The Next Best Book Club discussion

Revive a Dead Thread > Face 2 Face Book Clubs

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message 1: by Robin (new)

Robin (robinsullivan) | 997 comments A post in another thread made me think of this...I'm a member of several face to face book clubs - most meet once a month - the way I found them is through a site called - I LOVE everyone of my face2face clubs as well - if you happen to be and around the Northern VA or Washington DC here are some of the bookclubs I attend....

Meetup's happen in virtually every town, and book meetups are one of the most plentiful... I highly recommend.

-- Wife of GR author Michael J. Sullivan: The Crown Conspiracy (10/08) | Avempartha (04/09)

message 2: by Donna (new)

Donna | 137 comments Fiona, I have never been called a simpering pink housewife - I'm not particularly fond of pink, I am not a "housewife", and I don't think I simper - but I know what you mean and I am glad you know that is a wrong impression. I've belonged to 3 face to face book groups for 4 years now and I have met and now know some very interesting people. I do think it depends on how you pick the group and how the group runs whether it will be succesful for you. For me, I found groups that limited the genres to mysteries and historical fiction - my favorite reads - so I am rarely dissappointed in the books we read and conversation is easy. Keep your ears open for one that is right for you.

As for TNBBC, and Goodreads in general, I agree that the 24/7 availability and the fact that you can talk to people world wide is amazing. It keeps me coming back for more.

message 3: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (hayes13) I love the idea, but have never been able to find a group. A friend of mine started an internet group many years ago and we managed to talk about 1 and a half books before we realized that it wasn't going to work. I think you need the push of a monthly, weekly whatever appointment to make something work. (almost speaking of which, everyone is bashing "the jane austin book club" - I didn't adore it, but I didn't hate it either.)

I checked out the site you suggested, there were many meetup groups in Rome, but all for political activism or pregnant, nursing or new mothers - I'm past that scene, fortunately, but I wish I'd known about them when my son was little!

message 4: by Eliz (new)

Eliz (elizpalm) I've been a member of two face to face clubs that are now defunct. One was made up of coworkers who liked to read and the other was a local grocery store that did dinner and a book discussion for $20.

As for membership, not very many "housewives" ever attended, they were usually too busy carting the kids to hockey practice or helping with homework, etc. It was mostly singles, newlyweds, or women with grownup children. Only once I felt condescended to because someone believed I wouldn't understand what it is like to be married and therefore, wouldn't get anything out of the book that had been chosen. I told her that I'd treat the book as a "don't let this happen to you" and she never brought it up again.

Besides that, I never regretted joining in and participating and sometimes miss it. TNBBC is doing a good job of filling in that void.

message 5: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments Fiona, I know that image is not correct either, but when I checked the time for the book club at my library and saw it was 2 o'clock in the afternoon.....what kind of image you think I got???

message 6: by Maria (new)

Maria (minks05) | 481 comments i only do one f2f book group, it's at my library. it meets once a month, and aside from the librarian, i'm the youngest member by probably 20 years. most of the members are either in thei 50s or late 60s/early 70s, so i definitely get different view points on the books we read. it's interesting to see how different people's ideas are from your own, but sometimes it's hard because i tend to be in the minority.

message 7: by El (new)

El I've dreamed about starting my own face-to-face bookclub in my area, but I think there would be pretty small attendance rates. I have a hard time finding other people locally (outside of my brother and maybe my boyfriend) who are interested in anything I read. I do try to keep my eyes open for one that I could enjoy.

message 8: by Donna (new)

Donna | 137 comments Jeanne, you are right about the time problem. I have that problem with yoga classes too. I'm at work at 2 in the afternoon - who goes to those classes? The book groups I belong to are in the evening and are at our local big chain bookstore (I know, shocking) they are open to the public and one is rather large 20 + people. This large group has pluses and minuses - if you skip a month, or 2, only a few people may notice but sometimes it is hard to get a word in edgewise. I do enjoy the diverse opinions and I can sit quietly and enjoy the conversation if I don't feel like joining in.

