How Many Book Clubs Are Too Many?

I belong to five book clubs.

I’ve become part of them all in the last year or so. Before that, I had tried a few book clubs, one at a time, but I never could find a group that wanted to read the serious literature that I wanted to read. I found that people don’t generally like reading as much as I do, at least the people I know in real life, and sometimes the books I wanted to read would be objectionable to them for various reasons.

But all of that has changed recently. I’m overwhelmed with book clubs and readers who think like and read like me. That’s not to say we are so alike as to be boring, but I’ve found some kindred spirits in reading that I connect with and can argue with about the books we read. It is delightful!

Here are all of my book clubs.

Number One. The one I’ve participated in for the longest time (on and off) is the Literary Wives book club. It is a virtual one that I do on my blog with other bloggers. We read a book about wives, we each post our thoughts, and then we comment on each other’s posts. It makes for some good perspectives and interesting reads.

Number Two. The book club that I joined just over a year ago is one that has been running for over a decade. When I moved into my new house, my neighbor found out that I liked to read as much as she does. She invited me to her book club, which we fondly call Micol’s Book Club, because Micol is the founder and the glue that keeps us together. She’s an astute reader, and I ended up having her as a student in one of my classes last year. We get together once a month. We have a big meeting in November at Micol’s house where we all bring the books we want to read over the next year, we present the books to the group, and then we all vote in a tally system on each book. The top 11 books that get the most tally marks are the ones we read over the next year. Here is what we’re reading in 2019. (Not pictured is one called Red Notice by Bill Browder.)

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Number Three. Because Micol is a great reader and a social butterfly, she introduced me to another group of readers who are also bookstagrammers. (If you aren’t bookstagramming on Instagram, you should be!) She met them through her bookstagram and she started the group that meets together in the city once a month. There are are seven of us, and we take turns picking a book each month to discuss. We call it the “Real Readers” because we pick difficult novels and books to read that we wouldn’t normally read with other groups. It challenges us! I joined the group about a year after they formed, so here’s what we are reading for March, April, and May.

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Number Four. My fourth book club is a feminist book club where I get together with all of my feminist friends in the area. It is comprised of many of my professor colleagues at work, some of my neighborhood friends, and people I’ve met online in feminist groups but who live near me. It has been fun to bring these women (and a few men) together and to discuss novels and social issues. So far, we have read the following books. The only rule in picking them is that they have to be written by a woman.

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Number Five. My fifth and final book club is one that meets twice a year. It is faculty book club at my university. We read a book each semester, and we try to make those reads coincide with an author who will be visiting our campus. In the fall, we read Lincoln in the Bardo (which I thought was just meh). This semester, we read Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward, who is visiting our campus at the end of the month. It will be amazing to meet her! I loved her book.

So, how many book clubs are too many book clubs? How many do you belong to? Do you like book clubs? 

 

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24 thoughts on “How Many Book Clubs Are Too Many?

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  1. As long as you have time to read the books, there’s no such thing as too many book clubs. I curreenlty belong to two in-person, once-a-month book clubs, and to virtual book clubs. Happy Reading!!!

    1. It sounds like you have some fun book clubs! And I agree. There can’t be too many if you can keep up. I think I’ve reached my absolute limit, though!

  2. I live out in the middle of the wilderness and am not particularly chatty in real life as opposed to online so I only do online book clubs. I have joined about ten on Goodreads, because there are so many interesting clubs there! And all of them share books I never would have found otherwise. Of course your book clubs sounds awesome though admittedly I tend to go for fantasy, SciFi, and indie reads than nonfiction and challenging books! 🙂

    1. This sounds really cool as well. Having them online must make for good connections with people that share your interest in the scifi and fantasy genres. I didn’t even know that Goodreads has online book clubs!

  3. Right now, I only belong to Literary Wives, but that’s mostly because I live in the country, and the only book club I know of around town is reading things that I’m not interested in. I have belonged to as many as three at once. The only problem I have found with belonging to several is that sometimes I felt as if my reading was too predetermined, that I was reading so many things for my book clubs that I didn’t have time to read very much that I just wanted to read. I have had the problem, in my previous life, of being in books clubs where the readers weren’t very interested in discussing anything but the plot. They didn’t have literary backgrounds. It would be nice to be in one that was a little more intellectual. Sometimes we have nice discussion in Literary Wives that aren’t really literary but are a bit feminist, which I like.

