Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sharing Your Reading Enjoyment

by Jackie King

Reading is a solitary pursuit. Nevertheless, after reading a story, book or poem that touches the heart or excites the senses, we yearn to share our pleasure or shock or wonder with someone who is likeminded.

You search your memory for a friend or acquaintance that is on the same wavelength and will be interested. You want someone who will respond with the same visceral reaction that you experienced so that you can expand your own pleasure with a discussion. Suddenly you realize that what you really need is a reading group.

If you get into the wrong group, meetings will bring little pleasure and much frustration. If you’re a lover of Mystery, a commitment to read a Romance twice a month won’t be your cup of tea. Not even if you enjoy relaxing with an occasional love story. The ongoing, in depth search into the tender motives of a hero or heroine in a sweet romance, will soon grow tedious, and you’ll decide how much fun it would be to see the hapless hero bumped off.

Don’t make the mistake of joining the wrong type of book club. I’ve only belonged to one reading club, and for me it was disappointing. The problem was that I enjoyed novels, especially mysteries, and the other members wanted to improve their minds. There was nothing wrong with either goal; it’s just that I was a round peg in a square hole.

Instead of realizing this right away and begging off, I soldiered on, dutifully reading each self-help book that another member had chosen. Please don’t misunderstand, I needed a lot of improvement, but selfishly I wanted to lose myself in an exciting book. Preferably with dead bodies.

About that time I had finished my novella titled The Spinster, the Pig and the Orphan for an anthology named STATEHOOD FOXY HENS AND MURDER MOST FOWL. The story was set in 1889 Guthrie, Oklahoma Territory, and involved a secret passageway, ladies of the night, and murder.

One of our local librarians reviewed the book for the Tulsa World and she told me of a mystery book club that met regularly in her library. If I’d been a cartoon character, a balloon would have appeared over my head with a light bulb brightly shining. Of course! If a person wanted to start a Book Club of any kind, your local library would be the place to start.

Librarians are wonderful! Each one of them is a bibliophile and love to encourage people to read. So, if you’re a mystery buff (or any type of reader), check to see if such a club already exists. If not, ask to post a sign announcing the start of such a group. And what better place would there be to meet than the library?

Your sign should give the date and time to meet, how often the club will gather, and then be sure and show up yourself. You’ll need to be the organizer, at least for a while. You might even post a small sign in the mystery section with the same information. And remember, when you’re perusing the shelves for a new read, strike up a conversation with whoever is also lurking there.

Mystery readers are a large and diverse group, and all those that I’ve met are very interesting folks. So starting a special group to discuss whodunnits is bound to be great fun.


June Shaw said...

Jackie, what great ideas! I'm going to start talking to more of the people I see in bookstores.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I agree, but I currently live on a mountaintop ranch with more cows in residence than people. Maybe I can start a reading group online. :)