Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Book Clubs

I've been in book clubs for most of my adult life. I love reading, I love getting book recommendations, and I love recommending my books to my friends, even when I worry about it. So they just seem a good fit for me. Libraries usually have a club running, and many book stores do as well. Or you can start one or find one and glom onto it. I've done all of these. Carrie Baughcum
Friends Book Club: There's an amazing group of women who get together monthly and celebrate a book, and I usually get to host them!  We all love to read and do it for pleasure, so we try to pick books we'll enjoy. This means avoiding most books recommended for book clubs -- books full of pain and agonizing choices and dubious moral paths may make for great conversation, but we're full of great conversation on our own. We want books to bring us joy. So we read a lot of genre books -- fantasy and science fiction, with young adult, mystery, and nonfiction also welcome to apply. We have a firm rule that not wanting to read the book is not an acceptable reason for not attending; just don't read the book! (Acceptable reasons for skipping: avoiding spoilers if you loved the book but didn't finish, being really tired, annoying life interference, bad weather.) Occasionally we stretch our wings a bit and do something different; Januaries are movie nights, we have done a live Shakespeare read aloud, we did a pot luck with local food while reading Animal Vegetable Miracle, we went to a strip club... Anyway, it's the best. Current book: Radiance, Grace Draven.
Tuesdays: I have another bunch of friends that I meet up with weekly. Well, we don't meet up, since we're in three different states, but we all hang out on our computers together. For years we played MMPOG games, but then we got tired of the game we were playing. So we tried some other games, and then we tried a book club, and that's where we are now. It's a movie/book club because we put a movie on and gossip about it while occasionally mentioning the current book. We've tried to read a variety of different things -- Lovecraft, Louie L'Amour, Jennifer Crusie, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Andy Weirs. We've found some good movies along the way, although the best movies are the ones we can talk over and laugh at and riff off the books to. And since we are all home already, a little drinking is encouraged. Current book: The Book Thief, Markus Zusak. Last week we paired this with a Lego documentary. This week I think we are considering a Korean Robin Hood kind of flick. (UPDATE: now that it's Wednesday morning, I can say we enjoyed The Righteous Thief, which was the Korean Robin Hood movie we read to finish off The Book Thief, and now we are reading Jim Butcher's Grave Peril.)

Chocolate Chip Cookies - kimberlykv

Elementary: Long, long ago, while my kids were still in elementary school, I started a book club there. And I never left. As a matter of fact, it's a bit more fun without my kids, because nobody cares how uncool I am anymore. The oldest is still there in spirit, because he makes the cookies that are an important part of the event -- I bring a bunch of chocolate chip cookies and some questions about the
book. This year I've tried writing the questions on big cards and putting them on the tables the kids are eating lunch at, which  means I'm moving around to pick up the cards and talk. I think this is working. My goal is have fun and let the kids have fun. In an ideal world some of the kids come for the cookies and stay for the books, so Alexander's cookies are increasing the amount of reading in the world. Current book: Becoming Naomi Leon, Pam Munez Ryan.

Vaginal Fantasy: I'm not so much in this one as a bystander. Felicia Day (of Geek & Sundry) started a book club with her friends and they discuss their picks on youtube once a month. They pick mostly genre books with interesting women protagonists. Since I tend to like these books, I try to follow along. I sorta wish they'd have a podcast instead of a video, because it's the sort of thing that is mostly for listening. I've gotten some good recommendations, and enjoyed hearing them read some old favorites, and occasionally I even comment on the forums. Current book: The Pillars of the World, by Anne Bishop.

Sword and Laser: Another book club that I follow on the interwebs. This goodreads group hosts a podcast every other week or so to talk about a SFF book, alternating between Fantasy (sword) and Science Fiction (laser). Veronica Belmont picks the swords, and Tom Merritt the lasers. Of course, the genre doesn't actually divide up that easily, which is part of the fun. I'm often a month or so behind on these, but again it doesn't really matter. If I'm inspired, I can participate in the discussions on the goodreads forums, but if I'm not, no one cares. Current book: All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders. I'm still reading a book from a few months ago, Catherynne Valence's Radiance,  and I left a book mark in a book from last year, Roger Jackson Bennett's City of Stairs that I'll get back to one of these days. (I'm only this caught up because they read a lot of books I've already read, so I didn't reread them.)

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