Books on the Nightstand discussion

Are you in a reading group?

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message 1: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
I know that some of you participate in organized online book discussions here on Goodreads. Do any of you have offline book groups, or other more formal online groups?

I'd love to hear about them.

message 2: by Dottie (new)

Dottie (oxymoronid) | 130 comments More formal online groups? You mean Goodreads is casual? I'm pondering this question as one of my Goodreads groups is really my main group and was in existence many years before it came to the current and hopefully final home on Goodreads -- Constant Reader.

But in the early days of Constant Reader on the old Prodigy boards, I was also in an in-person group which met once a month in homes of members -- light refreshments on hand and a bit of nibbling and chatting and then settled in to discuss the book at hand. A range of people, some who would pull the discussion along if need be, a few who said little but would often surprisingly sum up in a rather intriguing way some point which was bothering us. I am thinking of joining this group or its sister group again soon.

But to get back to that question of more formal -More formal as in connected to some educational entity? An online class? Seminars?

message 3: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod

Boy, I was not clear at all! I'd say anything goes. Sorry!

By "more formal" I meant as opposed to just posting your thoughts about a book in a general thread, like we do here. I wouldn't consider any of the discussions in this group a "formal" book group though it *is* book discussion. There are definitely more "traditional" and more organized types of groups at Constant Reader -- those were the kinds I was thinking of.

By "more formal" I guess I mean "more traditionally organized like an in-person book group". But really, I have no idea what I mean :)

I should keep my posting activity within normal business hours when I am awake!

message 4: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 66 comments I participate in a few other online groups, both here on goodreads, and on another site. These are groups that are organized to read one or two books and discuss them. As far as offline I am looking for something, but haven't found anything in my area yet.

message 5: by Dottie (last edited Sep 10, 2008 08:16AM) (new)

Dottie (oxymoronid) | 130 comments Ann -- I didn't mean to totally flummox you -- I was asking in a light, teasing manner but by now I should realize one needs emoticons alongside that kind of "typing" -- so I need to have my thinking straight also when I post.

Okay The Constant Reader group here on Goodreads and in its past incarnation when the group (me tagging along) lived first Prodigy and then a couple other places on the net has always been a fairly traditional discussion forum. The voted upon lists and official books for discussion began back on Prodigy so we've been doing the book discussion in its formal form for many years.

Since coming to Goodreads, I would say there are groups where the discussions are less formal certainly but Constant Reader has kept our discussions in the designated discussion areas under the book icons as Goodreads had it set up. So I see those as official not only from our group's standpoint but from the standpoint of Goodreads.

Other Goodreads groups which I am in have kept the discussions in threads within their group but some are more traditional in the discussions than others. The most traditional one -- off the top of my head which I've joined is The Rory Gilmore Book Club. Yes, one would think that a group based on a TV show might be more apt to just flit amongst the books lightly but while loving to get off on the subject they enjoy most next to books (The Gilmore Girls television series), this group has had some of the most in-depth and wide-ranging discussions which I've encountered on Goodreads. These discussions are being missed by many on Goodreads seeing as how they are kept in sections within threads on the group's home. There are pros and cons to the idea which enters my mind frequently that that groups discussions should be more readily seen by the Goodreads public. So far I've concluded that for this particular group staying within the group is the better choice as far as the offical book discussions -- and there are two books per month voted upon from a list of nominated titles from the official list taken from books read or mentioned on the television series.

Another group to which I belong and in which I have not actually been participating is moderated by some of the same people who are involved in the Rory Gilmore Book Club group and again -- some very in-depth discussions running strictly in the threads within the group.

There -- a better answer for you perhaps than I managed earlier.

message 6: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Oh, Dottie, I knew you were kind of teasing, but when I went back and read my post, I realized that I had no idea what I was even asking! :)

I haven't been able to maintain a level of participation in an online book group. I start out with good intentions, but either I forget about the book because I don't have to be somewhere specific at a certain time, or else the discussion just seems ... flat.

