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March 29, 2012

TQOTD - What Do You Think of Book Clubs?

When Oprah Winfrey decided to start her book club in 1996, she instantly created a frenzy of book clubs all over the world. People wanted to read what Oprah was reading, discuss the questions she brought up and any books lucky enough to be chosen immediately flew off the shelves.

But why? I'm going to play devil's advocate for a second and argue that book clubs are totally unnecessary. I have my favorite books, you have your favorite books, why do we need to force each other to read the same book every month (even if we don't like it)? And why do we have discussion questions right after - I mean, homework?? What if I don't want to disect the book? What if I just want to read it and enjoy it and let it be?

Do I really believe what I'm writing? I won't tell you until you comment below :)

Thursday's Question of the Day: Are Book Clubs Really Even Necessary?



  1. To be honest, I've been wanting to start a book club for a while now, but never really gotten around to it. I like the idea of a group of readers picking up a book and reading it together, then discussing what they did or didn't like. If there is one thing I've learned from reviewing is that we might all read the same book, but we look at it in total different views. Just ask Amanda. We read the same book sometimes and she's sees things I would have never even thought about looking for. It's fun lol. I would love to be a part of a book club lol. Plus, with a book club you are introduced to books you probably wouldn't have bothered reading if it wasn't for a book club. You discover new books! :-)

  2. I think book clubs are good in the sense that you pick up a book you might not have before. So it gives a chance at discovering new authors or novels. Yes the downside might be you don't like it but you can discuss why.

  3. Im not a big fan of book clubs. I like to read what I want to read. However I do like the idea of learning about new authors. But I can also get that from other bloggers.

  4. I think the best part of book clubs is being able to see the same book from different views, just like Damaris said. I enjoy discussing books that I've read with others to find out what I missed, share what I liked or complain about what I didn't like. That is why we're here to begin with, right? I also tend to get so caught up in my own TBR list that I fail to find new or different books. Sometimes I don't like them, sometimes I don't finish them, and sometimes I find ones that I really loved. But there isn't anything much better than getting together with a group of friends for the night sharing something we all enjoy.

  5. I've thought about participating a few times, but like you said, I don't want to be forced to read something and then dissect it. (Although, ha, that's kind of what I do anyway. Dissect everything.) But at the same time, if we're reading a kind of book I enjoy (or a genre that surprises me, even) I do love to discuss books with people. And I think there's something special about book clubs in that regard because if you try to go to forums and things to discuss books, people get super defensive. So as long as everyone is capable of having a healthy discussion and realize that every book won't please everyone, I think it could be fun! :)

  6. Interesting and timely question (timely in my life!) We just had our book club meeting yesterday. I've always wanted to join a book club and finally started my own in January. One of my friends chose last month's book, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes - a book I never would have picked up. When I finished reading it, I found it blah. However, as we were discussing it in our meeting, I grew to appreciate and really like it! The discussion brought the book alive in a way that never would have happened if I had just read it on my own. I also never would have chosen that book. I think there is value in book clubs. I like to think I can still be surprised and that I don't limit myself to what I already think I know.

  7. I think one of the things that I forget, as a blogger, is that many of the people that I know in real life are pure readers. I think book clubs allow me to bridge the gap of reading for review and reading for enjoyment. I also enjoy getting out of my own comfort space mentally and physically by reading something I didn't specifically choose and then interacting face-to-face with others who read the same book.

  8. I currently run a monthly Online Book Club on my blog. It is great the authors get involved donating some books and we've had some good ones. From Zombie romances to old school vampire stories, even teenage love. People in Book Whore Book say its great because they never would have not read the book in the first place, and they enjoyed it or enjoyed the discussions. It is a more of a relaxed pace to so you can still get your reviews done. I love talking about the book, and reading along with others. I try to stick with questions like what did you think about this part, or what would you have done, what characters are you picturing. I try to have books with substance so if it is confusing we can ask each other. I enjoy it. I change up the books to so that it can appeal to different type of readers.

  9. I'm part of a book club and really it's just a great place to get together and chat. That's really all it is. We choose a book every month, each person getting their choices in, we read it and chat away. Personally I think it lends a little more than just posting a review does. There's more discussion going on.

  10. I think there is a lot of value in book clubs! I think it would be a fun social gathering with lots of good discussion. Plus, I think book clubs encourage readers to pick up books that they may not have picked up otherwise. I don't look at it as a book club is forcing a reader to read a book they may not like. I mean, I can do that on my own! I pick up books that I don't like all the time. But, in a book club you're able to discuss with your friends why you didn't like the book (ties in with the "lots of good discussion").

    But, then there is the chance that you and the entire club will LOVE the book, and how fun would that be to dissect and gush about the book with friends?

  11. Book Clubs...Book Clubs...Well, i'm in High School and we have one and I must admit, its pretty cool. I think the book club is pretty cool to have. A table round discussion on the book we've decided to read that week or so. Whether we liked it, or hate it. It's cool to get other people's opinion. Especially strangers who you may have, or haven't met before, and not just in the blog-o-sphere on the Internet.

    I love to have my friends and I jump and squeal over exciting parts of a book or shaking our heads at the character's misadventures and choices they made.

    It's an amazing feeling just to talk about the book in general and the book club makes me feel I'm not alone in this.

  12. My friends and I had a very short-lived book club for awhile, so I'd almost be willing to agree with your perspective on them. Except it was through this book club that I first read the Hunger Games. The nice thing about book clubs is that you can be exposed to books you may never have picked up alone, but it turns out you might really like them. Plus, I love to systematically pick apart books with friends.

  13. Thanks everyone for your fantastic comments! It seems that the majority of you really do believe in the power of book clubs and their ability to expand your horizons and open your mind. And Guess What? I feel the same way! I've yet to join a Book Club, but hopefully one day I will - even if I'm forced to have "homework", lol!


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