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Buckeye24
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎06-23-2008
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How do you read? Book Club Newbie Needs Help!

I recently joined my first book club and just started reading next month's selection.  However, I'm struggling with the best approach to reading the book, taking notes, and remembering important points.  Does anyone have suggestions?  Are there tools available to help readers be more efficient?  Currently I am highlighting important passages and jotting down notes on a pad of paper, but I'm wondering if there is a better way.  I'm sure it varies by reader, but I am just curious what other people are doing.

Thanks for your help!

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pjpick
Posts: 1,043
Registered: ‎03-16-2007
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Re: How do you read? Book Club Newbie Needs Help!

Hi Buckeye!
I don't know if this will help but I'll give it a whirl.
 
 1) Know your book club. What kind of members are they? By that I mean on what level do they read books. For example, everyone in my book club have degrees but none in Literature. Most of us read for enjoyment and don't "pick apart" books. One of my friends joined a club of teachers that picked apart books by sentence structure, etc. I'm not saying that that is a bad thing only it wouldn't work for our club whereas our more "general" style would probably not work for another club. We tend  to discuss plot points, different perspectives, maybe some foreshadowing, etc. I sometimes star a passage in the book that has made either an impact or me or I feel has made an impact on the story. The most valuable part for me is the different perceptions of the other readers. One of the other posters always adds a quote to their post stating "No two readers read the same book" and after my experience with my club it certainly seems to hold true. Also, my book club is part "Social" and part book discussion so we tend to have fun throughout the night. (maybe a cocktail here and there but not too much or there is no book discussion!:smileywink:)
 
2) Is this the first meeting for the entire book club or just for you? If it is the first for the entire club, everyone is probably in the same boat that you are and you may bumble around for a while and that is okay. If this is your first you may try calling another member to see what is expected of you but I think it is perfectly okay to sit back and observe a little if you're a little unsure of the style of the club.
 
3) Try to read the book even if you don't care for it. (Hard to do but important!) Some of my best discussions are about those books I have disliked. And don't be afraid to say you didn't like the book, there's someone out there who probably didn't like it either (I found this out on my first club day, I couldn't stand the book and my friend didn't fess up until later in the discussion and it was only then that the discussion got juicy.). Remember, it's the book you don't care for not the person who suggested it or those who liked it.
 
4) Some book clubs use Reader's Guides for book clubs. You can always check these out to see if that will help. I often look at those questions and are unable to answer most of them though. They are in the back of some books or on the publisher sites.
 
5) Make sure you have fun! Book clubs should be fun not work! (That's what class is for). Personally, I wouldn't treat the read like an assignment--just something I've prepared so I can participate. There should be no grading!
 
Hope this helps and good luck! BTW what are you reading? My book club for this month is reading a book I have been avoiding: Middlesex  so I will be struggling!
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ande
Posts: 442
Registered: ‎04-07-2007
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Re: How do you read? Book Club Newbie Needs Help!

Thanks for offering all that good advice. I love when one Book Explorer can help another.
 
Middlesex: It's actually on my night table (and been there a long time). My sister and several friends said they loved it and to read it. Hope I can actually make that happen this summer.
 
Ande
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kujo
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎06-27-2008
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Re: How do you read? Book Club Newbie Needs Help!

I would like to add another recommendation for Middlesex! I absolutely loved it! The character development is so engulfing; I found myself getting very attached to each character and involved in every one of their stories. The way Eugenides weaves everything together is just so marvelous and encompassing.
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Silk
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎05-28-2008
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Re: How do you read? Book Club Newbie Needs Help!

Oh my! 

 

I cannot give guidance specifically on 'reading a book'. Reading is not an exercise, it is an experience.

 

An unopened book oozes anticipation of another world.

 

Take a deep breath to savour the smell and relish the virgin pages you are about to explore.

 

Pure unadulterated reading certainly does not require accessories.

 

When the book is finished your imagination will continue to think about the story you have absorbed, where your mind has gone since you opened the book, the bits that made an impact, the people you related to or loathed and the scenes you envisiged.

 

The bits of a book that affect you are the bits that really matter.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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tkillham
Posts: 22
Registered: ‎08-10-2007
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Re: How do you read? Book Club Newbie Needs Help!

I admit, I'm not as academic as a lot of people in book clubs.  When I read a book, it's usually for my personal enjoyment.  I just read it without trying to take notes or remember quotations.  Certain things that are more important to me naturally stick in my mind, but I don't go out of my way to force myself to remember details.

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tkillham
Posts: 22
Registered: ‎08-10-2007
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Re: How do you read? Book Club Newbie Needs Help!

Sometimes I find it hard to keep up with the pace of book clubs.  I don't have much free time, and I tend to fall behind with my reading.  One thing that I enjoy about this site is that there are plenty of general discussions, for example the community room, where you can contribute even if you don't have time to keep up with a specific reading schedule.