Monday, February 24, 2014

I flunked out of book club

@westchestermagazine.com
@westchestermagazine.com
I feel like a failure when it comes to book clubs. 

After joining a few months ago with high hopes, I finally dropped out of the neighborhood book club. I love discussing books and, after reading about so many awesome book clubs online, I've been looking for a book club to call my very own. None of the bookstores in the area host book clubs, so I was happy when one of my neighbors put out the word that she'd like to start a book club.

We met at her house one day to discuss possibilities. It sounded promising, as she brought up how we would choose the monthly reads and even mentioned having a moderator to keep us on track. We chose the first book and one of the ladies volunteered to hold it at her house. The book sounded interesting although outside my usual genre, but I didn't really expect these ladies to read urban fantasy so I was okay with the thought of general fiction. Unfortunately, I got terribly sick and had to miss the first meeting.

They kept me informed via email and let me know the next title and location. Another title outside my comfort zone, but I actually enjoyed this one and was looking forward to discussing it with everyone. Much to my disappointment, no one wanted to talk about the book and kept changing the subject to other topics. Felt like I was at a coffee klatch, which made me a little uncomfortable as I didn't have anything to add to the discussion.

Rather than choosing the next book, the hostess suggested we think about it and do a group email to discuss other choices. The only email I received said they had decided to attend an author event instead of having it at someones house. Where was the discussion email? Got the impression that they had met in person to make this decision, so guess I'm out of the loop. I've never really been to a reading luncheon and decided to attend, even though it cost $25 and was for an $80 art book.

The reading itself went well and I was pleasantly surprised by how charismatic the artist was. Lunch wasn't worth the money in my opinion, but thought it was a unique experience and I enjoyed myself. The sponsor hosts monthly luncheons/readings, so one of the ladies suggested we attend the next month's event and everyone else agreed. The book looked interesting and the restaurant was actually one I've heard of, so I reluctantly agreed. 

We carpooled to the luncheon. Despite assurances that we would discuss the book during the drive, the book was never mentioned. The author was amusing and the food was better than last time, but at $25 a pop, this wasn't something I wanted to make a habit. 

We skipped December because of the holidays and one of the ladies volunteered to host in January. Rather than discussing options, one of the ladies recommended a title and everyone else agreed. I'm on the shy side with people I don't know well, so tend to keep my mouth shut in situations like this. I know that's shocking to people who know me, but I kept feeling like a kid at my mother's book club. The ladies kept bringing up what I consider "old lady" topics, so I kept my mouth shut.

January was a tough one for me as I wasn't interested in the book one bit, but the nosy part of me really wanted to see the hostess's house. So I went, book unread, confident that it wouldn't matter because we've never actually discussed the book before. Naturally, they all wanted to discuss the book this time. *sigh*

The majority decided to attend another author event for February, this one for $35, so I politely declined. 

Just received an email for next month, announcing that the next selection will be a self-published book by a friend of one of the women. Seriously? Between not having a voice in the choice of books, too many expensive author events, feeling like a third wheel at a coffee klatch, and then being told I not only had to buy a self-published book but also pay to take the author out to lunch, I emailed my regrets and stated that I wouldn't be attending future events.

Don't get me wrong, as they are all very nice women who have been nothing but pleasant to me. I guess we just have different ideas about what a book club should be. I want to actually discuss books, not talk about what the neighbor down the road did to their backyard (although really...what were they thinking? ha!).

I know it just wasn't the right fit for me, but can't help feeling like I flunked out. *sigh*

18 comments:

  1. I think finding the right book club is hard. I have been in a number of them myself. Some have worked, others have not. Chemistry and making sure everyone is on the same page is so important.

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    1. This is my second book club attempt, so a little discouraged. I don't think I would have minded so much if my expectations weren't so high. I just think this wasn't the right mix for me, as the others seem to be enjoying themselves.

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  2. I've never been in a book club but I've been to many bookish events that were supposed to be discussions that just derail off topic. I hate when that happens - especially if you had to spend money to attend.

    I hope that you find something that works better for you.

    You didn't fail - it just wasn't the right club.

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    1. Thanks Karen! I might have a bit of Book Club Envy, as I keep reading about other people's amazing groups and I had really high expectations for this one. Sort of wishing I had tried harder, but I think you're right that this just wasn't the right club for me.

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  3. Ah it sounds like it just wasn't the right club for you. The perfect one must be out there somewhere, just waiting for you :)

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    1. I might try to find one online, as I'm not sure how to find a book club if they aren't sponsored by a book store or library. Doesn't help that I'm a shy introvert either. *L*

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  4. I'm so sorry this book club didn't work for you, but I'm sure there is another one out there that will be perfect for you! I think one of the hardest things is finding the right mix of people.

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    1. I need to find a group of gargoyle-loving, smart-aleck, sarcastic bookaholics who aren't afraid to squeal over new releases! Maybe I should put an ad in the paper? *L*

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  5. Sorry your book club didn't work out. I don't think I'd enjoy a club like that either...I'm definitely one that would want to discuss the book. I was in an online book club for years that was great...this was before my blog, but the discussions were wonderful!

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    1. I'm thinking that an online book club might be best for me, as we don't seem to have a whole lot in common with our new neighbors. They're all lovely people, but it's a smaller town than where we came from and much more conservative to boot. Don't think my gargoyle collection is appreciated down here! *L*

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  6. If you lived closer I would totally invite you to come to mine! We stray off topic a little, not much though, and usually it's about TV and movies and other such story stuff! Last month we had a big "shout out what book you want to read" discussion and I then I made a big list and everyone is voting on them. Hopefully this makes everyone feel like they have a say. Anyway, with the examples you've given, I don't think you flunk out.. they did! Argh.. so frustrating though!

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    1. I wish I lived closer to you too, as you have some great get togethers! I wouldn't mind straying off topic if we actually discuss the book first! Of course, the one time I didn't read the book was the one time there was a big discussion! ha! Think I'm going to look for something online, as I'm having no luck finding a local group.

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  7. A shame it didn't work out for you. I don't think I'd enjoy such a book club either. In fact I know I wouldn't as I dropped out of my last group because they were forever attending events that because of my mobility issues I couldn't get to. And alas I'm now thinking about dropping out of this one because its becoming less and less about the books. Anyway, I don't think you have any reason to feel you flunked out, it just obviously wasn't the right group for you.

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    1. It's funny because I don't usually think twice about going to book events, but these really bothered me for some reason. Maybe because it wasn't my idea or choice? I'm weird that way (just ask DH!). I know I shouldn't feel bad that it didn't work out, but can't help feeling like I failed somehow. :(

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  8. I don't think it was a failure. Not connecting is something else. I'd give another book club another try if the opportunity arises.

    Have you thought about starting your own? I'd give it a go. All your online buddies could chat it up on twitter with the right hashtag.

    Think about it and make sure I know about it if you give it a decide to do it. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

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    1. That's so sweet of you! I think I'm going to search for an online club, but starting my own is always an option too. Think I'll also stop by the bookstore and ask if they have any plans to start one up.

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  9. I have the honor of attending Sueys book club and it's awesome. We discuss the book. We discuss other books we've been reading. We have a day in what we read. It's great. We rarely get off topic. Somehow in someway we always are taking books. I love it. I'm so sorry you can't find a good book club. I wish you could come to ours too. :(

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  10. I would struggle with that too. Sounds like they read different books than your normal taste too. I don't have anyone around here to do book clubbing with either. It's hard to find the right group of people. Maybe another group will come along and will work for you.

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