Book Club Blues—common aches & pains

bcblues-5aThis article in the New York Times dishes out some pretty good gossip on book clubs—it turns out, not everyone’s thrilled about the club they belong to. No! Really? 

Come on—didn’t we learn way back in childhood the maxim, ”you can’t please all the people all the time”?  Why would book clubs be an exception? —

Common complaints 

Book Selections. Not everyone likes the reading list.  Some like classics, some chick-lit; others nonfiction or sci-fi.  It’s not easy to satisfy divergent tastes.  

Discussions Problems. Some members complain about too much socializing or a lack of substance; others feel the discussions are too academic, taking the fun out the whole exercise.

Hosting Competition. Hosting can become a game of one-upmanship—so much so that some members put hosting right at the top of their stress index.  Where’s the fun in that?

Some advice

If you’re starting a club, set some guidelines at the outset about the types of books you want to read and the nature of discussions.  (See LitLovers tips on How to Start a Book Club.)

If you’re in an existing club, conduct a survey, formal or informal, to find out if your club is meeting members’ expectations.  What types of books do members like?  What kind of discussions?  How much time devoted to social vs. book talk?  What kind of food and who cooks? 

If you’re one of the unhappy ones, feel free to move on without too much guilt…and without too many hurt feelings. You might simply tell your members that you want to try a different approach.  Nonetheless, no matter how diplomatic everyone is, leaving is always hard.  But be brave. 

 

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