A couple of book clubs are reading Husband Auditions this month, and I’ve been invited to visit one on a Zoom call. I’m honored, but I’m also intimidated.
See, when I join this book club virtually, the group will have already spent an hour dissecting my story. It’s not likely all of them will love the novel either. I’ll probably feel a little like when you walk into a room, and everyone gets quiet enough that you know they’ve been gossiping behind your back.
I expect this because I’m part of a book club myself. I’ve witnessed many impassioned debates. Of course, that’s part of what makes it fun to read and discuss the same book.
For example, I present our year-end book club party from last month:
The club president hung pockets for each of the books we read during the year on a posterboard. Then all club members were given strips of categories to vote for by sliding the strips in the corresponding book pockets. Categories included things like “favorite book” and “I can’t wait for the movie” to “I could have written this better” and “refused to finish.” After we distributed our strips into the pockets of our choice, we took turns reading what each book won.
None of the awards were unanimous. Many books received votes from both the best and worst category.
As a writer, I found the exercise fascinating. And encouraging. It’s okay if not everyone loves my books. What a boring world that would be.
When a person opens a book, they bring into the story their own life experiences and personal preferences. Different readers will take away different things, and those things aren’t always intentionally written. They’re deeper.
The best books are those that successfully reflect the reader back to themselves like a mirror. My job as an author is to polish that mirror as clean as I can. I acknowledge I’ll never make it spotless, and not everyone will like what they see.
So, as I prepare to party with this new book club, I’ll keep such ideas in mind. If nothing else, I hope my book makes them think, and I expect their take on my book to do the same for me.
Are you part of a book club, and if so, what do you love about it?