Not your mother’s book club

Today I had not one, but two different book club meetings. I just got off Zoom from the last one and it has me thinking about what my vision of a book club was and what it actually is for me.

What I use to to imagine most book clubs looked like: women sitting in a living room drinking Chardonnay, eating cheese and crackers, discussing the latest Oprah book pick.

What I imagine my mom’s book club would look like (she doesn’t have one): women sitting around a dining table filled with snacks like watermelon seeds and salted prunes, drinking wine, discussing book recs from the Chinese newspaper. In essence, I imagine it would look like a mahjong session, but with books.

What my newest book club actually looks like (just started today): women from three different time zones meeting on Zoom discussing a professional book on teaching literacy.

What my other book club actually looks like or did in the Before Times (started over 15 years ago): women sitting around the dining table eating homemade or take out brunch, sometimes drinking mimosas but usually coffee, discussing anything from “the Classics” to titles from the NYT bestseller list to Oprah’s latest pick. Then discussing everything under the sun: politics, menopause, family issues, TV shows, the British monarchy, race relations, economics…dreams and aspirations. During the pandemic we’ve been meeting on Zoom and we’ve been known to start at 9:30 am and log off after 3 pm!

What my husband’s book club actually looks like or did in the Before Times: women and men meeting at a pub, snacking on pub grub, drinking beers, discussing whatever the person of the week decided. It could be a nonfiction title about tacos, the history of Mayans, to Oprah’s latest book pick.

What does your book club look like? If you don’t have one, you might consider starting one. Oprah’s got some pretty good book picks.



8 thoughts on “Not your mother’s book club

  1. I love the pandemic book clubs that span time zones! I will say that’s one of my favorite 2020 things that I hope will continue when this is all over. I’ve learned so much from people all across the country, and I think that’s just incredible!
    I really enjoyed your descriptions of the different kinds of book clubs, both real and imagined. I never did a real one in the “before times”, but I’ve done several Zoom ones that I really enjoyed! (Mostly professional but also one with some women at my church.)

  2. I find it hard to share talking time on Zoom with more than 3 or 4 people. It’s harder to read when someone is done talking so you can jump in. I’d be the lame person raising my virtual hand. I love that you sometimes start at 9:30 am and continue until 3 pm. You must have some amazing conversations! I have never taken part in a book club for adults. I find all my reading time goes towards my students and the books I’m reading with them.

  3. Sigh. I wish I still had a book club. I’ve been a part of some amazing ones, and I miss it more than I can say. I still remember my first one, when I was in my early 20’s. It was a powerful lesson about how very important women were in my life. Wishing I had a book club now. Maybe….I’ll start one?

  4. I love all kinds of book clubs and you certainly described several variations! They can look so many different ways. They definitely feed the soul, sometimes meander, and serve different purposes based on what we are reading and how we came together, right!? Deeply personal and always fun. Thanks for sharing! XX

  5. I love book clubs! The only official book club I’ve that actually met several times was called The Book Club With No Name, not because we couldn’t come to an agreement on a name, but we couldn’t ever agree on a book! Most of the book clubs I’ve popped into involve wine, snacks, and discussion about everything but the book. Yes, we all had a copy of the book, but we were too busy to read it, save the one person who did (my bff). Then we’d agree to reschedule another meeting. Fun times!

  6. Honestly, I’ve never been in a book club. I love to read, but the times and places have just never matched up to where I’ve been in my own life. It could be interesting to stretch my own comfort zone, but we’ll see. I’m the guy in the back who’d just be there to listen and nod, but not say much! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing today!

  7. Wow, I love this! And I’m so jealous. Your first depiction of what a book club stereotype is exactly what I imagine! I’ve recently been wanting to gather with others to just talk about articles? Haha! Instead I decided to print out snippets and use them as mentor texts. I need to find a book club! My dream would be one where we talked about our books, but not necessarily having to read the same book. 🙂

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