Book Clubs: A Good Thing

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I need to start keeping a list of ideas for blog posts. During the week, I find myself thinking “Oh, I should write a blog post about that!” all the time, but then when Saturday rolls around (nominally the day that I blog), I can’t think of anything to write about.

Case in point, I saved the above as a draft last Sunday and have several times since then thought about what I should write about, but when I sat down to finish it this morning, I still had no clue what I was going to write about! As someone who is a pretty meticulous writer in my fiction, perhaps I just need to adopt a similar planning style for blogging.

Anyway, last night I went to a book club meeting for one of the two book clubs I belong to. Both of these book clubs are based from Meet Up and I have been a member of both for years. Yet I didn’t actually start going to any of the meet ups until the past couple months.

Partly this was a logistics issue, because it’s hard for me to know my schedule very far in advance with duty and underways and such. Probably the lion’s share of it was that I am very introverted and getting me to leave my apartment can be like pulling teeth. Seriously.

Now that I’ve started to go, I’m kicking myself for not going sooner. For one thing, it gets me to read things outside my comfort zone. 99% of the books I read are SFF and that is also what I write. Sometimes I get so immersed in the world of genre fiction that I forget there are a million other fantastic books out there. Case in point, I have had my Kindle for over 3 years. Currently I have 42 books under Sci Fi, 71 under Fantasy, and only 4 under Fiction and 3 Non-Fiction. (Plus 9 Sherlock Holmes and 8 Anne of Green Gables and 15 Classics). Actually, that breakdown is interesting and I’m going to go ahead and stick a pin in it for a later post. So one of my book clubs is SFF and one is not, which helps me widen my horizons.

I also find it helpful for me as a writer. Being able to see how a wide variety of people respond to a book, the things that stick with them, both good and bad, helps me identify weaknesses in my own writing. For example, last night we were discussing Christopher Moore’s A Dirty Job. Everyone liked it overall, and found his writing to be funny, but many of us mentioned the abrupt ending as off-putting. The falling action was minuscule and the resolution mostly delegated to an epilogue. His racist caricatures were mostly distasteful rather than funny. His main character was whiny and hard to relate to at times. His writing was hard to stop reading, his tone was delightful.

So. I’m glad that I came out of my shell a little and started to actually attend book events of these book clubs. Good for me as a reader and a writer and a person, so really, it’s a shame I can’t attend next month because of an underway. Sigh.

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