Have you ever been a member of a book club?
No. I have contemplated joining one from time to time–but only in a hypothetical sort of way. Book club selections are always of a certain type of book (no variety!) and I have no inclination to set aside time for going to a meeting when I have other priorities.
How did your group choose (or, if you haven’t been, what do you think is the best way to choose) the next book and who would lead discussion?
At the local library, there is a book club. At the check-out counter, there is a sign advertising for it with a list of what will be discussed in the next couple of months. This reminds me of high school reading lists–which is way too structured and limiting for me.
Although I haven’t been to a book club, I’m in a journal club. In many ways, journal clubs are completely different, but I prefer the way in which scientific articles are chosen for the week–that is, in a more egalitarian method. Different people lead the discussion each week. Those people get to pick papers which they find interesting. So when it’s your turn to present, you have relatively free reign on what to pick. Book clubs should operate on the same level if they aren’t already. Everyone should have a chance to pick a novel and lead the discussion. And it should be a surprise–not known six months in advance.
Do you feel more or less likely to appreciate books if you are obliged to read them for book groups rather than choosing them of your own free will?
I don’t think I would necessarily blame the book. I’d be more dissatisfied about being forced to read it. I already read a lot out of my own volition–I don’t need some club to direct my focus. Book clubs are possibly more suited for those who need encouragement to read, lack a certain decisiveness when it comes to choosing books to read, or cannot help talking* non-stop about books.
*I’m not much of a talker. Spewing out comments on the fly isn’t my style. On the whole, I prefer writing about books because it’s easier to organize my thoughts that way.
Does knowing they are going to be read as part of a group affect the reading experience?
Yes. Reading will be less enjoyable because there will be the expectation of contributing some kind of insight at the club meeting. This is exactly why I like opining about books via a blog rather than some other route. I write about a book and people can take it or leave it. The only expectation is from myself.
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The Thursday Threesome: Work Hard and Play Hard
Aside: “Work hard and play hard” is probably the most heard-of phrase from academics. Yet when they actually praise people specifically–like grad students–it’s all about the work. Six days a week, at least twelve hours a day. This “play hard” stuff is nonexistent.
Onesome: Work?– Work! Summer jobs: how about the worst one you’ve ever had! …or maybe the most interesting one? You decide…
Once I got into college, I worked in labs during the summers. Before that, I was working at a local library in my hometown. So no, I’ve never had a bad job. Although I suppose my library job was interesting due to dealing with various types of patrons and that all my co-workers had been older ladies who knew little about computers. So yeah, I got to be tech support even though I have rather average computer knowledge.
Twosome: “Hard” and– “Tight”? Words take on new meanings all the time. …used to be both those words were compliments; now it appears “sick” is a good thing (according to the lexicon of the local fourteen year-old). What have you heard lately that took you a minute to figure out. I mean, like “bad” is still “good”, right? Tight, man!
I don’t hang out with teenagers so don’t hear slang all that often. Although a couple months ago, there was a commercial playing on the radio about a local store and they actually used “WTF” and a bunch of other abbreviations. The acronym, not the actual words. And I was somewhat taken aback because I had thought it was mostly a written/internet phenomenon. (I have read somewhere else that some people have started inserting in their everyday conversations lolcat-speak–so maybe I shouldn’t be too surprised.)
Threesome: Play Hard?– What is your idea of “Summer Fun”? …and no, walking on the beach doesn’t count for this one!
Traveling to places I haven’t been to before would be cool. But I don’t have much time for it.