The Polygamous Book Clubber, by Average Jane

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Celeste is better known in the blogging and Twitter communities as Average Jane, and is a veteran of the online life – her blog archives date back to February 2004. Among other things, she’s a social-media specialist, a rock-band musician, a foodie who regularly shares her favorite recipes with her readers, and a cat owner (wait – I guess the cats own her. Isn’t that how it usually works?).


Please welcome today’s guest blogger to The 3 R’s, as she talks about the three very different book clubs that keep her very busy reading (and are at least two more – and possibly three more – than I could keep up with)! And is anyone else wondering if the dog in the picture of the first book club reads too?
I’ve managed to get involved in three books clubs at the same time. I’m not kidding when I say “at the same time” – they often meet within days of each other.
The interesting thing is that they could not be more different. One is quite serious and formal about the discussions, one is a bit more casual but still has thoughtful and fun conversations, and the final one is a book-themed excuse to drink martinis. I’ll tell you a bit more about each of them.
Small Town Book Club
Most of the members of this book club live in a town that’s about 40 minutes from my house.  I got involved because one of my friends grew up in that town and her sister still lives there.
This club has covered an amazing range of books over their history, but I’ve only been a member for a short time, so I’ve been in on the discussions of:
·       Then We Came to the End, Joshua Ferris
·       The Help, Kathryn Stockett
·       The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
·       The Heart in a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers (only not so much on this one)
Our next book is Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, which will be fun for me to re-read.
This is a large club (around 40 women), and some meetings have twenty or more attendees. The discussions start with each person in turn talking about what they thought of the book and move on to lists of questions.
I don’t know most of the book club members particularly well, but I’m impressed by how smart and thoughtful they are as a group. It’s a treat to share my impressions of the books with them and get their perspectives.
Yoga Studio Book Club
I joined this one late last year and it’s been a lot of fun. The members are friends of my sister and they generally meet at my sister’s yoga studio. It’s a small group of about seven or eight women, all of whom have a similar sense of humor (but very different tastes in books).
The books we’ve read since I joined include:
·       This Is Where I Leave You, Jonathan Tropper
·       Bloodsucking Fiends, Christopher Moore
·       Holidays on Ice, David Sedaris
·       The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson
·       The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls
·       Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Jane Austen/Seth Grahame-Smith
·       Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
I like that this club is open to a combination of fiction and non-fiction, serious and light reading. This month’s selection, which I chose, is The Madame Curie Complex: The Hidden History of Women in Science by Julie Des Jardins.
This book club really knows how to roll out the snacks. By the time each meeting starts, the coffee table is covered with all sorts of goodies – mostly sweets. It doesn’t distract from the discussion, however. The club generally goes through a list of questions about each book, but no one gets put out if there are some conversational digressions along the way.
Drinking Book Club
Yes, that’s the actual name of this book club. I’m a founding member of this one, which came about after a discussion on Facebook revealed the need. The group has more than 30 members, but generally 10-15 women attend. Members volunteer each month to host the following month’s meeting, which also confers book-choosing privileges. Hostesses are strongly encouraged to choose a martini or other strong beverage to complement the book.
Because this book club isn’t particularly serious about reading the books, they’ve mostly been light reading:
·       Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, Chelsea Handler
·       Idiot Girls’ Action Adventure Club, Laurie Notaro
·       Very Valentine, Adriana Trigiani
·       Such A Pretty Fat, Jen Lancaster
·       Whip It, Shauna Cross
I’m hosting this month and because I’ve getting a little overwhelmed by all of the assigned reading, I’ve selected Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, so I won’t have to read something new. I’ll be making zombie rum drinks to encourage maximum discussion.
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The thing I’ve learned from this great variety of book clubs is that there’s no right or wrong way to organize one. The important thing is that everyone has fun, gets along, and gleans what they’re looking for from the experience.
Do you have any fun book club experiences to share? Any bad ones? Let’s hear about it!

*A note from me: I am an Amazon Associate. Book links in this post are provided by Amazon.com and will generate a small referral fee for me if used for purchases.

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