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For those of you that are currently in a book club or have tried a book club, what is it like in general?

What do people discuss? Literary theory purely? Snippets of favorite passages? Storyline and favorite parts and favorite characters? What are the people like in the book club, are they all literary professors and/or super intelligent and successful? How long does the book club session last? Does the discussion ever get heated? Should I have been taking notes of things to say as I have been listening to the audiobook, do people do that?

You see, I desperately want to join a classics book club at my local library and I’m reading the book for the end of March meeting for it. But my literary theory skills are VERY DUSTY. I am also afraid I’ll be the dumbest person in the room. That I’ll have nothing to say or contribute. That I’ll be too nervous and panicky. I didn’t even graduate college but I did study literature. But I’m wanting to be more social and I really enjoy reading classic literature.

Help?

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Mine is with five people from college (hit or miss based on schedule).  We meet by skype because we live in different areas. 

Our conversations are, in general, largely about what we thought of the book and what aspects we liked and why.  If it's a book that has some confusing elements, we'll discuss them.  I missed the last one because I didn't finish the book in time (you can still go, I just didn't want them to feel like they were censored).  Apparently it got a bit more deep into things. 

Ours isn't a particular theme.  One person choose a book for each month.  That person may ask for thoughts, but it's not a consensus building approach. That person is the one choosing.  So I'm not sure what the expectations would be in a group that has a particular theme or approach. 

I like mine a lot. 

I give you a lot of kudos for being open to one and I think it could be a good thing.  I'd say that it's okay if your literary analysis skills are weak.  Mine are non-existent.  Worst case scenario you go and listen to other people analyze the book.  Not saying you have to.  Just if you don't feel comfortable immediately. 

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22 hours ago, dancesintherain said:

Mine is with five people from college (hit or miss based on schedule).  We meet by skype because we live in different areas. 

Our conversations are, in general, largely about what we thought of the book and what aspects we liked and why.  If it's a book that has some confusing elements, we'll discuss them.  I missed the last one because I didn't finish the book in time (you can still go, I just didn't want them to feel like they were censored).  Apparently it got a bit more deep into things. 

Ours isn't a particular theme.  One person choose a book for each month.  That person may ask for thoughts, but it's not a consensus building approach. That person is the one choosing.  So I'm not sure what the expectations would be in a group that has a particular theme or approach. 

I like mine a lot. 

I give you a lot of kudos for being open to one and I think it could be a good thing.  I'd say that it's okay if your literary analysis skills are weak.  Mine are non-existent.  Worst case scenario you go and listen to other people analyze the book.  Not saying you have to.  Just if you don't feel comfortable immediately. 

Thanks dances! That really paints a good picture for me! I’m working up the courage to go! I still need to finish the book! Ha!

I’m glad you enjoy your book club! That’s awesome!

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I've been in a few different book clubs and I'd say it's really going to depend on the people in the club. Most of them will not be especially scholarly or knowledgeable, in my experience. I attended one group briefly where the woman leading the group *thought* she was a scholar and was really pretentious and annoying ... But that was actually a philosophy book group and most of the clubs I've been to are not like that.

I don't think you need to worry about having nothing to contribute. Often the best insights come from quiet people in the group. You might be surprised that something which seems obvious to you is new and eye-opening to other people.

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Juniper is right - it really depends on the people in the group. Also what system they choose to follow. In my experience the opposite extreme to those mentioned above involves every member contributing money, and then taking turns to go out and buy books. They also tend to be the kind of group which is more focused on wine and gossip than the actual literature. Not really my scene.

I think that the one you described really sounds like it's worth a shot. So what if there's a pompous ass there? You could meet some interesting people and get back into feeding a passion of yours. How great would that be? 😊

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20 hours ago, Juniper29 said:

I've been in a few different book clubs and I'd say it's really going to depend on the people in the club. Most of them will not be especially scholarly or knowledgeable, in my experience. I attended one group briefly where the woman leading the group *thought* she was a scholar and was really pretentious and annoying ... But that was actually a philosophy book group and most of the clubs I've been to are not like that.

I don't think you need to worry about having nothing to contribute. Often the best insights come from quiet people in the group. You might be surprised that something which seems obvious to you is new and eye-opening to other people.

Thanks for the insights juniper! I am a little worried with this being classic literature that it might be people like the woman you described but I hope not. I guess there is only one way to find out!

I appreciate your help. Thank you! I like what you said in your last sentences. That makes sense to me. 

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20 hours ago, MiaB said:

Juniper is right - it really depends on the people in the group. Also what system they choose to follow. In my experience the opposite extreme to those mentioned above involves every member contributing money, and then taking turns to go out and buy books. They also tend to be the kind of group which is more focused on wine and gossip than the actual literature. Not really my scene.

I think that the one you described really sounds like it's worth a shot. So what if there's a pompous ass there? You could meet some interesting people and get back into feeding a passion of yours. How great would that be? 😊

Thanks Mia! This book club I’m interested in is run by the public library so I don’t think it costs anything. I was able to rent the audiobook or digital download it for free. There was also an ebook to download for free too and I’m sure physical copies of the book at the actual libraries as well (we have 4 in town).

Wine and gossip? Eek! I know nothing about wine and actually dislike the taste of it! Ha! I’d fail at that scene! I understand how you feel!

Thanks for your advice. There very well could be a mix of maybe a pompous ass or two and some very nice and interesting people. Hopefully more of the latter! And it is a passion of mine, you are correct! It would be great!

Oh you guys are making me brave enough to go in late March and try it out! I’ll be nervous I’m sure but it might just be worth it!

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I think I should also call ahead before the book club meets and just verify that anyone can show up and ask maybe what it’s kind of like? Maybe they could give me a few insights about this particular book club? I could make a list of a few questions before I call too. I think that’s what I’ll do. That might help the anxiety too.

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On 3/15/2020 at 12:52 AM, Fluent In Silence said:

We discuss Mein Kampf before the gay orgy. I think that's pretty typical of most book clubs.

Sometimes I'm a bit drunk when I post things here. Sorry.

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1 hour ago, Fluent In Silence said:

Sometimes I'm a bit drunk when I post things here. Sorry.

Well, I thought it was funny. Absurd gets me every time.

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On 3/21/2020 at 7:19 PM, Fluent In Silence said:

Sometimes I'm a bit drunk when I post things here. Sorry.

No sorry. I thought it was funny too. 

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