>> Friday, April 30, 2010
I confess: I’m a book club dropout. I’ve never had an opportunity to join a face to face book club, but I was in an online book club several years ago. The part I liked about being in a book club was sharing the experience of reading and discussing a book with friends. The parts I didn’t like were the books that felt like a chore to finish and discussions that went horribly wrong. My ‘bad book club experience’ involved a club member who seemed to want to ‘teach’ the book to the rest of us. My last day in the club came when she told me that my opinion of a book was wrong. Sorry, I’m not a book club person.
I’ve also become not much of a reading challenge person either. In my first couple of years of blogging I was a reading challenge fanatic. After over-scheduling my reading one too many times, I changed the name of this blog to Whimpulsive and vowed to keep spontaneous reading choices part of my routine.
Between the bloggers I read via my Google Reader subscriptions and those I chat with routinely on Twitter, I’m inundated with book recommendations and opportunities for reading and discussing specific books. I love the idea of readalongs which are a group of bloggers reading the same book and having some discussions. For me it’s the best balance of reading challenge and book club. Like challenges, the books are chosen for a particular reason (even if the reason is that a bunch of us have it on our TBR list but haven’t read it yet), but it’s one book and not a commitment for a list or for months. Like book clubs, readalongs provide an opportunity for sharing the experience of a particular book, but without the structure of the same group of people or a book every month or any other specific time frame. It’s kind of a drop in book club and therefore perfect for me.
I can’t possibly join in all the group reads and discussions that come along, but I will be joining two of them next month.
Pam at Bookalicio.us is hosting a readalong and discussion of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. I read this book ages ago and a random twitter conversation turned into an opportunity for me to re-read it. For more information or to join in the discussion, check out Margaret May at Bookalicio.us.
The second group read also grew out of a twitter conversation.
The Little Readalong at The Little Reader.
I’ve been incredibly selective about signing up for reading challenges in the past year or so and don’t like to over-plan or be over-committed when it comes to what books I read and when, but this kind of spontaneous ‘Hey, let’s read this together’ kind of stuff can be fun and certainly fits right in with my whimpulsive ways. I have to pace myself with these just as much as I have to pace myself with reading challenges, though. It’s easy to want to join way too many readalongs and get overwhelmed, so I’m a little worried about having both of these on my plate in May, but it’s two books I definitely want to read so I’m in.
I'll probably lay off the readalongs for a while after that, but I know My Friend Amy is making noises about The Lonesome Dove and October . . .