At the end of 2012 I joined the online Book Club Sword and Laser (hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt). This was prompted after watching them on the Geek & Sundry YouTube Channel. They were reading fun books, they were discussing them and I just figured why not give it a try.
More than a year and 14 books after I am ever so grateful I took that decision. Joining the book club introduced me not only to authors I didn't know before, but to books that have marked the history of the genres. Lately on the Laser months we've been reading that might be considered very old, but they have been appraised by several institutions but most importantly they have influenced greatly other stories that I've read before, felt in love with but never thought of the influences they might had.
Another great thing about the books club (and I will talk about THIS one, since I cannot talk about other ones) is the people. Not just the hosts who are hilarious, but the other members, just like me. Their critics about the book have made my reviews way deeper than at the beginning; there are arguments well established (most of the time) to defend or bring down a point in the story; political comparisons, moral and just fun comments come to brighten my day almost on every day basis, on books that I'm reading right now so the ideas are fresh in my head too. My favorite thread is "What else are you reading" which have let me find people with similar tastes but even better, not so similar and hence shedding a completely different light on books that I might've ignored before.
So yeah, I am very happy I joined S&L. I am also very happy it is an online book club (I think we have established that I am not that comfortable with direct interaction with strangers) since I can be there just reading the comments, nodding my head and I won't feel awkward if I don't jump right into the discussion. As the time passes by I feel more comfortable to do so, and I've noticed that I now talk a bit more about the different topics.
Now, you might ask, how is it that you haven't joined another one? Maybe a non-fiction to try to increase your reading of that genre? Well...you see, one of the things I want to do is LOWER the amount of books I own but I haven't tackle yet and it so happens that most of the readings from the books club (and this applies to others I have actually considered joining) are not books I own. Which makes sense, since the idea is to know new authors/books but it seems counter intuitive for my goal, doesn't it?. Also, as much as I want to increase (every year) the amount of books I read, it is getting a bit out of hand already and I still have issues not finishing a book I am supposed to read, particularly if I took it out of the library. I keep thinking, well I took it away from someone else, and if they are suggesting it I have to at least give it a try, no? What has happened is that I don't continue the series unless I LOVED the first book.
So there you have it. Do you guys have a book club? Online? In person? Are you happy you are part of it?