Sunday, October 7, 2012

Book Club Demise

Tradition: Short Stories

Story: Back in elementary school I was part of the Junior Great Books program. I don’t know how standard my group was, but we basically had a book with short stories and excerpts from larger works. Each meeting we read the “story” and then discussed it. It was my first exposure to participating in a book club. The best things about the club was the fact that everyone read the stories. We could talk about them and even go back and explore things we misunderstood. It was fun times. This club is also where I fell in love with the short story format. If I don’t love a short story then I have only spent a few minutes instead of a few days reading it, but if I love it I can re-read and dissect it with as much time as I want.

 This love for the short story has led me to a pick up collections of short stories all over the place. I always recommend the Best American Short Stories selections as a good starting point. Then search out short stories. Look in literary magazines and keep trying out the short story format. I love it. Since I buy so many of my books used (I miss Powell’s books so much) I just go to the section that has the Best American Short Stories collections and then I just browse the surrounding areas. This time I came across the book This is not Chick Lit. I have just about finished it and even though none of the stories blew me away, I found every single one worth reading. 

 Later in my life I participated in a book club that started out well, everyone had read the books and we had good discussions. As the club went on fewer people had finished the books and more and more people didn’t even started reading the books before the meetings. It sort of fizzled out. 

I keep being tempted to get it started again, but I just don’t want to “be in charge.” More than that I don’t want to exclude people (because I want people to show up), but I also don’t want people to show up if they don’t read the book. When I just want random babble about life I go to knitting or something, I don't open my home and prepare snacks. 

With those things in mind, maybe I should start a book club that focuses on shorter texts. Short stories and novellas and that sort of thing, then again maybe I should just continue to read what I like and not bother filling up my calendar with things that may not be enjoyable.

Do you have a book club? Do you have book/story recommendations? What is your favorite short story?

1 comment:

Michelle said...

We have a book club here but I couldn't go when it started and the books they pick are not ones I want to read. They pick ones that have a lot of popular hype which I rarely enjoy. It's hard to get a lot of people to want to read the same thing month after month.