BYOB – Bring Your Own Book

Ever since I graduated from University I have had a craving to start a book club. After spending 4 years reading and talking about books for academic credit, I was itching to read and talk about books for fun.

books

But here is the thing with book clubs… They kind of suck. Let me tell you why:

1) You have to buy a new book every month

This isn’t such a bad or outrageous thing but sometimes it’s more important to buy groceries than a new book. Sometimes books are really expensive. Sometimes you buy a book and you find that it is the worst book on the planet but you’ve already paid for it and written your name in the front cover so you can’t even return it and get your money back.

2) If you don’t finish the book then you can’t participate/attend

Life is cray. This is a fact. As hard as we might try, there are days when curling up with a good book just isn’t an option. Then days turn into weeks and before you know it the next book club has arrived and all you know about the thing is the title. Now what? Do you attend but not join in on the conversation, risk discovering major plot points and spoilers? Or do you not go at all? There is no winning in this situation.

3) You read the book but can’t attend the meeting

Before bed, on the train, at the gym you were reading reading reading and then the next meeting is rescheduled last minute and you will be out of town! Well doesn’t that suck. Now you have bought and read this book that you didn’t even really like that much and you can’t attend the book club after all.

I could go on. I won’t, but I could. There are just too many reasons why traditional book clubs don’t work for me. So my friend Kim and I came up with an alternative to the traditional style.

BYOB.

Bring your own book.

book Club

This is how it works. Everyone brings a book that they have already read and that they want to recommend to others. At the meeting everyone gets a chance to share (without spoilers) why they are recommending this book. And then everyone trades!

Short on money? No problem. As there is no purchasing. Just borrowing.

Didn’t finish the book before the next meeting? No problem. At the next meeting you can request to keep the same book.

Hated the book and decided not to finish it? No problem. At the next meeting you have the chance to share (without spoilers) why you don’t recommend this book.

Can’t make it to the next meeting? No problem. You can choose to meet up with the person who borrowed your book/whose book you borrowed outside of book club and trade back, or just hang on to the book until you can make it to a meeting again.

The BYOB method solves all the issues that I have with traditional book clubs. The only snag we ran into was that someone brought a book that we had all read. But this will only be an issue for the first meeting. At the next meeting, in addition to bringing back the book you borrowed, you should/can also bring a new book from your own collection to recommend and trade. So after the first meeting there will be more books than people in the rotation. The best part about this system is that you are receiving a recommendation from someone you trust.

Worried about getting your beloved books back? I feel that. I used a google docs spreadsheet to keep track of which books belong to which person and who borrowed the book. I also took down everyone’s phone number and email so that everyone had a means of getting in touch with one another. We also all wrote our names in the front cover of the book. Just in case.

Me and my friends really enjoyed chatting about books in a very relaxed setting for an evening and we can’t wait to have the next meeting.

Do you participate in a book club? Share in the comments!

 

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“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

– Stephen King

There is something uniquely special about January that inspires newness. New year. New adventures. New goals. This year I have really jumped on board the goal setting train. I think it is because as a student my goals were, in a way, pre-set: “Get into a good university”, “ace all classes”, “graduate”, ect. As I am no longer a student I could wake up, go to work, sleep and repeat for the rest of my life, but that is such a hollow existence. Without goals, where are you going? Absolutely nowhere. So for the first time in my memory I am setting goals, writing them down, sharing them with my friends and family (and you guys) and I am following through. Read about my 2015 fitness goals here.

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If you have read my about me page you will know that I studied English Literature in University. Therefore, I did a lot of reading. The sad part is that at some point I stopped enjoying the books and the stories, it became work. I was never allowed to just appreciate a good book. I always had to analyze and examine, and I was sick of it. So when I graduated I stopped reading. I gravitated towards movies and television. Sometimes I would pick up the occasional Harry Potter book, a chapter here and there, but I wasn’t reading. Then, about a year ago my dad introduced me to an action novel author by the name of James Rollins. I fell in love with his characters and I loved tagging along on their wild adventures. It was wonderful to be reading again! However, I realized recently that since then action novels are the only thing I’ve been reading.

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There are so many genres, so many different types of stories that I’ve been missing out on. So this year I am challenging myself to expand my literary horizons. I am doing this by setting a goal to read 50 books in 2015! The catch, no more than 5 books in the same genre.

I’m keeping track of my progress using the goodreads app. It is a great tool for reading reviews, categorizing books and monitoring progress. My friend Kim and I are also starting a book club! She works for a publishing company, so she is really well read. Together, we decided that books are always better after you exchange opinions with someone. So we have invited some friends to join us, she picked the first book and I am handling the more administrative things such as selecting a date and a location. The first book on our list is The Wind-Up Bird Chronicals by Haruki Murakami. Lucas’s mum loves his books, they are described as fantastical realism and very non-linear. Obviously this is going to be very different from my action novels but that is exactly what I wanted. The first meeting isn’t until late February but I’ll be sure to let you all know how it goes!

Have a book that you think I should read? Share in the comments!