message 9: by Liz (new)

Liz I don't really have time for live action book clubs anymore. What I used to do in middle and high school is be in a mother daughter book club with a close group of friends. I've actually read some of my favorite books that way, or read books which I did no think I would enjoy but did. The other nice thing was that we had a small group, which made it easier for everyone to talk.

message 10: by Liz (new)

Liz I don't really have time for live action book clubs anymore. What I used to do in middle and high school is be in a mother daughter book club with a close group of friends. I've actually read some of my favorite books that way, or read books which I did no think I would enjoy but did. The other nice thing was that we had a small group, which made it easier for everyone to talk.

message 11: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thenightowl) I would love to do a face to face bookclub, but in my area they do tend to meet at the oddest times. Same thing as Jeane, afternoon meeting times. Being that I work full time and go to school it's difficult for me to commit. This is why I love the convenience of GR. I can participate on my own time and read when I want, plus I meet wonderful people from all around the world. Additionally, on GR we not only talk about the books we have read but about random stuff, like our book addictions. It makes for interesting conversations and I feel that I'm not alone in my quirks (like no dog earred pages or lining up the bookshelves just so). No one that I know in real life can relate to me in this sense, as I'm surrounded primarily by non-readers.

message 12: by Liz (new)

Liz | 9 comments I went to a face to face book club in the evening and it was mothers wanting a girls night out no book ever discussed, they just talked about the kids. Not having any kids boring... I would like to find a book club with people that have similar interests. I would try again.

message 13: by Jenna (new)

Jenna | 224 comments I am in a face to face book club and I really like it. Its about 8 of us in the group, and the majority of us are teachers. We meet once a month on a Tuesday night for dinner and book chat. Its great getting different opinions on the books, but sometimes the book choices aren't the best and sometimes not everyone comes.
I live in Arlington and will have to check out the ones that you posted from Thanks!

message 14: by Donna (new)

Donna | 14 comments I belong to 2 groups. Both are sub-sets of other organizations and have a 'theme.'
One starts at 6:30 p.m. - which is gossip time. Book discussion starts at 7, and our moderator keeps us on topic. I always find the discussions interesting. We meet one a month.
The other group either meets Sundays or on a weeknight evening. Unfortunately, the hostess is not always able to keep us on topic. However, I have discovered quite a few interesting books through the group.
I'd love to join a group that has a wider range of interests, but the thought of 'having' to read 3 books a month - plus all the books on my 'to read' list - has kept me from trying to find another group. (which makes me wish that Robin hadn't posted her links to Northern Virginia book clubs....)

message 15: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 69 comments I'm in one group initially made up of stay home moms from my neighborhood. It was a way for us to think intellectually away from kid stuff! We've been going for over 8 years and now very few are stay home moms. We've had some people come and go, but currently have 15 members. We each choose a book and host that month. It's nice to have a reading list for the next year or so and it's amazing to see the diverse books we end up reading. It's a great mix of fiction, classics and non-fiction. We eat and have our social time in the beginning before the discussion begins. That way if anyone arrives late, they don't miss the book talk!

message 16: by Robin (new)

Robin (robinsullivan) | 997 comments Jenna wrote: "I am in a face to face book club and I really like it. Its about 8 of us in the group, and the majority of us are teachers. We meet once a month on a Tuesday night for dinner and book chat. Its ..."

Glad to hear it Jenna - I LOVE all my face2face groups (just like I love my TNBBC folks) I find they come from all different ages, professsions, sexes, sexual orientations, religions, nationalities. I've yet to have a "bad" experience. - I live in the Washington DC area and we tend to be pretty diverse anyway but the intelligence and thoughtfullness that I've found in my face2face groups have been fantastic.

message 17: by Alice (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:49AM) (new)

Alice (aliceg) | 254 comments I love my face to face group. We meet once a month in a bar at a cinema. The cinema had seen a flyer for our group and contacted us to ask if we wanted to meet in their bar and they would give us free soft drink refills all night and if we link any books with films that are showing they'll give us discount price into the film. So t his month we're reading Revolutionary Road and will also go and see the film.

