Posted by: Andrea | November 6, 2009

Book Group Blues

Tonight is book group.  Where once we had at least eight people every month, I’m anticipating only two people showing up tonight. Another one is stopping by after a concert with her boyfriend.  This my friends, is a PATHETIC showing.

It’s starting to really frustrate me.  We started the book group about a year ago with a group of enthusiastic people who actually READ THE BOOK and wanted to come and talk about it.  Yes, the book group wasn’t just about books, we did a lot of talking about other things too.  But people seemed to be prioritizing it and were actually turning up to the group each month.  Now it’s extremely rare for people to come at all.  It’s actually getting rare for people to even pick up a copy of the book to read!

We used to pick a book at random, which was good because it meant we read a real variety of books.  But then people always procrastinated in getting the book and complained that they didn’t have enough time so books weren’t getting read.  So then I started picking up ‘book club books’ at my local library so that everybody could get a copy of the book at each meeting.  Unfortunately that’s kind of created a problem because the books don’t seem to have as much variety as they used to so people are sort of getting bored.  Ok, I’M getting bored.  I love to read pretty much anything, but there’s not a lot to SAY about a lot of these books.  Which is kind of a problem.

Which has led us here.  To a book group of three people, including me.  *sigh*  What should I do?  Is there anyone out there with any sort of group-energizing suggestions?  I really love book group but it’s totally dying a death here.  Should I get new members?  Draft up questions for each month to ensure a lively discussion?  Just accept that our book group is terminal?  Anyone have any ideas?



  1. How about an online sort of book group? Participants could all read the same book, the “leader” could post about it with questions and then everyone could discuss it in the comments section.

  2. We had very similar problems with our book group. We started off great, and even recruited some new member as we went along. But then people stopped trying and started getting complainy.

    We ended up taking the summer off, and we regrouped in October. We also changed the way we select books. Instead of coming to a group consensus, we let the ‘discussion leader’ (the person in charge of keeping the discussion going if it wanes or gets too side-tracked) for each month pick the book we’d read for that month.

    That way each person is guaranteed to read at least one book every 6-8 months that they like (and if they hate it, it’s their fault!), and we get a pretty good variety of books.

    I hope we can keep up the momentum.

  3. I don’t think online would really work for us because a lot of the reason for meeting up is also the social aspect. It’s actually seemed to be a bit too much about the social aspect these days and we’ve had to make more of an effort to focus on the book and not get off on a tangent!

    I think getting some new blood in will help, or at least getting in some enthusiasm will! I think everybody was excited about the idea of the book group at first, before realizing that it meant they had to actually READ A BOOK every month. When people started complaining about how hard it is to read a whole book in a month, I couldn’t help feeling like they picked the wrong group to be a part of. I’ve decided just to let people drift away if they want to without any hard feelings and focus on the people who are committed. I hope the new people will help and without the unreliable ones, my frustration levels will hopefully stay at a lower level. Here’s hoping it’ll work out!

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