When I was still active on App.net we had a nice book club there with an excellent reading assignment every month. Offline, I had never been part of any book club but Shawn Throop, Jackson Egan, and Saket Kulkarni did such an awesome job not only by picking very diverse books every month but also by establishing an infrastructure incl. podcast, blog and discussion zone (via hashtag) that I was instantly hooked.
The great thing about reading assignments in book clubs is that a lot of people are making their way through a book more or less at the same time. Thanks to that discussions about certain parts of a book are easy, you don’t really spoil anything because everybody involved in the discussion is expected to have read the book.
After leaving ADN I also stopped being part of any book club. Reading became once again a thing I did on my own with books that I picked by myself. While that’s also not a bad way to read, I absolutely missed that spoiler-free (because there are no spoilers!) discussions every month and the quite focused interaction in general.
Having someone else pick a book for me and therefore introducing me to stuff I wouldn’t normally read kind of ended up being a non-issue, though, as my to-read list became more and more diverse. Sure, I’m still mostly stuck in SciFi, but there are so many different sub-genres that it never gets boring. What ADNBC definitely helped me with is getting out of my narrow StarTrek corridor.
Looking for a new club
So right now I’m kind of looking around for a new club again. GoodReads alone has nearly 8000 groups listed with the tag “book-club” or “bookclub”, so there is no shortage there. Over the year’s I’ve also heard about Sword & Laser enough times to consider it at least every 6 months. I actually don’t like the Fantasy genre so I will most likely skip every other book or use that as a way to force myself to finally read some of these books. In general S&L looks like a nice cross-media-type thingy that I really might get into. I’m definitely curious
How big is too big?
The only downside I see with either GoodReads other bookclubs or S&L in particular is their size. The ADN bookclub was really small. You could follow literally every discussion that was going on there simply because there was only one stream and only a handful of people writing there.
With groups as ridiculously larger as S&L (20k+) or even those with only 50 active readers that simply won’t work. From just scanning some of them they all look more like classic forums with sub-discussions going on left and right. Let’s see if I can get what I want out of that.
I’ll definitely report back either way once I’ve participated there a bit. That is after first finishing (the so far pretty good) Nemesis Game and then reading a couple of books in whatever club I end up joining 😊