Friday, September 26, 2008

Kill the Book (Club)?

Only five readers participated in our recent LROD book club meeting of Darin Strauss's More Than It Hurts You.  Somehow, given the big flurry over Strauss, I had expected more people would show up with comments.   The Insect Cabinet wants to know what is next for the book club.  I don't know.  It seems like a lot of press for the book, which is nice, but it seems like interest is kind of low.  I could go either way.  What do you think: Should we kill the book club, or keep it going?


Anonymous said...

My problem with book clubs is that I can't make myself read something that doesn't interest me right away. Call me symptomatic of the problems with today's distracted readership, but with all the books out there I love, why waste time with one that doesn't click with me. Just so I can chat online about it?

rmellis said...

I was really into it. Still, unless we make a big hubbub about the next one, I can't be sure I'll read it.

So... I'm also on the fence.

E. said...

W,R --

I was looking forward to participating but got sideswiped over the last few weeks with some time-sucking unfun.

I think the idea is great, and in theory an online thing is easier to participate in than discussion groups that meet in person. I guess in practice it has the same potential pitfalls as other longish-term commitments, virtual or "real": it sounds super when it's thrown out there and gets lots of *genuine* support, but in the interim, life gets in the way and other things take priority for some of us.

That's what happened with me, and I apologize I wasn't able to focus full attention on the fifteenth. On the other hand, I wasn't one of the anonymice who were throwing the novel under the bus before having read a word.

By the way, I think the first line of the novel is brilliant.


The Insect Cabinet said...

I say keep it going. I do agree, though, E., that the widespread enthusiasm for an activity may not translate into widespread activity itself, which is a shame but understandable in terms of unfun things that must be done.

I should say, too, W, R, that my interest in seeing the book club continue is entirely selfish; I appreciate the time and thought that obviously went into your comments about Strauss's book and it's entirely possible (probable) that there are other projects you could be putting your writerly talents to. So really the call is yours.

One final thought, though: yes there were *only* five participating readers, but perhaps they only read the book because of the book club, and perhaps since reading it and writing about it for the book club they have talked about it (enthusiastically, tirelessly) with their pals, some of whom, in turn, may have started reading it. So one book club with five participants, but how many readers? And isn't that half the point of a book club? The more booky goodness we can get out there in the world, the better.

The Insect Cabinet said...

You know, forget my twee comments above. Perhaps we should accept that writers aren't necessarily critics and critics aren't necessarily writers. If this is a blog for rejected writers then maybe a club centred on analysing other people's books is the wrong thing; just because someone likes writing doesn't mean they're any good at analysing it. Or perhaps only five people participated because there really isn't enough time to do homework for every blog blah blah blah... What are YOU after, W, R, quantity or a handful of thoughtful comments? What do YOU value more?

peterc said...

With so few participants, maybe the book club killed itself. Guess those with so much to say initially didn't have time to read. All mouth, no trousers.

And insect, as one of The Five, I didn't promote the book through word of mouth. It wasn't good enough for that.