Tonight, my book club meets. Finding a book club was the first new thing I did when I split up from my long-term partner some years ago. We were both big readers and whilst I read a fair amount of what he read, he resolutely refused to read some of my more "out there" selections. Not that I thought they were especially out there, but I had to admit to knowing no-one else who read them either ...
I love the club - its small, friendly and opinions are expressed and traded freely. Tonight its the turn of "my" book: Americanah by Chimamande Ngozi Adiche. Its my book in that the group selected it from a list of options I put forward last month. The club was set up so that by selecting a book that is new to us all, we ensure there is no prior attachment or investment in the selection (other than a desire to read it presumably!) As we all have differing tastes in reading material, the selections have ranged from the lightweight through to serious science, thrillers to travel journals, plays to poetry, classics to modern fiction.
Only extremes of workload have prevented me from reading book club choices. As a hater of the horror genre, I've suffered through "I Am Legend", but found "World War Z" a tremendous read, despite expecting otherwise. It means I keep on reading the chosen book every month except in extreme circumstances.
My selections over the years have produced one of the worst books we ever read (I've successfully eradicated its name from my memory banks) and one of the best reads: Balzac's "Pere Goriot". In preparing my lists, I find it helps me if there's a theme. The Balzac was on a list containing foreign language classics, others have been Booker short-listed (but not winners), short stories, most times I pick one book I like the sound of and a theme emerges from it. Of course, if caught short, a few from my amazon wishlist suffices! We have two teachers in the group, so the young adult category comes around fairly often. I have to say that this is now a genre I read on my own, along with science-fiction and fantasy, which previously I would never have considered. Only problem is that my to read pile just grows and grows ...
I'm looking forward to the discussion on Americanah tonight. I thoroughly enjoyed it and despite having spent 6 years living there, it is only the second book I've read by a Nigerian author. I wonder what views will be expressed by my fellow groupees. One for another of my scribbles perhaps?
Is reading something you do alone, or do you like to talk about books almost as much?