We started with just four of us but there's now about 8 and we're all in our late 20's to mid 30's. We talk about the book for a little bit and then have a good gossip! Just a good way to socialise really.

message 18: by Celeste (new)

Celeste (celestelueck) | 107 comments I never thought I would enjoy an face 2 face book club either, but when my 90 something mother-in-law moved from her home in the north, closer to us in Texas I joined one with her. She is by far the oldest member of our group. We also have a lovely lady in her 80, but besides these two women all of the other 16 of us are in our 40's or 50's I would guess.

We have read some great books in the last 3 years and some duds, but our friendships have grown and we lost a few that didn't feel they fit in unfortunately. If has been a pleasantly positive experience for me and my mother-in-law and our other older lady can give us a different view point on a historical piece.

message 19: by Meg (new)

Meg Clayton (megwaiteclayton) | 14 comments I belong to a neighborhood book group, but I've also visited a number of book groups for author chats in person and by phone. One of the nicest groups I met was a meetup group. It actually inspired me to start a meetup writing group!

message 20: by Leila (last edited Jan 06, 2009 05:15AM) (new)

Leila (leilasbooks) Fiona wrote: "This place is enough for me. Besides, I have some bad image of real life book clubs to be full of simpering pink housewives who sit around reading chick-lit or being condescending and patronising ...."

Heh, when I first heard that the library held once-a-month bookclubs here, that was the first image that popped up in my head (sadly, I know.). However, then I decided that I didn't care. It didn't matter whether the members were 10-30 years older than me or if the book selection wasn't really my taste. I love books and I would love to just someone who also has such a fondness of books that they would join a face2face bookclub :)

I still haven't met the group (it only recently started) and I haven't seen the full booklist. However, the first book that we got to read proved to be an excellent novel that touched me a great deal but also a book that I wouldn't read unless I was really told to. I'm excited!!! :)

message 21: by Meg (new)

Meg Clayton (megwaiteclayton) | 14 comments >simpering pink housewives who sit around reading chick-lit

I've found that most people who care enough about books to set aside a night to talk about them, also care about the quality of what they read. And are very thoughtful about it to.

Celeste, I love that you belong to a group with your MIL. Reading about it makes me miss my MIL, who passed away this summer.

message 22: by Malena (last edited Jan 07, 2009 07:02PM) (new)

Malena (thefieryheartnz) I love my face to face bookclub. We meet at a cafe the first monday of every month. There is around 8+ of us. A mix of all ages. Its helped me choose books that I never would've looked at. And to finally find people locally with similar interests is fantastic.

message 23: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (rachelsessum) | 856 comments A couple of friends and I went to several book clubs sponsored by local libraries until we found one that we liked. The first group we went to had read Middlesex, which I loved. But somehow none of the people could differentiate between being a hermaphrodite and being gay. I tried to explain it several times, but they seemed to want to use the book club as an opportunity to one up each other about how open minded they were about "those homosexuals". Not only that, no one was really up to the challenge of defending their positions on the book. Needless to say, when we walked out I said "I think I need a stronger group." My friends just laughed. Apparently they had enjoyed sitting back and watching me massacre the unsuspecting locals. (I am very opinionated.) We finally found a really good group and I don't think any of them could be described as simpering.

message 24: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (hayes13) Rachel, shame on you! You should be nice to your fellow readers!! (lol)
False open mindedness is pretty bad in my book, falseness of any kind really, but I think not being up to the challenge of defending your position is a bigger crime.
I mean, I can understand if you're a junior in high school and can't quite come to grips with why a book speaks to you. But if you make the effort to be in a book club...
I had a teacher at school who used to make us debate difficult topics (apartheid, death penalty, evolution). The trick was, we had to argue for the side we didn't agree with. Kinda gets your head in gear. I wonder if the exercise made me even more opinionated than I naturally am...

