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Old 11-20-2017, 10:24 AM   #1
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Lit and MR Book Clubs - the way forward

I'm going to talk about the elephant in the corner. I think both book clubs are in serious danger of becoming obsolete and I personally would find that a terrible shame. Realistically, I don't think that right now we have enough members to sustain two book clubs, but I think there's a chance that the two clubs combined could form a sufficient nucleus to stay viable. And you know, when I took a look at the books read by both clubs this year, I found books on both lists that I thought would have appealed to the other. I don't think it's a far a reach as it might seem.

So I'd like all interested members to consider that and I'd also like to ask, more broadly, what would it take for you to participate in a book club here at MobileRead? What would entice you in, what are the deal breakers? Everything's on the table.

Please join in the discussion. I'd love to find a way forward to a vibrant book club.
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Old 11-20-2017, 10:31 AM   #2
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I was enthusiastic about the Literary club when it started, but lost interest. I like the nomination and polling format of the normal book club, and it seems like the Literary club is heading in a different direction.
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Old 11-20-2017, 10:35 AM   #3
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I was enthusiastic about the Literary club when it started, but lost interest. I like the nomination and polling format of the normal book club, and it seems like the Literary club is heading in a different direction.
This is why I'd like to find common ground and see if we can't amalgamate the two clubs. A lot of it is inconsequentials or window dressing; I don't think the two clubs are always as far apart as the perception of them.
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Old 11-20-2017, 11:23 AM   #4
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I think one issue with two clubs is that people felt as if they had to pick one or the other, the one where they felt a better fit, even if in any given month they might have liked the selection in the other club. But even more important than that, I think committing to two clubs, i.e., two books a month, was too much for most people, who have other things to read, too.

However, this is not just about the two clubs issue; it includes any and everything that would get you either to participate or not to participate. I think one recurring issue in the main club is price. I'll note that one of the most vibrant discussions in the main club this past year was about Queen Lucia, which was free - and also would have been of interest to the lit club!
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Old 11-20-2017, 11:42 AM   #5
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Price is definitely a consideration. Free is always good, but frankly too restrictive. OTOH, I'm NOT willing to spend >$10 USD on a book I don't know and don't think will become a personal 5 star read. Or at least 4 star. Frankly, these days, ANY book I spend more than $9.99 on is almost certainly one that is the latest in a favourite series where I consciously want to support the author. (I note that means ANY book from Baen, for example, is within my upper price range.)

Frankly, for pure flyers, my upper limit is probably closer to $4.99, maybe $6.99. Surely we can find books we all want to read within these price constraints?

As for public libraries, they're just not a solution for a book club where the chances of being able to get a copy of the book in time to read it are not good. I've been on waiting lists for books we've chosen, but almost never gotten the book in time to read it for a discussion.
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Old 11-20-2017, 11:43 AM   #6
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Another consideration for me is length. Reading a 600 page book takes time, and if it's even a little bit of a slog, I'm not going to do it. But reading a 300 page book is a lot more approachable.
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Old 11-20-2017, 12:39 PM   #7
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I agree that choosing a book that's too long or too expensive is going to get people to not read. A book that's short enough can be slogged through if it's not really catching on. But a long book, I'd have to give up on.

One other thing that is an issue is people voting and then not reading the book voted for. That means that maybe the second place book would have one with more people who would have read it. Please don't vote for a book if you won't be reading that book.
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Old 11-20-2017, 01:09 PM   #8
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I think my general rule (for myself), is that it should be available at the library as an ebook. I have broken my library rule, but not my ebook rule.
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Old 11-20-2017, 01:24 PM   #9
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This isn't a thread for exhortations or criticisms of other posters. This a brainstorming session. Let's try to keep it to what would get people to participate and what are the deal breakers? Thinking outside the box is welcome! Again, everything's on the table; how about categories, nominations, discussion formats?

I'd also be interested in hearing from people who have participated in the past, but no longer do. Why did you drop out and what might bring you back?
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Old 11-20-2017, 01:33 PM   #10
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My problem with library books is that the wait lists are usually hopeless. Now it's true, I only belong to one, provincial-wide, library, but my goodness, a wait list of 127 users for 4 copies of a book? I might not live that long! OK, I admit, it was Hadfield's book released just after he returned to earth. But even a Giller-nominated book, there are currently 18 people waiting for a single copy. That's 54 weeks if I were to get on the list now. (I admit, I was smart enough to go immediately to the library site the moment the list was released and get on the wait list for the only one that interested me. At that, I was still 6th on the list -- 18 weeks out...)

