM #

      Mari, please know this was in no way aimed at you! There were a total of three people who had to step away from the Read-Along and with that high of a number, I started to think that a restructuring might be necessary. Reading your comment, I think I needed to explain how it was set up a little better initially (a muse topic is a sentence thing for the others to think about, for example, the role of tradition in the section).

      The first time I had one of these discussions, we had 8 participants (6 active) and there was a very muddy feeling to it. There were a lot of disjointed questions and the conversation was lacking. It was more like each person giving their opinion and then the next person saying something about a completely different part of the book and no chance to respond to what the first person said. I introduced the ‘muse’ topic to give the discussion a more centralized theme so we could all express an opinion on the same topic. It seemed to work well in the second read-along, but there were only three participants (including myself).

      I hadn’t considered looking to see if book were available as ebooks! Thanks for bringing that up. I, like your husband, am a paper-book reader and never give a second thought to ebooks. I know that I’m a shrinking majority as the rest of the world moves to e-readers. I’m taking a mental note in thick Sharpie to check for e-availability in my next selection.

      I again apologize if this felt like any kind of personal rant against your quitting; it was not in any way. I’m more frustrated that I’m unable to garner up any interest and I was ecstatic that you even responded! One idea I had is to pick books that will soon become movies and read them before their release dates. What do you think of that for a theme?

      I look forward to seeing you tonight! Maybe we can come up with some other ideas. Happy reading.

      Like

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  1. Friday Finds: Week 16 | Avid Reader - January 16, 2015

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