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Monday, September 9, 2013

Picky, Picky, Picky

If you belong to any book clubs, how do you assess which ones meet your needs? Full disclosure: I attended my first book club meeting in June 2010 ("Brooklyn" by Colm Toibin), so I'm fairly new to the game, although I've since been in and out of twelve clubs, with my longest continual participation in one club now approaching three years. Though at present I regularly attend meetings for six clubs, some of those are destined to drop off, based on my needs (below) or unforeseen variables.

1.) For me, leaders must be discerning readers skilled at asking pure questions (i.e. those they do not have ready answers for). Said leaders should pick the books, giving ample advance notice, and be willing (but not obligated) to take suggestions from members.

2.) Groups must be big enough that non-participation in any meeting discussion does not stand out.

3.) Any processes used in meetings must remain flexible. For example, members must be able to opt out of "rating" books ("I liked it"/"I didn't"; "I give it a 1-5", etc.) if they choose.

The ideal club for picky, picky, picky me: One with all of the above, reading a mix of fiction and non-fiction and a leader who attempts to keep profound pronouncements and side conversations to a minimum. Recommendations are welcome; location is unimportant.    

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