In 1997, soon after moving back to Winnipeg, I joined a book club already in progress. Although I love to read, I’d never belonged to a book club before and frankly, I was rather skeptical about the whole idea of talking about books selected by others. I went mostly to meet new people (and maybe have a glass of wine).
Since then, various members have come and gone, but the core of the group remains — and so do I. I’ve become a book club convert.
The best part is the books I’ve discovered that I’d never have picked up on my own, from A walk in the woods to A dance to the music of time; even when I didn’t love them, I learned something from them or the discussion about them. I hope I returned the favour by choosing books others in my club wouldn’t necessarily have read, like Ursula Le Guin’s science-fiction classic The Left Hand of Darkness or the graphic novel Persepolis.
One of the most interesting points is that a book doesn’t have to be good to be a good book club choice. In fact, the books we all love without reservations usually generate the least amount of discussion. After all, what is there to say after “Yep, loved it too”? But books we hate or are deeply divided on lead to hours of lively debate.
The Library offers many services for existing book clubs. You can borrow one of our hundreds of book club kits — 10 copies of a book carefully chosen for maximum discussion value, with bonus material including questions to jump-start your discussion. You can check out guides like The book club bible or Book lust for tips and reading lists, or just ask your friendly neighbourhood librarian for a hand-picked suggestion sure to wow your club.
If you don’t already belong to a club, many of our branches host monthly book club meetings from September to June. Check the list of branch book clubs or our current newsletter to find one that’s convenient for you.
Have I talked you into being a book club convert? Are you interested in finding a good read, a bad one, or just a thought-provoking one to discuss? Come to the very first meeting of the Millennium Library’s new Evening Book Club at 7:00 pm on Thursday, November 17! Sadly, no wine, but there will be coffee and tea, and most importantly, others who love books.