Do Writers Need Book Clubs?

June 28, 2011

The Avid Readers Book Club celebrated its 15th year last month. In that time, we have read a mix of fiction and nonfiction. We’ve explored classics, mysteries, thrillers, romance, memoirs, and science fiction. Some I’ve loved, others I’ve suffered through.
Book groups offer two invaluable tools to writers. First and foremost, these sessions provide the reader’s perspective on a book from a variety of viewpoints. My group’s tastes are diverse and often opinionated. Our meetings can be emotionally-charged debates or more about the food and wine depending on how successful the writer connected with the reader. From these discussions, my writer persona has gleaned what works and what doesn’t.
The other advantage a book group offers a writer is the book selections. I am of the opinion that to write well, a writer must read. I have read books I would have never picked up. Being in a book club has forced me to persevere through novels I’d never have finished. Knowing what doesn’t work is just as valuable to a writer as what does.
Of course, my book group is more than a study in reading and writing. These are my friends and I value their thoughts and perspectives. Some people have come and gone throughout the years, some founding members remain, others went to one meeting and didn’t stick, but every person has taught me something about reading, writing, and even about myself. I wonder what the next 15 years will bring?

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