“Golden Anniversary” for my book club

No, not our 50-year anniversary (now THAT would be something…) but our 50th meeting.  We’ve met faithfully once a month since the fall of 2006, and late last year we had our 50th meeting. I can’t really say “Our 50th Book” because we’ve had a few “Short Story Months”/”Ghost Story Months” thrown in along the way, but we’re closing in on our 50th actual book as well.  Our hostess for the 50th meeting collected her copies of all the books we’ve read and put them on her mantle. (picture below) They barely fit! You may also notice the binders she’s made of our short story/ghost story readings (she’s so good).

This is my second ‘serious’ book club for which I’ve had a hand in the founding and administration, the first one lasting maybe 2 years and maybe 20 books.  I think it’s hard for book clubs to stay together for a long time; members’ priorities change (we “lost” two members when they became parents), interest flags, other obligations usurp reading time, and so on.  We’re fortunate to have five of our original members still with us and some good “new blood” in the form of four new members who have joined us in the past 16 months.  Our book club’s web site is now on wordpress too if you’d like to see what we’ve read so far.

I’d be interested to hear from readers about their own book club experiences.  Size of clubs, frequency of meetings, how long they’ve been going on, what types of books you read and how you select them.  Let me know!

-Jay

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7 Comments

  1. January 1, 2011 at 11:36 am

    My bookclub is about a year behind you, with 37 books read (all but one, ‘classics’). We meet once a month other than in December and the meetings are typically three hours in length, with usually 4-8 people participating.

    I found the most important thing for us was having members that lived close by, were in the same age range and would host meetings. In addition, creating a system where everyone actually wanted to read the selected book (and not just 1-3 people), I found this helps incredibly with participation. Also, having a regularly scheduled day in which people meet every month may help… though I haven’t asked members about this directly.

    Would love to hear what has been working for you and your club.

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    • Jay said,

      January 1, 2011 at 6:14 pm

      I’ve read just over half of your club’s list. My first club focused on the classics, but it became a tougher sell as we went on and eventually we ” lightened up” a little.

      My current book club also meets the same day each month in an attempt to avoid scheduling conflicts. We take turns picking from a list of titles suggested by our fellow members, and we cannot pick our own suggested title, but instead must pick someone else’s. This way, two members have a stake in every month’s pick, and odds are that at least once every three or four months a member will get to read either one of the books he’s suggested, or his pick of someone else’s suggestion.

      Our number of attendees is about the same as yours. We don’t all live very close together, but often meet at one of our members’ downtown condo, which is centrally located. We often have one or two members call in and participate via a speaker phone. Our meetings are usually over in less than two hours, and we also take time to set a meal in there somewhere. We have our own little routines and inside jokes that I’m sure all clubs develop. We also try to keep the tastes of our fellow members In mind when suggesting books.

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  2. January 1, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Here is our list, if you’re interested:
    http://eclectic-indulgence.blogspot.com/p/classic-book-club.html

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  3. Melody said,

    January 1, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    My book club is on book 137, although I haven’t been around the whole time (I joined @ book 20, moved out of town @ book 60, and was back @ book 115). What has really kept the group going is a few core people that love to read and really enjoy meeting.

    We have 6-8 people and meet every 4 weeks or so. Most of us live close to each other, and we most often meet at a coffee shop (occasionally homes). We have read many types of books, from Harry Potter to War and Peace, and rotate turns picking the book. While we try to pick something that we think everyone will read, part of the deal is being willing to branch out and give it a go.

    I like that you have your book list online, I’d love it if I could get my book club friends into the world of blogging. I may just have to do it for them. 🙂

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    • Jay said,

      January 1, 2011 at 6:23 pm

      Hi Melody,
      That’s an impressive number! Our book club has a similar unofficial rule that, when we sign on, we agree to be willing to read some things outside our normal predilections.

      I’ve been trying to get my club to be more active online as well, but thus far with limited success. Perhaps the newer, simpler site I created on wordpress for them will change that.

      We’ve thus far only met in each other’s homes, but we do have a favorite Scottish Bar/Restaurant downtown that has invited us to host a meeting there. Occasionally, a few of us will stop in there right after work for a drink before heading over to our nearby meeting in what has become known as our “pre meeting meeting” and they have kind of ‘adopted’ us as their own. 🙂
      -Jay

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  4. Dutchie said,

    January 4, 2011 at 12:40 am

    Congrats on reaching the 50th meeting Jay! I hope my book club goes the distance as yours had. I started my in August 2010 we only five members to start, but now we’ve got 13 after one dropping out and another one taking some time away for awhile. I think it has a lot to do with the area, we have a limited amount of book clubs that are all full and so many readers looking for a book club. I’m getting contacted by people quite often about it, but at some point you have to have a cut off unfortunately.

    Anyway, we have some regulars that are there every meeting, but on average we have about 8-10 people showing up. So far we’ve read only 5 books. Way, way behind your group! Oh and all the members have ended up being women, not a man in sight. That was completely unintentional.

    And me being the blogging addict we also have our own blog with what we’ve been reading. Not many people visit it, but it’s still fun.

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  5. Suvndram said,

    November 18, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    We are The Bookworms 2002 We started in March of 2002and will be10 years old in 2012. We started as 4members all female and have grown to 10 with 2 males.We meet in Toronto at our various homes every 6 weeks presently and previously every 4 weeks. We read on average 10 books a year so we are nearing maybe 100 books.We don’t have a preselected menu,but the hostess/ host usually suggests the next read. We have met authors like Rohinton Mistry and Cathy Ostlere [karma]. We hosted her at a joint meeting with another BookClub where we asked questions about her book over tea.We have met in the park at Edward Gardens in Toronto,at the Music Gardens,theme meetings (TheLife of Pi)where where the hostess tried to recreate food,art from Pondicherry.We alsohave met at a tea emporium( when had CathyOsler over)We normall meet at 2pm on a Sunday and serve a lunch or high tea

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