contentgrrl

I am conTENT. My work is CONtent.

starting and running a reading group

Posted by contentgrrl on October 29, 2007


After I graduated Baylor into my adult life, I no longer had to study all night between my internship, my student teaching, my community service, partying, and classes. I also no longer had most of those activities to fill my time. When I started my first full-time job, I would plop down on my couch, and stare at the wall. Eight hours in one place was exhausting. Those were the days.

Eventually I found a restaurant (Max’s) that welcomed poetry readings, and of course there was Barnes & Noble and a couple of new friends in the office. We started a book group, where we met weekly over Mocha Valencia Grandes. We would each bring one question, comment, or passage for the group to discuss. We did Atwood’s Cat’s Eye, where I marveled over the recurring antiseptic theme, and then my very religious colleague made it obvious that C.S. Lewis was writing about Armageddon at the end of the Chronicles of Narnia, and then my activist colleague had us reading about life in the inner city, which made me so angry that I have blocked out the author and title (I still feel impotent about the rampant homelessness, drug abuse, child abuse, gang violence, and inequalities for which I can find no solution). Sometimes, just catching up would take us hours, but we had flexibility back then. If I hadn’t relocated to another city, I might still belong to that book group.

Then again, I might not. I appreciate the broad range of perspectives in that particular gaggle of gals. We were certainly not of one mind. On the other hand, I think I might be interested to find people who share more of my interests and values.

If you’re starting a book group, BookMuse has some great resources for starting and running a book group, including groups for kids, recommendations and reviews. I wish I had a reading group when I was younger. A kid’s reading club, around a neighborhood, would be a great opportunity for socialization and for learning new things.

My friend Karmon (one of my unsung heroines) was a big proponent of The Reader’s Place, which has an excellent forum for online reading groups, lists, and polls. Also through Karmon, I’ve found Reader2, where you can build your personal reading lists, export your latest read books or recommended books to your site or blog, find readers with similar interests, and track friends’ readings.

Of course, I rely heavily on Amazon’s customer reviews, Listmania, and So You’d Like To… . And they’re starting topical community forums, which you can find if you scroll down on some book pages. So far, Amazon’s forums remind me of only slightly more well-read versions of the message boards on IMDB.com (Internet Movie DataBase). There will always be trolling idiots.

I’m currently reading a public relations writing book, a couple of parenting books, and a couple of religious history books. I’m still recovering from devouring two Robin Hobb epic fantasy trilogies. If you’ve gotten this far on my blog, maybe I’ll see you around!

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