There’s nothing more enjoyable than finishing a book and having a group of people to discuss it with. Books we’ve loved or loathed get thrown into the spotlight for a few hours and we chat, sometimes heatedly, about what we thought of them. I find it interesting from a writer’s point of view, when the group collectively dislike a book that I really enjoyed. The first time it happened, and I won’t name the book, has stayed with me. My book clubber friends thought the main character was too whiny, and they couldn’t be sympathetic towards her. Whereas, I found her brutally honest, and thought she was doing her best to extricate herself from an unhappy situation.
That particular meeting struck a chord with me. It made me ponder my own characters. And still to this day, I keep in mind that for readers to like an unhappy character there has to be some redeeming qualities or at least something in them that makes us understand the reason they act a certain way.
There are all sorts of book clubs. Mine is more the social kind, laidback on rules, and a relaxed discussion about books in general. Others are more ordered with an adjudicator to keep the focus on the book, and the meeting running on time.
These days you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your house. Allison Tait from Life in a Pink Fibro runs an online group. The benefit of this group, aside from the obvious, is being online Allison has guest authors who pop in for a chat that all members can participate in. It gets you up close and personal, and sounds like fun. Here is the link if you’re interested in joining. http://www.facebook.com/events/621350117875853/
You can also find book clubs at your local library. Or ask at your local bookshop. Check Facebook for groups in your suburb.
No matter which group you prefer, from the serious, to the social, I don’t think there’s anything quite like being able to rush to your club members after finishing a book that in some small way changes you as a person, and finding a group of people who are as a excited by it as you.
I mean, I’ve tried running things past my five year old twins, “Guys –insert jaw dropping metaphor – what do you think of that? Wasn’t it just beautiful?” Two pairs of vibrant blue eyes stare up at me blankly.
Maybe not. Book club is the place for me.