Upcoming Readalongs – Somewhere between a reading challenge and a book club.

>> 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.

 I mentioned that my sister-in-law had loaned me a copy of Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt and was wondering what my bookish friends thought of it. Next thing I knew The Little Reader had taken the ball and run with it. The Little Readalong will kick off in May with a readalong and discussion of Angela’s Ashes. If you’re like me and haven’t read it, join us. If you want to re-read it, now is a great time. For more information check out 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 . . .


Mary 4/30/2010 6:55 AM  

I love this post :D Did we belong to the same online book club with the same person who tended to teach the book??? I remember commenting to another member that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, lol. And then I quit!

I'm intrigued about the Lonesome Dove group. Hope I hear about it if it happens!

Looking forward to your thoughts on Angela's Ashes. I read it a long time ago.

Kay 4/30/2010 6:56 AM  

Ah, SuziQ, I wish you could come attend my book club. Sounds like the one you participated in need a bit more facilitating or a stronger moderator. It's not always the easiest of jobs, but I just will not allow members to be snippy at each other. :-)

I think that the readalongs sound fun. For many years, I did online book discussions. Perhaps I'll have a chance to participate in one of these at some point.

Have a good weekend!!

Pam 4/30/2010 8:53 AM  

wow I don't do book clubs because I like to read what I want when I want haha.

Shelley 5/01/2010 2:36 PM  

These are tempting to me! I just finished my first readalong and really enjoyed the format.

Les 5/02/2010 6:36 AM  

Great post! I enjoy my F2F book group, but I've backed off all blog challenges since I found I never had time to read what I wanted when I wanted. Readalongs sound like a great compromise. I might just join in on Lonesome Dove. I've been meaning to read it FOREVER!

SuziQoregon 5/03/2010 7:07 PM  

Mary: Oh yes it was the online book club we were both in. I'm sure we're talking about the same person ;-) I hope you join the Lonesome Dove readalong.

Kay: I'm jealous of people who have good book clubs - I've just never had the opportunity in person and my one venture online didn't end well.

Pam: good plan. It really hit home to me when I starrted rating my books and went back and evaluated a couple of years worth of ratings. Almost all my 1 and 2 star books were either book club or challenge selections.

Les: Again - I envy folks with good F2F book clubs. Please consider joining the Lonesome Dove readalong!

Lexi 5/05/2010 6:39 PM  

Oh, absolutely do the Lonesome Dove read-along! I just read the book for the first time in January and it was one of the only things that kept me sane while my husband was being diagnosed with MS. It is an absolutely WONDERFUL read! The only worry is if you end up loving it too much to stick to the reading schedule...

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