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Monday, December 14, 2015

The Book Club Scorecard

Although my sixth year as a serial book club surfer was a mixed bag - and I haven't yet re-captured the magic of the first club I ever joined back in 2010 - I continue hanging in there.

Still, my record for longevity in any club is about two and a third years. So recently hearing about my local librarian's private club - together for over twenty years - I began wondering. Those of you who have been in any one club for more than five years, what sustains your involvement? The discussions? Camaraderie? Moderator? Selections? Proximity to your home? Wine? The absence of men?

I've been around long enough to experience the predictable life cycles of many types of groups. And my standards for book club involvement - frequently centering on the selections - probably interfere with my enjoyment and, in turn, how long I remain. But that conversation with my librarian about her all women's club also started me reflecting on the impact being the only man in most of my clubs might have on any group dynamic.

For now, I've settled on two strategies: 1.) A 2016 vs. 2015 comparison. In 2015, three clubs bit the dust and one was added. If I can't improve on that scorecard in 2016, it may be time to start my own club in 2017. 2.) I'm also going to pay more attention to how my participation might affect the group dynamic at meetings. Giving that second piece more focus could easily have a positive effect in other domains of my life, especially my conversations. As always, I'm interested in your view on my strategies and your experiences.

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