I also find it to be much more work to type out my thoughts then to simply speak (thus, our podcast.)

message 7: by Dottie (new)

Dottie (oxymoronid) | 130 comments Phew -- we're good then! I actually find that with the years of online discussion I've made a transfer and my thoughts fly out of my fingertips as easily -- maybe too easily in comparison -- as they do from my lips. Hmmm. Now there's a conundrum -- I think it's only that when they fly from the fingertips there is always that missing "tone of voice" problem which one has on the internet.

message 8: by Barbara (last edited Sep 10, 2008 04:11PM) (new)

Barbara Constant Reader has been my only organized book group. I've been tempted to join a few off-line, real world book groups. But, they just can't compete with the joys of online. With CR, I can post at any time of the day or night, no matter what I look like and I don't need to worry about getting the house together for a group meeting. The booktalk is the best I've experienced anywhere so I'm probably just not motivated enough to put up with the inconveniences.

message 9: by Debbie (new)

Debbie (kaelesa) | 39 comments For over 10 years I belonged to an Anne McCaffrey fans bookgroup on AOL. It started out with reading a couple of her books a month, or even taking a whole month for one book. We'd meet every other week in a designated chat room. For a long time, the leaders had specific questions they'd ask to keep the discussion going. Early on we were even extremely honored to have Ms McCaffrey herself joined the online chat. (That was when I became totally hooked on the whole internet thing.) She lives in Ireland, so catching her in the USA isn't easy. She was very fun to chat with - most of the discussion revolved around "casting" her Dragonrider characters for a "soon-to-be movie". Getting her input on the actors and actresses we chose was great fun. I just recently left that group because I no longer use AOL. Maintaining book groups online is hard, when the hosting site keeps changing the rules and rooms.

I'm thinking of joining another online, or even in-person, group once we get settled in our new place. It would be a good way to meet new people.

message 10: by Michael (new)

Michael (mkindness) | 537 comments Mod
Debbie- That's so cool that Anne McCaffrey would join the group occasionally... I love it when I hear about authors really making the extra effort to connect with their fans.

message 11: by Summer (new)

Summer | 49 comments I used to belong to a real, live book club, but it degenerated into a party where we barely discussed books. At our last meeting, less than half of the attendees even read the book. It was frustrating. One of the actual readers in that book club introduced me to Goodreads. Since joining Goodreads, I have joined a few groups, some of which have formal discussions. I participate as much as I can, but I like that I can skip a month if other obligations interfere with completing the book. I also like that I can simply read the discussion if I have nothing I want to add.

message 12: by Judy (new)

Judy | 7 comments My pal Kitty just started a book group and I'm very excited about it, we're meeting once at month at each other's houses. However we're currently caught up in a frenzied debate over the difference between a book club and a book group...

message 13: by Summer (new)

Summer | 49 comments When I think of a club, I think of something exclusionary and a group, inclusionary. Is that what your debate was about?

In my experience, (see above) the discussion would have been better served by being more selective about who was invited.

message 14: by Savvy (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:38AM) (new)

Savvy  (savvysuzdolcefarniente) | 102 comments Yes, yes, and yes....

Participated in both the Oprah and Barnes and Noble Book Discussions online. Oprah's became too big and BNU changed their online format which then was unappealing to many of the participants.

I started a private Yahoo group (Reading Cafe) and many of the former BNU posters followed me over there.
It's been running pretty smoothly for about 3 years now. We have a poll to select books, employ a randomiser device to narrow the selection and then vote for our reads. We do one book per's a listing of recent and current reads;

November:07 Atonement by Ian McEwan
Dec-Jan:07-08 My Name Is Red by Orham Pamuk
February:08 Brick Lane by Monica Ali
March:08 Ubik by Philip K Dick
April:08 The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck
May:08 The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe

June:08 Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes
July:08 Divisdero by Michael Ondaatje
Aug:08 Travels with Herodutus by Ryszard Kapuscinski
Sept:08 The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Oct:08 Music and Silence by Rose Tremain
Nov:08 Waterland by Graham Swift
Dec:08 The Lover by AB Yehoshua

