I have always had a very romantic notion of what a book club is really like, despite having some experience of what book clubs usually pan out to be.
In person, a book club is more often an ongoing (and usually good-natured) quibble about what book we should do next, or the trend of modern literature. If it's well-organized, it's probably a little rigid but runs smoothly. If it's not well-organized, it's haphazard and more an excuse to get together with friends than it is any sort of motivation to read.
Online, book clubs are a core group of people that chat with one another about high academia or deep literary concepts (and memes) and an unending churn of interesting characters on the outside, cycling through when they think the book or discussion is interesting and disappearing without a trace.
But in spite of this, I remain convinced somewhere in my heart of bookish hearts that there is in this world an ideal book club. The Book Club to crown all book clubs. The Book Club that shows up in brief snatches in talkshows, Instagram posts, and romcoms. It's like the cryptid of book nerddom - I've never seen it, but I'm just sure it exists.
The Book Club where the next book we're to cover was at the top of my TBR pile anyway. (And it's on sale for 50%+ off!)
The Book Club where I never feel guilty for getting sidetracked by a different book.
The Book Club where who brings the snacks is never something I have to worry about, because I know when it's my turn.
The Book Club that meets more than once a month, but has no hard deadlines for finishing a book because they understand life happens.
The Book Club where some of us are young moms, and it's okay to bring the kiddos along, because someone is always willing to keep an eye on them while we talk.
This Book Club exists.
But I have a suggestion for you. My Inklings. My beautiful readers. I have... a request.
What if we made a book club?
The goal would be to read at least one (1) book you have never read before per month, but I wouldn't tell you what book to read. Pick one that looks interesting. Swipe the next book off your shelf that you were planning to read anyway. Read fanfiction, if you prefer.
It just has to be new.
Since we're not all reading the same book, we'd look for specific elements.
A writing technique.
Use of transitions.
How characters are introduced.
A specific character type.
We would choose something as a group that we want to take a look at this month, whether it's dialogue or tropes, and see how they show up or if they show up in the books we've chosen. How were they used? Was it effective? Could it have been done better? Would you have noticed it was there if you weren't looking for it?
Then we could talk (once a week or twice a month or at odd intervals on a Saturday between D&D sessions) about those books and how they impacted us, what elements we found that were really effective, or what scenes were just painful to read.
What do you say, Inklings? Would you like this kind of book club?
Could it be THE Book Club?