Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book Clubs

Book Clubs have become more popular in the last ten years. The members all read the same book, then meet for a discussion about the book and author. Usually, there is a leader who guides the discussion. Some limit the number of members while others specify women only or men only.

I've been in a Book Club for several years now, and I find it's one of the monthly activities I look forward to.
There are seven of us in my group, all friends for many years. At the first meeting, we made two rules. 1. No food served and 2. Whatever is said at Book Club never leaves the room.

The hostess serves coffee and/or water, no food,  so having the meeting is no strain on anyone. And the second rule provides a platform for some very excellent discussions, since we all fee we can be honest and perhaps even bare our souls now and then.

Even though we have a variety of viewpoints, we do respect the opinions of others. You might not agree with someone, but the very least you can do is to respect their opinion for what it is--'their opinion.'

This month we read Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia. The novel explores the Cuban political situation of the 1970's and 80's as well as the universal mother-daughter relationship. Three generations of Cuban women are featured, two of them still living in Cuba and two in New York City. Add a little of the mystical and supernatural, and it becomes an interesting read. It also led to an informative discussion as members related memories and even one whose husband had met Fidel Castro.

Would I have picked this book to read on my own? Probably not. That's one of the best reasons to belong to a book club. I have read many books that I would not ordianarily have selected on m own. And it's enlarged my world by doing so and hearing the opinions of the six others in the group.

If you aren't already in a Book Club, consider starting one. Look for a few people who like to read, gather them together for the initial meeting and have a book ready to suggest for your first venture. It's not difficult to do and it offers multiple benefits. There are online helps such as http://www.readinggroupguides.com/ and editorial and reader reviews to be found at http://www.amazon.com/ or http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ as well as author websites.

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