I had been eyeing this sexy book club that meets each month in that trendy coffee shop in a nearby college town. I’d seen it on the library events page and I just knew I would love it and it would love me back, if only we could get together. Fate stepped in and INSISTED that I go to book club – YAY!
It turned out just as fabulous as I had hoped. We met for coffee Saturday morning, enjoyed a lovely hot drink, stimulating conversation, and live guitar music. Heavenly…
Eight of us, 7 ladies and 1 brave guy, met on a bright morning, pulled up tables and chairs, loaded up with our favorite coffee shop drinks, and brought out our books. The guy and I were new to the group while the rest had been meeting and discussing together for several years. They were very welcoming, and us newbies felt right at home. I was the only one who read the book on an ereader – everyone else had regular print copies and they were loaded up with little colored sticky note flags marking the passages they wanted to discuss. All the regulars had taken notes as they read and were ready to jump right in.
One of the first things I noticed was that there didn’t appear to be any leader. One older lady started us off with a comment and a question and conversation ensued. This was like hanging out with your friends and discussing a topic. Everyone was respectful of the others, and when a bit of cross-talking happened (which was twice), the older lady gently reminded us to “listen when others are talking”. I thought she was the leader, and only found out at the end that the actual leader from the library was the unassuming young woman 2 seats down from me. Ha ha, fooled me!
Everyone took turns jumping in and either responding to comments, or pointing out a new take on a related idea. They referenced passages in the book, and thoughts that they had noted as they were reading. Wow! This is a very experienced book club! There was one lady who sometimes went off on a tangent, but the club listened politely, responded kindly, and got back to the book. Very smoothly done – just exactly how a smooth, sophisticated, sexy, coffee-shop club should be! I felt so cool and smart to be part of it, lol! I also liked the Saturday morning time frame just like I thought I would – not at the end of a long work day (with loads of school work to do before bed, ha ha).
“They used their own life experience to make sense of texts and conversely used texts to make sense of life …” (Ross, 1999)
This quote struck me when I was reading the article, Finding Without Seeking by C. Ross. This was EXACTLY how this discussion went. The book was about making sense of the increasing acceleration of change in today’s highly technological, globally connected, environmentally sensitive world. The author was attempting to make sense of how The Machine, which is what he calls his worldview, works with all of these changes. As we discussed the ideas in the book, we used our life experiences to help understand it, as well as referring back to the book to explain some of the phenomena we’ve each observed around us. It was the same circle Ross mentions in the article and it fits perfectly with what happens within each of us as we read.
My only disappointment was that the date ended all too soon – only just over an hour. It was long enough for a great discussion without dragging, but I would’ve enjoyed perhaps another 10 or 15 minutes. Several people did hang around for a few minutes to welcome me again and get their books for next month. I noticed on the Structuring Your Meeting page of www.ilovelibraries.org, that they recommend 2 to 2 ½ hours, but that’s total time – not just discussion time. We were at the coffee shop for about 1½ hours total and that was ok.
Can’t wait for my next Book Club Date!
LitLovers.com. (2015). Structuring your meeting | I love libraries. Retrieved from http://www.ilovelibraries.org/booklovers/bookclub/structure-meeting
Ross, C. S. (1999). Finding without seeking: what readers say about the role of pleasure reading as a source of information. Exploring the contexts of information behavior, 343-355.