I have been in a book club for a few months now and I find the experience very beneficial.
So far of the books we read, I really liked two, I really disliked two and I mostly liked another. One of the two I deeply liked was the book that I suggested, so that might not really count. So what is so good about reading with a book club?
First, I read books that I would normally never pick up. I have my favorite niches and genres and I like to find my books there. I mostly read science fiction, fantasy, and young adult books. I rarely venture into other isles. There is of course the occasional historical fiction and literary fiction book, but I dare you to find me in the romance or mystery section.
Now, with the book club, I read what the other members suggest. And that might be very far away from what I would have picked. So this is broadening my horizon quite a bit. At least one of the books I would have never picked ended up on my favorite list. And guess what? It came from the mystery section.
Also I get to introduce my friends to genres they probably would not pick. I am getting them to read young adult and I turned one of them into a fan of that category already.
Another perk is, that I have to think about those books. I have to be able to articulate why I did or did not like them. I have to sort through my reactions and figure out if the topic of the book captured my attention, if the writing style was working for me and if I would read anything from this particular author ever again. I am learning and I like it.
A positive side effect is, that this helps me in my work. I get to know what works and doesn’t work for me in reading. I can use this information in my writing.
Then there is the whole scheduling aspect. We are going out and meet to discuss a book. We make the book, and by that books in general, the center of our attention. And for someone who likes books as much as I do, that is deeply satisfying.
Lastly, sharing your thoughts about a book is a social aspect that I usually don’t get so much. Reading is usually a solitary activity. I read a lot and think about what I’ve read, but because nobody else in the house has read the book, I usually don’t talk about them. There are exceptions, of course, but talking about a book is not a regular thing. With the book club I know that there is someone else out there too, reading the book and that we will talk about it later.
So yes, I consider reading within a book club time well spent.