Why Book Clubs Aren’t Really My Thing

Posted March 30, 2018 by Amber in Memes / 20 Comments


I am such a solitary reader.

I feel like that’s a fair thing to be?  After all, unless you’re reading aloud in a circle or recording and audiobook or something equally fantastic, it’s so much lovelier to dig into a novel in a quiet corner so you can really immerse yourself.  And you know what else I really love?  Picking my own books.

For about a year, I agreed to join a friend’s book club at work.  It was a small group that eventually dwindled out.  Our biggest problem?  We had one girl who liked romance, one who liked NYT Bestsellers and thrillers, one who liked fantasy and YA, and then there was the leader of our merry gang who was fantastic and would read anything.  I have no problem reading outside my comfort zone, but ugh.  Sometimes it was miserable.

Our books (before it dissolved) were as follows:

Inferno by Dan Brown     

    The Girls by Emma Cline

My experience with these books really ranged.  I picked a few of them (Inferno and Red Queen and Girls).  I already knew I loved The Book Thief, so that was a given.  Unbroken was okay, but not a re-read.  If I Stay was much better than I expected, whereas Graveminder really kickstarted my reading (why does this book not have a sequel)?!.  The Midnight Thief, too, I liked.  But, ugh.  The Mill River Recluse is one of my least favorite books of all time.  I did not enjoy Untraceable or The Girl in the Red Coat either.  Not for me.

The club disbanded because nobody wanted to pick new books.  For example, near the end I was reading Timeline (and loving it) but I didn’t want to suggest that because I didn’t think anyone else in the group would like it.

But book clubs can be nice because you discover other books and get the opportunity to talk about them.

For myself, I’m trying again.

I joined The Apparating Library Book Club earlier this year, and I’ve already read their February book: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda.  That was a book that was on my TBR, and of course I loved it.  So I think the secret to a good book club may just be finding like-minded readers.

This week’s Book Blogger Hop asked:

How many book clubs do you belong to? If you do belong to an in-person book club, do you have meetings in the day or evening? Do you meet at someone’s house or meet at a local restaurant or coffee house?


Short answer: I’m part of one now – super casual online.  The last one I tried was at work and we met in the kitchen on our lunch break.  I am generally not a fan, but I think that I can improve the experience and so I’m trying again. 🙂


Have you ever joined a book club?

How to do feel about reading books you don’t pick?

Are you good at reading on a deadline?

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20 responses to “Why Book Clubs Aren’t Really My Thing

  1. I have never been a part of a book club, but I would like to join an in-person one, but I don’t know enough people who read. My mom is part of a book club (I could join that one but I don’t like the books they read) she usually enjoys it but they got into a rut where they were only reading really depressing historical serious books, and my mom thought about quitting. Apparently she wasn’t the only one and they were able to re-vamp it and make better book decisions. Without ever having been in one, I think the most important thing would be finding people who like the same type of books!

    • Amber

      I love the idea of being part of an in-person book club, but it just hasn’t panned out yet for me. I think that you’re right – agreement on book-types is essential. That’s definitely where the one I was a part of fell apart. I hope you find one someday!

  2. My neighborhood has a book club made of really cool ladies — I like them in real life. They keep trying to get me to join (they know I read and review books) and I always decline politely. I generally don’t like the books they choose and I have SO MUCH to read and think about already I’m afraid it would just become homework for me.

    • Amber

      Asa book blogger, that’s always difficult! We have so many responsibilities to publishers that sometimes it’s difficult to fit in stuff we want to read, let alone book club reads! It’s great that your neighborhood has a group, and they’re all lovely people. 🙂 It’s always wonderful to know it’s there if you want to join.

    • Amber

      The concept is so enticing, isn’t it? But the reality of it is that the books aren’t always right for everyone and people don’t always agree on the format of the club. Mood reading is the best. 🙂

  3. I’ve done a couple of different book clubs, and had vastly different experiences.
    My library had a tween book club when I was younger, and I dropped into it out of curiosity and it was amazing! Most of the books were really good, and I loved being able to discuss the books I’d read with a really great and likeminded group of people.
    Then there was the one I did with my friends. It was a nightmare. With the library book club we just read a book every month and showed up. Half the people didn’t even finish the book. It was really laid back. But with my friends? We read a certain amount of chapters each week (which was torture in itself), and then we brought in passages we liked, or summarized the chapters, or drew a picture of the characters. It was AWFUL!
    In general though, I think I like book clubs, at least the more laid back ones. They give me an opportunity to discuss books in length, without feeling as if I’m driving everybody else crazy.

    • Amber

      Ooo, your friends’ book club sounds like the most intense buddy read ever! I can see how that was stressful! I don’t think I would have thrived with that type of club, personally. Does your library do book clubs beyond the ‘tween one?

      • They did a teen one up until a year and a half ago, but I only got into YA right after that ended, and they haven’t done another one since… I’m still hoping they’ll start it up again though!

        • Amber

          I hope so too! If not, you could always try to start your own. I’m too horribly awkward to do that, but I bet the library would support you. :). They’re good like that.

    • Amber

      I’ve definitely forced myself through more than one. Audiobooks helped a bit, as I just listened to them as I was driving or doing housework, but if I’m completely honest with myself, I don’t think I absorbed much of the books I didn’t care for.

  4. I don’t think book clubs aren’t my thing not unless they’re reading something I wanted to read. it really does depend on the book selection and I guess it’s probably why I wouldn’t join one unless I know what types of books I will be reading. I think you’re right, the people reading with you have to be excited about the book and perhaps like the same kind of books or else it wouldn’t be enjoyable for everyone.

    have a lovely day.

    • Amber

      It’s definitely good to find out the genres before getting involved. I wish I had done that before I got involved in my real-life book club!

    • Amber

      I think the online ones are nice, because I can lurk. 🙂 I like reading the books on my own time, but don’t always have much to say, and sometimes it’s nice to skip a book that wasn’t interesting. I’m not huge on going out and getting books I don’t think I’ll like, although the book club I’m in now has paid off so far. 🙂 I liked Nimona quite a bit, and that was out of my zone.

    • Amber

      I like it quite a bit – so far, the books have been good, and I don’t feel bad if I skip a book. XD

  5. Rox

    I just came across your blog while I’m blog hopping and I just want to tell you that I love your blog because the design is simple and amazing and I like your posts. Anyway, I’ve never joined a book club because I also like picking my own books. I ask recommendations every now and then but if I’m not interested, then I don’t read it. I don’t know much about book clubs but seeing your experience, I don’t think it’s for me. Thank you for sharing your experience!

    • Amber

      Aw, thanks so much, I’m glad you like it!

      Book clubs are really creatures in themselves – some are quite lovely, but others are perfect monsters. I’d suggest that if you find one that interests you – give it a try!