I can’t write my reading journey without writing about the book group I belong to. This group has no name other than “book group,” but it has been running for 12 years and I have been a member since 2014.
I did a quick google search to see what people have already written on “reasons to join a book group.” I could sketch out a pretty hefty list of reasons myself, because I LOVE being in this group, but some of the reasons given tickled me.
I can safely say that “because snacks are often provided” didn’t cross my mind, and let me tell you I have a pretty ‘healthy’ appetite. “It gives you a reason to buy new books” also drew a snort. I clearly don’t need a reason, and I’m willing to posit that many members of book groups never need a reason to buy new books, and are drawn into book groups, in the main, fundamentally because they are people who never need a reason to buy new books. Don’t take me wrong – I chuckle only in fun – any reason to read more books is a good reason in my mind. If it’s snacks and buying books for some people then more power to them. I hope their book group experience is a good one, like mine, and they find myriad other reasons why it is worth their while.
I have been in other book groups during my life and I know that they are not all created equal. Finding a good and comfortable book group can make all the difference to your experience and for me it has to enhance my reading life in some way, or I don’t find it fun.
As far as I know, our book group with no name also has no rules, at least not spoken ones that we have to enforce. This makes me very happy indeed. When I joined in 2014 nobody presented me with “the rules,” and my experience so far, 5 years later, is that there are none. Everyone in the group follows the unwritten rules of decent and respectful behavior, and we always manage to engage in polite discussion, welcoming everyone’s viewpoints, and happily disagreeing in an agreeable way. If this sounds too good to be true – then you may be in the wrong book group. No one likes bullies and trolls and we are friends sharing a reading journey.
Our Non-Rules Include:
- If members happen to have a busy month and don’t read the book – they can still come to the book group meeting, and they do without embarrassment or stigma.
- If you can’t make the book group meeting, and then the next, and the next and so on, we do not banish you! Welcoming back a friend who has been sidetracked by the demands of a busy life is a happy occasion in our group.
- You can pick whatever you want on your turn. Our group is voluntary all the way. Members pitch a month they would like to host and pick the book for that month. Our leader emails the list of books and we take it from there.
- You don’t have to host at home. If you can’t accommodate everyone at your house for your month you can pick a cafe/restaurant/other suitable location for us to meet at.
- Audible/Kindle/hard copy friendly. No snobbery, no judgments, no prejudice. Your reading experience is your own. We like that there are members who have listened to the audiobook, it brings another dimension to the discussion every time.
- You don’t have to “lead the discussion.” Some people are not comfortable doing this and that is fine with us. I have never been to our book group meeting where no-one has information on the author, other reading suggestions, discussion questions etc.
There isn’t much else to say to introduce the book group. The relaxed attitude means no pressure and the book list is always diverse (I will post about our books and meetings as the year rolls on).
I hope you find a group that makes you welcome, comfortable, and happy. This group expands my reading horizons with a variety of genres, and fills my reading life with friends who share my passion for books…and there are always snacks!