I’ve Started a Book Group

state

How many of you are in an actual, in-person book group? I’ve always thought of blogs as the perfect book group and have not had the desire to start one of my own. I also had a disappointing experience when I belonged to one a few years ago. I really hated most of the books we read and didn’t want to repeat that experience. However, I’ve been feeling a bit lonely lately and want to expand my circle of friends so I put a general invitation on Facebook for people to assemble at my house the last week in February to discuss State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. I wasn’t expecting very many people to respond, but I am pleased to say that there will be eight of us gathering for the discussion! I’m really looking forward to the day as State of Wonder is a marvelous and fascinating book that I’m sure will lead to an energetic discussion.

Do you have any recommendations for books that are perfect for discussion groups? What books would you like to read in a book group?

25 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I’ve never been to a real life book group but have always thought they sound like fun. Hope you enjoy yours 🙂

  2. I’m in chapter 4, and have already highlighted stuff to discuss! I have read a few classics for book groups. I read John Adams by McCullough. I thought they worked well and were fun.

  3. Congratulations on starting your own book club! I hope you’ll let us know how the meeting goes. I just finished reading Mudbound by Hillary Jordan for my book club – it was great and should lead to a good discussion, too.

  4. How exciting! I am in two book groups, but I rarely manage to read the scheduled book, even if it’s one I’ve suggested! I’m just not good at reading on schedule. That said, though, my groups have enjoyed Penelope Lively’s books (The Photograph was a hit), and also Jeanne Ray’s (and she is the mother of Ann Patchett!).

    1. I’m not good at reading on schedule, either, so I hope I can stick to the reading for the book group – I guess I will have to since I am leading it! I’ve always wanted to read Jeanne Ray so I will add her books to our list of possibilities – thanks for the reminder.

  5. I’m not in a book club at the moment but have been in the past, until they came to their natural end. A great friend of mine always says ‘the best thing about a book club is you read books you wouldn’t normally & the worst thing is you read books you wouldn’t normally. Hope you discover some great reads, and have fun.

  6. I am so happy for you that you started a book group! I have been in book groups ever since I graduated from college — which was many, many years ago! The longest standing one is fifteen years. There are about ten of us and we love getting together to talk about books. Please let us know how it goes.

  7. That sounds a really good idea, how you went about it. Here’s hoping you can all agree on a second book and keep it going 🙂 I haven’t read it, but from what I know, Life of Pi sounds a good choice. The Snow Child might work, too. The character and ending being open somewhat to interpretation could lead to interesting discussions, though the setting and lack of action might put some people off.

    1. I really didn’t like Life of Pi, but I read it ages ago and it might be good to reread. Books can transform themselves in your mind when read at different times!

  8. I started a group at the library where I work and it was a little tough going at first — one month I was the only one there, which was rather depressing and I nearly gave up. But I stuck it out and it’s going very well (and the best part is I get to choose all the books!)

    The group actually read State of Wonder last year and we really enjoyed it, so great first choice!! I like to mix up the genres and I always like to include nonfiction, there’s so much great stuff available these days. Some of my favorite nonfiction reads so far have been Zeitoun by Dave Eggars; The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot; and our current read, In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson.

    I look forward to hearing about how the book group is going!

    1. I just finished State of Wonder and can’t wait for the discussion – what a devastatingly good book!
      Thanks for the suggestions – Immortal Life is definitely on the list, but I hadn’t considered In the Garden of Beasts or Zeitoun – I think they would both be great candidates.
      I will keep you posted on how the group progresses!

  9. I’ve been in a book group for about seven years, now. To be honest we are all old friends and spend about 30 minutes discussing the book and then two hours gossiping and (ahem) drinking wine. Anyways, I would recommend Atonement, we all loved it, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

    1. I think my group will have a fair amount of gossiping, also, as most of us know each other from work – probably a lot of griping, too!
      A Tree Grows in Brooklyn would work well for the group, I think. We do want to read a few classics. Thanks for mentioning it!

  10. Exciting stuff! The best books I’ve read with book groups have been the ones where some loved it and some hated it – a little ambiguity, multiple viewpoints or loose endings all gave us room to form our own opinions and debate it. The worst were things like Christopher Isherwood or Kafka where people just liked or disliked it but didn’t have much to say. I didn’t finish State of Wonder but it would have been perfect for a conversation about the issues, the author etc. 🙂

    1. Yes, it is going to be tricky to find books that actually promote discussion rather than a strong reaction. State of Wonder works wonderfully! I would recommend finishing it because the ending is smashing.

  11. I love book groups!
    My current one meets in a pub in Camden, London and I made some great friends there. I think I liked almost every book we have chosen (we vote, it’s very democratic), except for the one that was actually MY choice. Ha ha.

    If there is anyone in London who would like to join, it’s here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/315663235200681/

    We’re very laid back and you can come even if you haven’t read the book.

Thank you for reading and commenting.

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