Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Book Club Dilemma


My book club is tonight. The great news: we read Station Eleven for this month. I started to re-read it but don't feel a whole lot of pressure to get through it all. I read it so recently! Sometimes I take the ToB cheat, which is to go back and re-read the commentary as a way of refreshing myself. Hah! Either way, so far it's been just as enjoyable the second time around.

Here's the dilemma part: the host pitches a few choices for the next month's book. And since this month's book club is at my house, I have to think of which books I'll suggest we read next. There's really no constraints: it can be new or old, it can be fiction or non-fiction, it can be something I haven't read that just sounds good! [I say that because in my California book club, someone had to have read the book in order to recommend it. And, it had to be out in paperback so it would be more affordable or likely to be a the library.]

Of course I have no idea what books to pitch. I mean, obviously, I have too many choices to count. When I told my husband I was worried about this last night, he totally gave me the side-eye. Hah! Should I offer up some adventure books---about surfing or mountain climbing? Should I be sneaky and recommend a book that I put on this year's TBR list? Should I just pick something that I've read and loved? Should I pick a classic I've always meant to read, but haven't quite gotten to yet? Should I go get something new that sounds interesting to me? I actually hate making recommendations! The pressure!

How does your book club pick books?



  1. My book club is run by the library, so the librarian picks the books. She solicits advice from book people she knows -- she recently asked me for a rec and I suggested Orphan Master's Son. Cause it's great.

    The book has to be one that the library can get a bunch of copies of, so we never do anything super current. Last month, we read Invisible Monsters, so... 1999.

    Our group meets at a brewery so the basic agreement is "not too heavy" although there was nearly a misstep earlier this year when Untamed State was on the docket and I said "Are we prepared for this book?!" We weren't, so we changed it.

    So because the books are usually older and usually popular, I end up already having read about half of them. Which is fine by me -- I got resentful of my old book group when I felt like I was taking up too much reading time on books I was not interested in. Plus, I just like to drink beer and talk about books.

    All this talk reminds me that I need to read this month's book! It's got a twist -- there are two parts and half of the published books have one section as the first part and the other section as the first part. So it's sort of a group experiment in "How does the order affect your reading experience?" It's called How to be Both -- it was out last year (so pretty recent, but maybe not that popular? At least, not in our library system...) -- have you read it?

    I don't envy you your pressure -- what if everyone hates it?! Then they'll hate MEEEEE!

    So what did you end up picking?

  2. I ended up pitching 3 books: Dark Summit (about the 2006 Everest season when 10 people died); A God in Ruins (the sequel to Life After Life, which we liked); and Loving Day by Mat Johnson.

    I made it pretty clear that Loving Day was my favorite, and talked about how moved I have been by the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign. And they all went for it. So yay!