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Author Topic: Book Club in 2015?  (Read 8588 times)

Offline Arry

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Book Club in 2015?
« on: October 25, 2014, 08:52:34 PM »
Alright, so I've been trying to decide what to do about book club for a while. I don't have as much time or energy to put into as I did in the beginning and with participation slowing every month, I feel like I should be doing more. Since I don't think doing more is feasible, I am thinking maybe shift to do things differently. Different how? I'm not sure yet, so I'm opening this discussion because I feel like this is better done with a group discussion. The book club is for everyone, the whole point is to try and find something that will encourage discussion and participation. So. Here are some of my ideas, I'm looking for feedback if people like them or not, and I am very open to suggestions/feedback as well (either for how we have been running things, or how we could possible do things in the future).

First, I want to mention that I really think opening weekly discussions with actual comments about the book seems to help garner more participation. For this reason, I have tried to read most all of the books in the past. But I don't want to feel like I *have* to read the book, so, I tried to think of some ways to try and encourage others to lead the monthly discussions.

My first idea was to ask whoever nominates the book to lead the discussions, but I decided that is probably a bad idea because it might discourage some people from making nominations (especially members new to the book club). So then I thought maybe see if a couple of other people would like to volunteer to lead? Or maybe for each book, we ask for a volunteer, someone who wants to read the book, and think they will be able to read it by the typical discussion dates?

I don't want one person to feel like they 'need' to read every book. In fact, I don't want anyone to ever feel like they 'need' to read any of the books (unless maybe they nominated them ;) ).  The whole point is to read books we enjoy and then chat about them. Ideally, we would have enough people participating that any single readers absence wouldn't impact the discussions.


Rotating Volunteers to Lead Discussions Maybe we let the nominator get precedence if they have interest in leading, and if not, open it to others. My concern with this one is that we won't get volunteers. My next couple of options offer some incentive (I hope), to possibly encourage many members to rotate through and lead discussions.

Rotate Member to Set Theme So ... Another idea I have is that now that our group is smaller than it has been, maybe we can have rotate through who sets the theme each month (maybe this person is also in charge of leading discussions for their month). I think this person should be able to easier say "Yes, this is what I had in mind, it completely fits the theme", or if something does not"You know, when I chose this, I meant XYZ, sorry it wasn't more clear." It's not often a nomination doesn't fit the theme, so this won't be an issue the vast majority of the time.

Rotate Member to Make Nominations In a similar vane, maybe we rotate through interested members, and 1 person picks what will be on the poll (and then leads the discussions?) This option will allow any interested (and active) member of the book club to be ensured at least one of our selections is a book already on their TBR. It could be interesting to see what different members put up for the vote.

or maybe we do a hybrid where we rotate through members and they can choose to either set a theme, or set the books on the poll without nominations


Read Alongs Another idea is that instead of having organized monthly reads, maybe we just convert to all Read Alongs?

So, there's a some of my random ideas. For the options of rotating through members, we would let people volunteer for months that work well for them. I know if the club grows, we would have to address how to choose who gets to do this (maybe require participation in X number of book clubs), maybe the users with the most comments get precedence. I'm not sure. But right now, I don't think it will be an issue, and I'd rather worry about how to get more participation than to worry about how to handle levels that we don't have yet.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2014, 10:47:24 AM by Arry »
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Offline xiagan

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Re: Book Club in 2015?
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2014, 05:25:10 PM »
I will continue participating no matter what we will decide in the end. :)

Does anybody of the book club members - or ex-members - has any idea why participation isn't what it was a year ago? Did you change your reading habits? Aren't the books chosen you want to read? Is something discouraging you to post in the book club threads?

I think the rotating system is a great idea - if people are willing to take on this (small) kind of responsibility and commitment.
"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

Offline Arry

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Re: Book Club in 2015?
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2014, 05:58:29 PM »
Does anybody of the book club members - or ex-members - has any idea why participation isn't what it was a year ago? Did you change your reading habits? Aren't the books chosen you want to read? Is something discouraging you to post in the book club threads?

