First, a reminder for the local folks: My Toastmasters club (Toast of Champaign) is having a Guest Day tomorrow. We meet at noon in room C of the Champaign Public Library. There will be light refreshments.
Anyway, I’m working on a talk about book clubs. From my perspective as a writer, there are a few different benefits–mostly the same as for me as a reader, with maybe one addition.
* Deadlines! It sounds silly, because I like to read and I read every day, but deadlines help me focus on reading and get a particular book read. Otherwise I tend to be distracted by the next shiny book and forget about or put off books that I meant to read. The library effect contributes to this–I only request books if I really want them right away for a reason, so most of the time if I want to read a popular book, I just wait until it appears on the shelf.
* Expanded horizons. I usually stick with fantasy and some SF, but I like to dip outside the genre every now and then. When I went to the library’s book club, we read mainstream books, a few classics, some memoirs–things I would have never thought to pick up otherwise.
* Reader reactions. This is the one that’s different for writer-me. I’ve spent so much time around writers that I’ve forgotten how readers react to books. Or how I used to react. The library book club was interesting because the observations people made were different. I paid a lot more attention to craft than the other members. Plus, I used to not think about the author. Now there’s less “why did the character do x” than “why did the author choose to have the character do x”. (But I still don’t sit there thinking, “how do x, y, and z support the theme” like in high school English class. Gah.)
Lately I’ve been exploring two book clubs on Goodreads, both for fantasy. I’m looking for a nonfiction one, but those seem a lot less common.
Any book club fans among you?