The perils of book club

We now have three quail families who visit our backyard. This is one family. I never get tired of watching them.

I ordered the June selection for book club from Amazon. I’m facing a 500-page book that I have no desire to read. Is it rude to select a book that long? As a new member of our neighborhood’s book club, I realize why I never joined one before. Mostly I was too busy to have to read a book by a certain date. Also, I enjoy reading what I want to read. I have no qualms about putting down a book I don’t like and not finishing it.

I’ve read three books so far for book club. One I despised, one I disliked and then there was Hemingway’s “Old man and the Sea” which was a joy to read.

The latest book is called “The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell: A Novel.” Has anyone read it? Can you tell me something encouraging like you loved it?

I’m not a quitter, but I’m considering that as an option.

Or, I could be a no show for June. We are going to a wedding out of state on several of the dates being considered for the next meeting.

The last book was “Less,” a Pulitzer Prize winning book about a gay man whose love was marrying another man. Arthur Less was an author who decided to accept all sorts of engagements around the world to escape the upcoming wedding.

There were good parts to the book, but I found myself not caring about Arthur Less. He was too self-deprecating and insecure. That made the book drag for me. But there was depth and humor to the story, too.

The conversation at book club got heated between people who “didn’t want the gay agenda shoved down their throats” and those who said “I saw it as a story that the main character just happened to be gay.” It went downhill from there to race and religion — which had nothing to do with the book. I left early to go on a walk with my husband. It went on for more than an hour after I left. I was relieved to get out!

This bird was hanging outside the window while I was writing.
Of course the birds have nothing to do with today’s blog post. I thought you’d enjoy bird watching with me.

What are your thoughts about book clubs? What do you enjoy about them? What do you dislike? Can you recommend any books for book club?

18 thoughts on “The perils of book club

  1. I read Sam Hell for bookclub. It’s a pretty good read. Most of my book club loved it…I thought it good not great.

  2. 500 pages is a lot! Hope its an interesting one – I usually skim through if I truly don’t like the book and then I can at least contribute my 2 cents about why it didn’t resonate for me..I think that if you enjoy the group of people you can still go even if you don’t make it through the whole thing.

  3. I have not found a book club I prefer. I went to one and the restaurant was interesting but the book person in charge ignored me as a new person and I got restless feeling rebuked. I am happy to enjoy my books alone and from time to time mention them on social media. This seems to be enough for now.

  4. I’m convenor for a newly started bookclub. We have a recommended reading list, but if it doesn’t appeal, simply share what you’ve been reading. It’s all very casual and I’m really trying to encourage newbies as well as the literati. Afterall, it’s all about sharing a love of reading. We have a retired visitor attending this month who will casually chat about her passion project of writing about her travels in the 70’s, the following month we will include a twenty minute chat about writing memoirs , followed by a book swap the next month as a fundraiser for Aboriginal literacy. $1 for each book swapped. Lets put the fun back in bookclubs!(oh, and when one of the local service clubs asked for help at their bookfest a group of us put our hand up and then hit the bubbles afterwards.)
    500 pages? If you’re not interested, don’t bother.Life is too damn short.

    • Your book club sounds like a lot of fun! Yes I agree that life is too short. Luckily, I started the book and I’m enjoying it! The chapters are two to three pages long, so it moves quickly. Thanks for commenting.

  5. I joined a couple book clubs in the past couple years. One is in another state and we all met via Zoom due to Covid. I liked the selections and the book-focused discussions. Now, though, I am frequently the only Zoom attendee and it doesn’t work out well. They have chosen two books over 500 pages. One I did not finish. The other I just skipped. I simply don’t have the time unless it is something I chose to read.

    The other club meets locally, in person. The book discussion is minimal – more about eating and socializing. I do wish it was more about the books, but do enjoy the socializing – which I otherwise don’t get much of.

    • I joined the book club to socialize because of moving out of state during Covid. I think I need to look at my motivation for book club now that everything has opened up.

      • Book clubs were the first things I joined when I realized I needed more social contact. I was working at the time but getting ready to quit so it helped me transition. As you can tell by the comments, there are many kinds of book clubs but I was most impressed by the conclusion you came to after reading them.

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