Thanks, I think these are good questions. But I also want to point out that we haven't been getting as many 'new' members to join in either. So any ideas one what we could do to increase that would also be very welcome :)
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once.”
-- George R.R. Martin

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Offline DBASKLS

Re: Book Club in 2015?
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2014, 02:03:27 PM »
Arry - really appreciate all you have done for the book club, it is really well managed.

I guess the problem we all have is that real life gets in the way sometimes. I always attempt to read every book club book, the only one I haven't read this year is King Rat and I will get round to it eventually. However, I haven't always managed to read them in the correct month! I have had a strange 2014 real-life-wise so I've been all over the place with my reading! I would be happy to run the odd month with the caveat of maybe needing to duck out if something comes up. For example, I am currently doing an accountancy course and have an exam in March 2015 so I would be reluctant to do February and March but April would be OK.

Maybe if we had a primary and secondary person for each month? The primary person leads that month with the secondary for back up in case real life gets in the way?

On themes, I like the themes as it helps to narrow things down but if it's causing you stress then maybe we should stop or have much broader themes.

My other concern about leading is that I am not a book reviewer. I can't articulate my feelings about a book the way some of you can. Maybe other people feel the same and are therefore nervous of joining in?

Anyway just some thoughts I'm putting out there ...
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Offline Eclipse

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Re: Book Club in 2015?
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2014, 05:25:50 PM »
Arry - really appreciate all you have done for the book club, it is really well managed

I totally agree with this  :)

I haven't participate in some of the book clubs because I got carried away in the Malazan read alongs and also some of the books picked I know I wouldn't like so didn't join in
I'm Saloninus, by the way. And I tell lies, from time to time. Which goes to prove the old rule; never entirely trust a man who talks about himself in the third person.

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Offline Mosport78

Re: Book Club in 2015?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2014, 03:37:32 PM »
Hey Arry, I first want to mention and thank you for all the great work that you put forth in keeping this forum going. I know that it is not easy and at times you may feel under appreciated but I for one really enjoy seeing what the reading trends are. Being a "senior" reader of fantasy, it's nice to see what some of these new authors have rattling in there minds. I don't look in on the forum every day but I do try to participate in voting and selected monthly reads. If I can help, I will offer my time. Keep up the good work!

Offline Vagabond

Re: Book Club in 2015?
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2014, 01:02:47 PM »
I joined the book club a couple of months back, mainly to discover books that I may not have decided to read myself. I like the idea of nominating and voting and then reading whatever wins. I particularly enjoyed Red Rising which I don't think I would have read on my own. Since joining I have joined some more book clubs on goodreads and I cannot keep up with them all. Like somebody above mentioned I cannot express how I feel about the books as well as other people. So I do not want the responsibility of leading discussions. Hope we can all agree on what to do and the book club continues.

Offline xiagan

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Re: Book Club in 2015?
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2014, 01:15:25 PM »
I can't express myself as good as others either. But that's not the point.
We are amateurs who read books for joy and who discuss them because it is funny and interesting to see what others think.
We are not reviewers who post their opinions on blogs, so don't feel bad if you don't meet any self-imposed and not-really-there standards. ;)
"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

Offline ladybritches

Re: Book Club in 2015?
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2014, 02:33:26 PM »
The only reason I don't join in more is that I don't have easy access to a library. That means I have to buy most of the books I read.

I'm not good at expressing myself either, but I'd be willing to help out in whatever way you need me during the months I'm reading along. I might even be able to help during the months I'm not reading, if it comes to that. I'd really like to see the book club continue to be a thing here. It's a way to discover books and authors I wouldn't probably try otherwise, and I think that's a good thing.

I'm not familiar with the themes, and how you pick them. Can someone explain that a little, maybe?  :D

Offline DBASKLS

Re: Book Club in 2015?
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2014, 08:06:40 PM »
I can't express myself as good as others either. But that's not the point.
We are amateurs who read books for joy and who discuss them because it is funny and interesting to see what others think.
We are not reviewers who post their opinions on blogs, so don't feel bad if you don't meet any self-imposed and not-really-there standards. ;)

I just think I have never really recovered from failing my English Lit O level  ;D I'd be happy to detail what happened for each week but there'd be no flowery language or anything!!
  • Currently reading : Dominion - C J Sansom
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Offline doclivingston

Re: Book Club in 2015?
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2014, 08:30:23 PM »
I have a few ideas for time issues...  we could read a novella every other month or depending on the size of the book do a longer read period.
We also could do ebook reads once in awhile where we pick a 4* rated book or higher from amazon that is on sale for a few dollars.
As far as getting new members could we do invites on goodreads?
I was wondering though what is a read along compared to what we are doing now?

