Book clubs & “comfort zones”

ONE GOOD THING…

It’s time for the weekly  post of a new feature I’ve chosen to title “One Good Thing.” Each weekend, I’ll post something about what has been good to—or for—me during the week. 

I love to read fiction, particularly mysteries full of suspense and intrigue. Of course, I have my favorite popular authors of that genre. Lee Child, John Sandford, and Stephen King come to mind immediately.

Yes, most of their books are formulaic and predictable, but there always seems to be something more within the context of the stories. For example, Stephen King usually has some surprises wrapped in and around his tales of horror, and I find those tales fun and enjoyable to read. Escapism at its best!

Regardless of the book’s premise or overall concept, I know what I’m going to get when, without hesitation, I place an order with Barnes & Noble for the newest release by Child, Sandford, or King.

I also enjoy non-fiction, and I have favorite authors within that genre, too. Homer Hickam and Bill Bryson come to mind quickly. Again, I never hesitate when it comes to buying something new from each of these two wonderful writers. Perhaps it’s because, like Child, Sandford, and King, they’ve a proven track record.

“Comfort Zone”

Whatever it is, it’s a very pleasant and cozy “comfort zone” in which I find myself happily ensconced. But what happens when I am “forced” out of that comfort zone?

Why should that ever happen, you ask? Book Clubs.

I belong to two of them. One is a small group of men from our church who get together the first Saturday morning of each month from October through May. Most of the books are non-fiction, although we’ve hit upon some good fiction from time to time. (The Art of Racing in the Rain,  An Officer and a Spy, All the Light We Cannot See)IMG_1350.jpg

We meet for an hour, and it’s something to which I look forward to. We drink hot coffee, nibble on muffins or other treats one of us brings in, and chat about various things that tie-in with the book we’re all supposed to have read. The fellowship is rewarding, and it’s good to talk about various books and how they relate to our own lives.

The other book club is made up of friends from our former city. Unlike the men’s group, this one consists of fifteen to twenty folks, all with distinct interests and passions. We don’t meet as often as my men’s group—usually every couple of months—but our discussions are lively and, at times, fiery.

Using a “blind” draw or a pick-a-number, we choose our titles from an ongoing list of books suggested by the group. This has always seemed fair, although some of the book choices have been less than fun to read.

On the other hand, there have been books that I would probably never have chosen without it being the one “next up” for discussion at the next gathering, and those have turned out to be fascinating, good, and enlightening. All because I was forced out of that reading “comfort zone.”

My favorite titles these groups have discussed include the following:

  • The Warmth of Other Suns
  • Enrique’s Journey
  •  One Summer America: 1927
  • The Greater Journey
  • The Big Burn
  •  Deep Down Dark
  •  The Wright Brothers
  •  An Officer and a Spy

Of course, there are others, and I won’t dwell on those titles which I didn’t care for. After all, this feature is for finding the good and positive!

Suffice it to say, being in a book club (or two!) is a wonderful thing. Believe it or not, it’s good to get out of that reading “comfort zone” every now and then and explore new genres. Sometimes it’s all worth the trip!

And that’s one good thing…
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7 thoughts on “Book clubs & “comfort zones”

    1. You are welcome, change it up editing. Funny thing about those “duds” is that after we’ve had our discussions, they don’t always seem so bad! Then, on the other hand, there are those that I simply hope to never see again and are banished from my bookcase! Thanks for checking in. 🙂

  1. I’m in a book club too, and I enjoy it for the same reasons as you. It gets me reading things I wouldn’t normally, but yes, some of them are tough to get through. Like “Tinkers.” That one won an award but just wasn’t my cup of tea.

    1. Carrie, I’m not familiar with “Tinkers,” but I can relate to what you’re talking about. Our groups have read some highly respected selections, winner of various awards, but I have found it very difficult to finish some of them. (e.g.-“How the Scotts Invented the Modern World”) Our recent discussion of David McRaney’s “You Are Now Less Dumb” was one of those books I read and couldn’t wait to be done with so I could get to reading the other books awaiting me. However, thanks to a wonderful group discussion, I ended up appreciating the book very much after our hour was up. 🙂

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