message 25: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 69 comments I think deep down everyone has their own 'true' opinions about various topics in books - they're just afraid to open up in a group and worry about different people's perception of them. It took my book club a good year or two before we all felt comfortable opening up. Most of us live in the same neighborhood and felt we didn't want to make our next door neighbor mad at us or think differently if we had oposing viewpoints! Now, we welcome the differing viewpoints as it makes discussions so much better. We also aren't afraid to speak up when we didn't 'get' something or missed something in a book.

message 26: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (hayes13) Lisa you're really lucky to have been able to get your group "relationship" to that point. I'm really envious - This group and this thread are giving me pangs... I really need to find a face to face book group. I'll think I'll put up a sign in the library I've just recently joined. I gotta do something!

message 27: by Leila (last edited Jan 16, 2009 12:00PM) (new)

Leila (leilasbooks) Well, I have had my first book club meeting and it was really nice! I look forward to the next meetings :) It was a bit awkward first, since we didn't know each others, had to discuss the book and book choices but I think that when you give it some time, it'll get better.

I was thinking of starting book clubs but more like several book club as projects at retirement homes. I've done some volunteering at a couple and noticed how many of the residents are lonely and restless and appreciate having someone to talk to and I was thinking well - why not make book clubs? Many people enjoy reading and if their sight isn't well, there is lots of audio books as well nowadays. It could help bring in more social activity and I think that is especially important for those who suffer from some form of dementia. I can also imagine the interesting discussions that could appear! I mean, imagine reading a book about the 40s and having someone who remember those times!

The only problem is - how do you start such a project? How do you get funding (books and etc)? The planning and of course, one need more volunteers to help 'starting' the clubs.

message 28: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (rachelsessum) | 856 comments Leila wrote: "Well, I have had my first book club meeting and it was really nice! I look forward to the next meetings :) It was a bit awkward first, since we didn't know each others, had to discuss the book and ..."

The libraries in my county have "book kits" for book clubs that contain a large number of the same book, as well as questions for discussion, etc. Some of the books that we read during the year are from a kit and some are not. If you plan your reading list for the whole year, it gives people the opportunity to try and get it from the library (as some books have waiting lists). I would recommend going into the library and talking with a librarian about your options. They will probably have some great ideas. There are also websites that give ideas for starting up book clubs. Good luck!

message 29: by Donna (new)

Donna | 137 comments Leila, what a terrific idea. I am sure the residents of retirement homes would love it. To get some volunteer help could you get some high school students who need to do some community service projects to help? I don't know if you have the IB program there but I know those students have a community service requirement in order to graduate. Do you have Girl/Boy Scouts? Eagle scouts need to have projects to earn their awards too.

message 30: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 69 comments Awesome idea Leila! Like Donna mentioned - definately contact the Girl/Boy Scout organizations. I've been involved with Girl Scouts and there are awards and badges for activities like that. Plus, some troops have some funds that they might be able to utilize to help with donations. Churches in the area might be another source of names or information - as most minister to their shut-in members.

Glad you enjoyed your first book club meeting - they will continue to get less awkward each time. The challenge is to keep it fun and enlightening until things get established! My group (we've been going since 2001) had the hardest time figuring out what to read - believe it or not! For the past 5 years or so, at the start of our 'year', each member announces their choice for the following year. We keep our choices secret until that meeting. It's pretty exciting when we all unveil our choices - it's like opening presents! We get a great mix of books this way.

message 31: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 69 comments Hayes - too bad you don't live in central Iowa - you could join us!

message 32: by Hayes (new)

Hayes (hayes13) Oh that would be nice!! Thank you.

All these ideas are just great. Leila, I hope you can get your idea off the ground.

I've always known that Americans read a lot and that Italians don't (just go to the beach in the summer - there's a category of book called "beach reads" or "light summer stuff", or look on the internet - there are thousands of book clubs), but it's just now beginning to get to me. I guess I'm getting out of the self-sufficient phase of my life and moving into the social, or something.

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