I also started a F2F Book Club in 1997 which is still going strong with almost 100% original members!
Before starting it, I did a little research on Book Clubs/Groups and various styles and etc.
Also read up on why so many of them fail.
This background helped me to formulate some ground rules up front and to decide how and when our members would meet, etc.
My 'rule enforcement' policy has jokingly earned me the title of "Book Club Nazi" but has kept us together and we actually do discuss the book!
I really believe that it has been a major part of our success.
A half hour cocktail and hors de oeuvres time precedes the dinner where we can chit-chat, but once we sit down to dinner...we focus on the book!
We rotate homes...the hostess provides a nice dinner and the coming month's hostess acts as the Presenter of the current book by leading the discussion and asking the questions. The Presenter is also responsible for bringing up to 3 books to vote on for a future read.

When you are the hostess, you may also invite a 'guest' for that evening which helps to keep fresh faces at the table every month.

In both the online and F2F groups, I have had a few of the authors participate and we love it when that happens!
We read mostly fiction, but have had some great non-fiction of late...

Isacc's Storm by Erik Larson
Addicted to Danger by Jim Wickwire
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Miracle in the Andes by Nando Parrado
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson

and this month's book is also non-fiction
The Soloist by Steve Lopez

well... I guess you outed me..... :-)


message 15: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Whew, Susanne, I love it!! I don't think there is anything wrong with rules, and I've come to believe that they are necessary for a face to face group.

Personally, I don't make a distinction between book group, book club, reading group, etc.

I have never had good luck with book groups, though I have been in many.

message 16: by Judy (new)

Judy | 7 comments I've never been in a book group and as naive as it sounds, I hadn't considered that the other people in the book club/group would want to read different books to me!

I'm almost finished with To The Lighthouse and am itching to start The Voyage Out. This will have to be postponed as no one else wants to read it. Apparently there will be cake, though.

I'm going to pass on Susanne's comments to my book group- I didn't realise so many book groups failed!

message 17: by Conny (new)

Conny About three years ago, a friend of mine came up with the idea to start a German reading group. Members of the group needed to be able to read in German, but our discussions very often switched between German and English since not all participants were native Germans. Unfortunately, the group died after a few months because there were only three of us who tried to keep this group together. It saddened me at the time since I had hoped to make new friends that way, but it did not work out.
These days I swap books with close friends, and I found Goodreads :o)). Moreover, I very often feel these days that I read much more slowly than most people who are on this site, so I mostly keep my mouth shut or rather my fingers still and do not comment. In addition, I do not like to feel pressured to read a certain book until a certain date. Usually, I miss the deadline since I picked up something else that, of course, is much more appealing at that moment than the reading group selection.
At the moment I am going through my rows of Indian or Indian-American literature, and then look forward to rereading Anchee Min's works.

message 18: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Conny, I'm a slower reader than most on the Constant Reader group, but I still just comment when I get done. Frequently, it picks the discussion up again and everyone gets to talk some more. I also like short stories for that reason (and many others). I get a little nugget of an experience in a short amount of time and the discussions of short stories are often particularly good.

message 19: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie We tried to have a reading group for teachers at our high school, but most of the women didn't read the book so it fizzled out.

We now have a book group for staff and students, so I read some YA lit now too. It has been fun, as many of my students are part of it.

I started two books groups on GoodReads, and they are both very unique in their formats.

Busy as a Bee Books - Every two months, a designated member chooses a theme for our reading list and other group members submit books to put on our bookshelf (ones they have read and were good, or ones they want to read). The first 10-12 submitted are added. We read and discuss until the next person chooses. We started with a different format, but this is working very well. We talk about random book topics, and just random topics as well.

Bookmarks Subscribers - I started this group because I love the magazine and create my reading lists from each issue. I figured many other readers of the magazine do the same thing, so I began a group that has discussions organized by issue so anyone can post anything they have read from that particular issue of the magazine. The editor has joined in as well and is very happy about what we have started.

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