While I think it's important that a book be available from libraries, it's really not a solution for folks to read it for a book club discussion. People have to be able to commit to reading books that they're going to have to buy. Thus my insistence on inexpensive.
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Old 11-20-2017, 01:34 PM   #11
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One problem in the original book club is that we've gotten some books nominated and then it's pointed out that the book is not appropriate and the answer is that the voting will sort that out. This to me is a turn off. If a book is not appropriate for the category, then it needs to be removed from the nominations.

Another thing I find a problem is allowing books in a series to be nominated that are not the first book if the club has not read all the previous books. An example is the December nominations. The Book of Dust, Volume One, La Belle Sauvage was nominated and it's the 4th book in a series. It's not a good idea to read it if you've not read the other three.

And finally, the problem of people voting and not reading and then I find the winning book not one I'll read but the second place book I might have read. So if the votes where the voter isn't planning on reading stopped, then the results would be more accurate and you'd know at least how many would be participating.

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Old 11-20-2017, 01:37 PM   #12
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My problem with library books is that the wait lists are usually hopeless. Now it's true, I only belong to one, provincial-wide, library, but my goodness, a wait list of 127 users for 4 copies of a book? I might not live that long! OK, I admit, it was Hadfield's book released just after he returned to earth. But even a Giller-nominated book, there are currently 18 people waiting for a single copy. That's 54 weeks if I were to get on the list now. (I admit, I was smart enough to go immediately to the library site the moment the list was released and get on the wait list for the only one that interested me. At that, I was still 6th on the list -- 18 weeks out...)
Part of that problem is on the libraries. Any library that allows 3 week borrowing needs to drop that and only allow up to 2 weeks. Also, I think the number of holds should be increased given the lines. I think a hold limit of at least 50 would be good. It means then that when in line for not yet released books or in a long line, there's still space available to put other books on hold.
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Old 11-20-2017, 01:53 PM   #13
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I think one problem is that people like to make rules, and than think the rules don't apply to them. For example, someone keeps harping on "series", and than nominates a book in the middle of a series (Star Trek).
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Old 11-20-2017, 01:58 PM   #14
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And finally, the problem of people voting and not reading and then I find the winning book not one I'll read but the second place book I might have read. So if the votes where the voter isn't planning on reading stopped, then the results would be more accurate and you'd know at least how many would be participating.
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Part of that problem is on the libraries. Any library that allows 3 week borrowing needs to drop that and only allow up to 2 weeks. Also, I think the number of holds should be increased given the lines. I think a hold limit of at least 50 would be good. It means then that when in line for not yet released books or in a long line, there's still space available to put other books on hold.
Jon, I appreciate the input, but let's stay on message. The fact is long waiting lists; we're not discussing library policies.

And I'm going to add, since this seems as good a place as any, the basic issue is one of commitment. We need people to be willing to commit to participating most of the time (because life can interfere). Frankly, if it's legitimate to say, "I won't read the first place book because I don't want to and I might read the second place book," that's the end of the club right there. This is where credit has to be given to the Lit Club; they show up. I'm not saying that anyone isn't welcome to drop in on a month-to-month basis, but right now we're trying to come up with a club where enough people would be willing to say, "I'll try the book if at all possible." This is where availability and length are critical.

Part of the fun of a club is the discussion, but I'd like to think that part of the appeal is to broaden your mind a bit. Yes, we want to keep selections reasonably appealing to enough people, but if people are only going to read what they'd have read anyway, there's much less point.
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Old 11-20-2017, 02:56 PM   #15
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And I'm going to add, since this seems as good a place as any, the basic issue is one of commitment. We need people to be willing to commit to participating most of the time (because life can interfere).
We need a hard core.

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Frankly, if it's legitimate to say, "I won't read the first place book because I don't want to and I might read the second place book," that's the end of the club right there.
Agreed. One thing I try to do during the nomination process is make it very clear if a given book is an absolute no-go for me, and why. There haven't been many that got through the selection process, but if the selected book isn't one of those, I'll at the very least give it a try. And in most cases, get more than far enough through it to be able to comment.

I think that's the minimum commitment we need being active in the voting. There's a good place for nominations and discussion of nominations for those who don't plan to discuss. I think we all understand about lurking or semi-lurking. But voting really should be for those who will be active in the discussion.

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This is where credit has to be given to the Lit Club; they show up. I'm not saying that anyone isn't welcome to drop in on a month-to-month basis, but right now we're trying to come up with a club where enough people would be willing to say, "I'll try the book if at all possible." This is where availability and length are critical.

Part of the fun of a club is the discussion, but I'd like to think that part of the appeal is to broaden your mind a bit. Yes, we want to keep selections reasonably appealing to enough people, but if people are only going to read what they'd have read anyway, there's much less point.
What she said.
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