I’ve been thinking about what Kristin said in class on Monday about how she always felt like book clubs weren’t for her, that she wasn’t the target audience for them. It sounded like a lot of people in class, both male and female, felt that way. I find this so interesting because I feel that we as a class would be an excellent and highly desirable audience for a book club. Our reasons for not participating may be varied, but it’s certainly not because we don’t read or think critically about what we read.
I’ve never joined a book club because I’ve never been drawn to the sales pitch of any of the ones I’ve encountered. The ones at my old public library were clearly directed at very specific audiences, none of which included me. There was the Teen book club. I was interested in the book, but not interested in discussing it as an adult in a room of teenagers. There was the Mom’s Day Out book club, and the Retiree book club. While those weren’t the exact names of the book clubs, they all met during the day, which meant that even had the book selection appealed (it didn’t) I wouldn’t have been able to go anyway.
Plus, there’s those odious book club discussion questions that come at the end of practically every book these days. Those questions aren’t doing book clubs any favors, in my opinion. If I see a book on a discussion club list that already has questions in the back, I assume that those are the questions that are going to be used. If that’s the case then I’m not interested in wasting my time.
I really like the idea of having discussion groups with very short readings or a somewhat related series of very short readings. The success of something like this would depend largely on your audience and the knowledge and expertise they bring to the table, but a pitch like this could be very enticing in the right community.
I also love the idea of a professional development book club. Especially as we transition from students to professionals, we will no longer have the same kind of immediate forum for discussion on recent happenings in LibraryLand. Talking through ideas really helps me to understand issues and solidify my opinions in a different way than simply reading blog posts or articles does. I like this, and I want one in my future place of employment.