Offline Arry

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Re: Book Club in 2015?
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2014, 09:33:58 PM »
Thanks, its nice to hear a bit of support for the book club.

My other concern about leading is that I am not a book reviewer. I can't articulate my feelings about a book the way some of you can. Maybe other people feel the same and are therefore nervous of joining in?
I may write reviews on my blog, but really, anyone can. I just answer the same questions I look to address in book club which comes down to my reaction to the story:

Did I like the characters? Why or why not? (if I can pinpoint)
Do I like the world? Is there anything interesting (or annoying) about it?
Do I like plot, does it keep me interested?
How is the writing in general? Does there anything about the prose that stands out in a positive or negative way for me?
Does it seem to move at a good pace or does it seem to stall out at times?

I am not an expert in anything related to writing, I view both book club and reviewing as a way to share my experience as a reader with the book. I figure everyone can have opinions, the point it to share them, and explain why (if possible, sometimes I can't come up with a reason).


I'm not familiar with the themes, and how you pick them. Can someone explain that a little, maybe?  :D

Sometimes we ask that nominations be limited to books that fit a certain theme. You can see our list of suggestions (and what was selected for some of them) here: http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/book-club/themegenre-suggestions/

we could read a novella every other month
My concern here is, how many novellas are there to choose from? Especially that are not supplements to a series? I don't read them that often, so maybe there are more than I realize. They are also always eligible to be nominated, but I think some people aren't interested because they are so short, there won't be as much to discuss.
Quote
As far as getting new members could we do invites on goodreads?
I'm pretty sure members of the Goodreads group do get an email about what we are going to read the next month. I can look into doing it differently. I have wondered if I can use the Goodreads group more, but at the same time, the conversations happen here and I'm not sure how happy they would be to be redirected? I don't know. Definitely open to suggestions here.

Quote
I was wondering though what is a read along compared to what we are doing now?
The read alongs are unofficial and have pretty much no restrictions. Anyone can post a book they'd like to read/discuss with others, if they find interested people, I can set up an area for their read along. Anyone can organize/lead it, it can be started whenever is convenient and run for what ever length of time is convenient. Also, theres not restrictions about availability or being a first in a series. After we read Gardens of the Moon, a number of people continued to read the rest of the series as read alongs. http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/read-alongs/
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once.”
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Offline doclivingston

Re: Book Club in 2015?
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2014, 10:41:56 PM »
could post book club questions from web ex for Neverwhere
http://www.neilgaiman.com/works/Books/Neverwhere/in/191/
also instead of weeks you could just post in 4 sections and put them all up at once

Offline doclivingston

Re: Book Club in 2015?
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2014, 10:45:47 PM »
ohhh and I would be glad to help out, I can't promise to read every book but I don't mind helping out with discussion questions or other things.

Offline Arry

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Re: Book Club in 2015?
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2014, 11:29:16 PM »
could post book club questions from web ex for Neverwhere
http://www.neilgaiman.com/works/Books/Neverwhere/in/191/
also instead of weeks you could just post in 4 sections and put them all up at once

We use to do that more (open up the discussions earlier), but some members said that it made them feel like they were behind and missing the discussions.  ::) There's no pleasing everyone. So, I asked that people who read faster do what I do, which is to jot down my comments in between the sections and then copy/paste them into the discussions when they opened up. This is always something we can bring back up for discussion though, so if anyone else has an opinion/preference (if they like this idea, or not), please speak up! :)

I will definitely check out the Neverwhere link :) Thanks!
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once.”
-- George R.R. Martin

http://www.tenaciousreader.com

http://www.speculativeherald.com

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