    I got invited one time to a book club in Vancouver, but it was at a time that I couldn’t go that week and I never saw that woman again to take up her invitation at another time. I’m not on Instagram, and the idea of being in books clubs on Goodreads doesn’t really interest me. So, huh, maybe something will come up.

    I like the sound of how your first book club works, the one where everyone brings a bunch of books. I also ran into problems picking books despite trying several methods in one of my clubs.

    1. I totally agree with feeling like the reading is predetermined. I like being able to pick up books on a whim and read what I want, when I want. That is kind of what prompted me to write this post. Maybe I do need to pare them down a bit so I can have more flexibility. At the same time, I find that my academic reading for classes also tends to “control” my reading as well. But I can’t quit my job! I hope that you find a group to connect with in real life. Maybe you could start your own club and invite the people you know?

      1. I don’t know that many people here, yet. I’m not sure I want to be in charge of another book club. I’ve been in charge of three, and found that aspect of it aggravating.

  4. I got suckered into a book club without realizing what was happening. We have met a few times, and the books have been great suggestions. Just read “Stoner” and I have to say I would never have picked up that book otherwise. On your list, the only one I have read is Red Notice and found it very valuable in today’s world. I am not a club person. So one book club is more than enough for me.

    1. Oh no! How did you get suckered in to it? I hope it isn’t too bad. I read Stoner last year and absolutely loved it! And it was because of a book club. I do like that I become aware of books that I wouldn’t normally choose. It sounds like that happened to you as well. I’ll look forward to Red Notice!

  5. What a great bunch of books you have ahead of you – a veritable feast – and some interesting discussions. I look forward to your reviews/comments on them all through the coming year.
    I was interested to see that all your books are hard copy. How do you feel about e-books?
    I’m also interested in the various ways in which book clubs make their choices. You told us about how No 2 group (Micol’s) make the choice – what about the others? Do you prefer to plan for the year ahead – once a year – or from month to month.

    1. Good questions! I definitely have a feast ahead of me in books, and I’m not sure which method I like better. I think with a smaller group it is nice to give everybody a chance to pick something, especially if you trust their taste as a reader. In large groups, I like the planning ahead and voting system. I may suggest we do that in my feminist book group because we are growing! And I love hard copy books. I hate e-readers. I suspect that will change in the next few years as I age and my eyes get worse, but I love holding a book! How about you?

  6. I cannot even imagine reading that many books!!! I have such a short attention span AND I fall asleep too easily! I barely was able to keep up with ONE bookclub..but my favorite book was A Gentleman in Moscow.

    1. I always fall asleep when I’m reading at night. I keep seeing memes about people who start books at night and stay up all night to finish. But I tend to just sleep! Even if they are exciting. I loved A Gentleman in Moscow too. Glad you read that one!

  7. I joined my first bookclub last year and love it. I read and review several books each month, but it is fun to get together and read books I would not have known about otherwise.

    1. I’m glad to hear that you love it. I find that same thing: new books I didn’t know about. I love learning from other readers about authors and good books.

    1. I’m sorry you haven’t had good experiences with book clubs. I had terrible experiences about 12 years ago and I swore them all off, until I met some of my new people that invited me to all of these. Maybe you’ll find one that works for you in the future, or maybe you could create one!

  8. I say belong to as many book clubs as you want as long as you’re enjoying them and you can keep up with all the reading!
    Yours sound fantastic. I’ve only ever belonged to one “real life” book club, but I was rarely happy with the books we read so when it petered out, I didn’t exert myself too much to keep it going. It would be great to belong to one with other hard-core readers who like to talk about books more than anything else.
    Happily, I have the Literary Wives group – I always look forward to seeing how everyone else has reacted to the books we read! 🙂

    1. Yes! I’m glad we have Literary Wives too. I wish some of our original members would come back as well. I miss them. Do you know any real life hard core readers? You might be able to cultivate your own group that works. I always hated the stupid books people would pick in my book club 12 years ago. Some of the people had a requirement that there could absolutely be no swearing, and that made for some weird reads because we were trying so hard to avoid the new stuff. And of course, nobody wanted to read the classics either. Sigh.

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