Chapter 2 - The Book Club
So this week is book club week and we are ready to talk about The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni. There are so many good themes in this book that I am sure it will be a great discussion. My friends (and in the past, customers) have sometime had a wee bit of jealousy regarding our book club, primarily because we actually discuss the books. Our facilitators do a great job of researching the book, talking about the author, discussing themes, story lines, characters, and whether we would change the book in any way. They also manage the discussion, letting everyone have a part, reigning in sidebars, and getting us back on track when we become derailed. Our normal sized group is 15 to 20 so, as you can imagine, facilitation is not a job for the faint of heart.
Before I get into what we are reading for the final six months of the year, here are a few suggestions to help your own book club have fun while truly discussing the books you read. ('Cause that's what you are there for - right?)
Pick Interesting Books - Our group picks books which interest someone in the group. We all have a voice about what we want to read. We try to include genres which may not be our go to genres. Unless you have a specifically themed book club (like a Memoir book club or a Romance book club) all books will not appeal to all people so try a variety.
Give Everyone a Voice - This is so important not only for the group but also for the facilitators. Don't rely on one person to do all the work. Everyone has their own style of facilitation and each facilitator brings something unique to the mix. By the same token, in discussions, try not to monopolize or let others monopolize the conversation. If you have to go around the table to get everyone's opinion, do so.
Read the Book - It is difficult to have a discussion if no one has read the book! If you don't like the book and it becomes a DNF (Did Not Finish) for you, that's okay but at least make the attempt. We have had members who have not read the whole book but after the discussion decide they have a different perspective of it and want to finish it.
Arrive On Time - There is nothing worse than walking into the middle of a discussion and then playing catch up. It is disruptive to the group and puts you at a disadvantage as you try to get information from other members on what has been discussed so far.
Assume Good Will - Everyone has an opinion. It might not be one you agree with but you can dissent in a kind and courteous way. If you disagree with someone's opinion, have concrete reasons as to why and reasons to support your own point of view.
Here then are our reads from July to December.
My Favorite Midlife Crisis (Yet) by Toby Devens - I am hesitant to call this a beach read but it is a lighter read for the summer. Dr. Gwyneth Berke has a perfect life until she walks into her pantry and catches her husband kissing her interior decorator, Brad. She then makes a checklist of how she needs to move forward with her life, stop sulking, and show a little spirit. With the help of two friends, she finds she may just enjoy the ride.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy - As July's selection was a little lighter, August's selection is perhaps a little darker than normal. In a post apocalyptic world a father and son take a journey through a ravaged landscape to find the truth about love, family, and survival.
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner - A hidden apothecary shop in 18th century London caters to an unusual clientele. Women across the city rely on Nella to help them with their feminine needs. Her fate is jeopardized when a precocious 12 year old makes a fatal mistake with consequences through generations .
This Tender Land by William Kent Kruger - This will be another coming of age story about orphans confined to the Lincoln Indian Training School, a place of favoritism and extreme brutality to the residents. Forced to flee, Odie O'Banion takes his brother, his best friend, and a brokenhearted little girl on a journey like no other.
Reader's Choice - We enjoyed this so much in 2022 we decided to make this a standing event. It is sort of like giving a book report but think more like sharing a favorite book with friends.
Holiday Book Exchange - At this annual holiday function we do a Yankee swap kind of book exchange.
Do you have any recommendations for a good book club book? We are always listening!