Have you guys ever taken part in a book club? I tried once, several years ago, but it didn’t work out – not only did our schedules conflict (which led to the book club folding), but I ended up finding it depressing because the other women in my group had such different tastes than mine. It meant that I never got to pick the books I’d really like, even when it was officially my turn to choose, and I had to force my way through the books the group chose. Oh well, I thought. Book clubs just aren’t for me.
But I was wrong.
This summer, I visited my hometown for the first time in six and a half years. For the first time in years, I got to hang out with my oldest friends in person, and it was wonderful. While I was there, one of my friends and I (who’ve shared very similar reading tastes for the last 25 years!) met for breakfast every week, and talked about books and life and everything else as we ate French toast, waffles, and other yummy meals. Once I left, we decided to continue the tradition virtually by setting up a book club via Skype.
Guess what? It turns out that I love book club when it’s a club made up of people with similar tastes. My tastes aren’t identical to my friend’s – left on my own, I would never touch some of the horror that she loves, I might not discover as many great comics or graphic novels, and I’d probably read a lot more light fantasy, kids’ novels and romance than she would gravitate toward on her own. Together, though? We stretch each other’s reading tastes in just the right way. I’ve tried books that I worried might be too dark, when it was her turn to choose the book for book club – and I really, really enjoyed them. We’ve also found books new to both of us that we both devoured.
This month we’re reading a graphic novel, Ms. Marvel. I can’t wait to talk about it with her over Skype…and talk about everything else, too, along the way.
And in really lovely news, I found out that the author Gail Carriger (whose Finishing School series I ADORE) has chosen my first book, Kat, Incorrigible (a.k.a. A Most Improper Magick) for her own online book club, which all of her readers are invited to join! I felt even happier about that news because I’ve learned to love book club so much.
How about you guys? Do you have a book club of your own?