Let's Talk with Diane A.S. Stuckart

The Magic of Book Club Reading

November 2, 2023

The first time I joined a book club was back when I was probably 12 or 13 years old. It was summer, and my mom was looking for activities that would keep us kids out of her hair for the next couple of months. Fortuitously, she saw a notice at our local library about a weekly junior book discussion group. Given that I was the family bookworm who checked out novels by the armful every time we went to the library, she decided that should be my summer activity.

And so, she signed me up.

Talk about heaven! I found my people that first day as we gathered in a circle on hard wooden chairs to talk about The Odyssey. In the classroom, I was a blushing, stuttering introvert. In the library with my fellow young booklovers—all of whom came from schools other than mine—I became a different “me”. There, I could confidently give an opinion, even make jokes that set all the other kids laughing. I blossomed, I bloomed…I could have sat in that circle forever!

But all too soon, school started up again, and the kids’ book club went the way of all summer fun. Sadly, the library never restarted the group in subsequent years, which meant I permanently reverted to my quiet introverted version of me. As an adult, I occasionally considered reclaiming the magic by searching out a new book club, but other commitments (including actually writing books!) always got in the way. My book club adventures seemingly started and ended with that long-ago summer.

That is, until a few months ago, when a member of my local Sisters in Crime chapter wondered if anyone would be interested in Golden Age mystery discussion group.

I couldn’t say yes fast enough. Our third meeting is this month, and I’ve got the book downloaded in preparation for reading. And I am happily recalling how book clubs have the power to unite minds through the love of literature, no matter your age. True, the circle of wooden chairs in a library has been replaced by Zoom, but otherwise it’s just like I’m back with my fellow book-loving kids again. And that’s a great feeling.

Do you belong (or have you belonged) to a book club? What’s the best thing you’ve taken from the experience?

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Posted in Let's Talk, with Diane A.S. Stuckart • Tags: , , , |  25 Comments


25 thoughts on “The Magic of Book Club Reading

  1. I’ve never been in a book club – the idea is appealing to me, though, and I wouldn’t hesitate to join one if I found one that focused on the types of books I enjoy reading!

  2. I have never been a part of a book club. I’ve been looking for one in the area. I would love to belong to a mystery book club. My library is still closed from Hurricane Ian so I can’t check there and I’m not into doing Zoom.

    1. Oh, no, that’s too bad the library hasn’t been fixed yet…guess the damage was pretty bad. Maybe you can put out the call on Nextdoor or Facebook for readers in your area. Someone might be willing to host a meeting in their home. Good luck!

  3. I joined a book club at the library to meet people when we moved here three years ago. It’s a nice group of ladies. I especially like that we can talk about any books we’ve read and why we liked them rather than force everyone to read the same title.

    1. Terry, as writers I think it’s good to read books that aren’t our favorites, just so we can deconstruct them and see what it was that we disliked about them so we don’t make the same mistakes. 🙂

  4. I’ve never been in a book club. One of the reasons is that there are so many books I want to read that I don’t want to spend time reading a book that doesn’t interest me. There are just so many available hours in the day. Plus, my tastes run mostly to mysteries, women’s fiction, historical fiction, and biography. Many of the book clubs I’ve come across are geared to only one genre.

  5. I’m in an abridged book club. We read, when something sounds interesting, and barely discuss the book over dinner — that is if we remember to mention it. One favorite though is if the books have beach chairs on the cover. That said, we’ve read and discussed some pretty heavy ones, but we don’t discuss it in the way a “serious” book club would.

  6. Oh what fun books this month. I was in a book club years ago. It was a lot of fun reading the same book as the other ladies. there was a lot camaraderie. But I think what the best part was, seeing how everyone saw things a little differently. This made for some interesting discussions.

  7. I visited a book club at my neighbor’s invitation years ago. I happily read the book chosen and turned up for the meeting. OMG. Two women dominated the discussion and dismissed you if they didn’t agree with you. I didn’t join that group. I keep thinking about joining one of the groups our library sponsors but keep procrastinating.

    1. Ugh, that definitely is the downside of any group. I hope at some point you find a club with more open-minded and inclusive members (I think library-sponsored groups are pretty good about putting the kibosh on that sort of behavior).

  8. I’ve never been in a book club, but I follow some friends with similar interests. Always looking to put on more books to my tbr list!

    1. Nancy, I’m always interested to learn what other folks are reading. That’s one good thing about Kindle…I can download a sample first and see if the book that Jane or Bob recommended is going to be my cuppa. 🙂

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