2014 Book Club Review

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Note: This is totally irrelevant unless you’re in my book club. I just wanted somewhere to type all this out.

2014 Book Club Review | The Wilson Buzz

book hated it meh loved it didn’t read
The Inheritance Trilogy 0 0 0 0 2 10
Stardust 0 0 0 0 6 6
The Ocean at the End of the Lane 0 0 0 1 4 7
Sycamore Row 0 0 0 1 3 8
Good Omens 0 0 0 3 3 6
Jurassic Park 0 0 0 3 1 8
The Timekeeper 1 0 0 4 1 6
Let the Right One In 1 0 0 3 0 8
The Golden Compass 2 0 1 3 1 5
Peony in Love 3 0 1 1 1 6
The Neighbors 1 0 0 0 0 11

Suggestions to improve the book club:

  • I wish we actually got to meet (even hangouts or whatever) to discuss books more regularly. I know with everyone’s schedules it’s super hard though… :/
  • I’m a late entry, so I think it’s Awesome!!!
  • I am a horrible new member of this book club as I have no suggestions. :) I can’t wait to read the book for this month though!
  • Kick negative Nancys out. … :-P
  • No! Sorry I bailed…I miss it and am coming back for the next round, though!
  • Read books I have red
  • More Google hangouts to discuss. In person is better but schedules are pretty crazy.
  • Nope.
  • I would like more discussions over the books – either online or IRL meet-ups. I do enjoy getting to read books I might not usually pick up, but it defeats the purpose of a book club if there’s never any discussion!

All the book suggestions were added to this doc in our Facebook group (you must be a member to view).


August Check In

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Note: This is totally irrelevant unless you’re in my book club. I just wanted somewhere to type all this up nice and pretty.

Q1:

Book Club: August Check-In | The Wilson Buzz

Book Club: August Check-In | The Wilson Buzz

Elaborate on the individual books:

Q2. The Golden Compass

  • blah blah blah… boring…
  • Hated The Golden Compass. Don’t like the writing style, never connected to the characters, not a fan of authors that invent words/terms that are never clearly defined.
  • I didn’t really hate this book, but it was underwhelming. The world the author created was kind of interesting, but I didn’t connect with the characters at all, and the big shocking death at the end was just “meh” to me. I didn’t have a desire to finish the series which NEVER happens.
  • I loved the depth and complexity, and the interweaving of religious ideologies with fantasy and reality. It was visually very rich which as an artist I love. I picture things very clearly and in great detail in my head as I read, so I need a writer who can help me do that…I can’t do abstract concepts very well. On the con side, I didn’t really care what happened to anyone, including the protagonist. I was more concerned about the Bear, really. I was a little curious about the Dust, but not much. Not blown away enough to continue with the series.
  • Too science fiction for me, and didn’t like that it was a book in a series.

Q3. Good Omens

  • Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaiman always an excellent choice. More books with witty dialogue like this work for me.
  • I thought this one was pretty good. It was a bit scattered, but really funny. I enjoyed getting out of my YA rut, too. It was nice to read a book designed for adult brains.
  • Loved it. Sarcastic, witty and good. Magic and a sense of humor, what more could you want?
  • I thought it was somewhat funny, but very scattered and ADD – it was obvious that it was the product of two writers. To me it was a pretty chaotic book. I’ll probably read it again, though, to try to sort it out and absorb some of the concepts.

Q4. The Ocean at the End of the Lane

  • Neil Gaiman again. Weird and strange and a little surreal even. Thoroughly enjoyed.
  • Creepy but awesome.
  • This was a fun, and kind of creepy, read. I definitely got sucked in and would love a sequel, or another book in the same world. There was a lot there that could be expanded upon and I would read all of it.
  • I like Neil Gaiman, but I think he’s over-rated as a writer (I know, sacrilege, huh?). He has neat ideas, and is a great speaker, but I’ve seen far better writing. The book was okay.

Q5. The Time Keeper

  • It was very…inspirational. Don’t waste life – appreciate every second. It had a lot of good quotes. After I finished and looked up the author’s other books, I wasn’t surprised to find out he was one of those Christian motivational authors. It was very well-written and made me have /feelings/. And not just “Oh God, the main character died” feelings (LOOKING AT YOU, NICHOLAS SPARKS).
  • Eh. Couldn’t get past the first two chapters. I have this theory that if I waste time reading something I am not enjoying… then I miss out on something wonderful.
  • Touching and sad and just generally a good story. Short but I was wrapped up with the characters and the plot so easily.
  • Didn’t read!
  • Good writing, important story, well done.
  • I liked all the quotable lines and points of wisdom. Didn’t really get into the characters very well though. It did entice me to read another of his books “The five people you meet in heaven” which was awesome!

Q6. Peony in Love

  • Can’t really say for sure since I don’t know how it ends yet. It took until the middle of the book to really care about it but now I’m hooked.
  • I haven’t finished it yet, but so far I hate everyone and everything about it. I’ve heard it turns around near the end so maybe it will get bumped up above Golden Compass by the time I finish it. I don’t see it rising above any of the others, though. It’s just not my kind of book. The writing style was lovely, though. Very poetic. Just stupid characters and a stupid time period to be alive.
  • THE. WORST. It’s awful that stuff like this actually happened, sorta. Makes me want to punch everyone and tell them to COMMUNICATE.
  • I’m still in the first few chapters, but I’m starting to get into it. At first I hated it, and all I could was that Amy Tan and Pearl S. Buck were much better writers of historical Chinese culture, but yeah…I think I’m getting into Lisa See’s groove, slowly.
  • Nope. Didn’t like it. I don’t expect every book to be happy but the stupidity of this book. I enjoyed the first few chapters pretty well, but no.
  • Good… but… it seemed poetically forced at times.

Q7:

Book Club: August Check-In | The Wilson Buzz“Other” responses:

  • I’m down for just about anything.
  • Romance, motivational/self help like “lean in”, etc.
  • Seriously, I’ll try anything as long as it’s well written. If not, I’ll try to read it and probably bitch a lot.

Q8:

Book Club: August Check-In | The Wilson Buzz“Other” responses:

  • Okay, I don’t like depressing books. “Dramas” as they like to be called. So I’ll raise a stink about that whenever it comes up.

Q9:

Book Club: August Check-In | The Wilson BuzzTheme Suggestions:

  • Horror during October… a not too cheesy love story during Febuary. LGBT during June.
  • My idea, so I abstain.
  • I don’t want to do that EVERY month, but every once and awhile would be fun. October/horror is the most obvious, but it doesn’t even have to connect to a specific time of year. Like one month we could do Sci Fi, one month mystery, one month humor, etc.

Q10: General thoughts about the book club.

  1. I love the idea. It throws many of us out of our comfort zone, I think. Even if it’s a terrible book, it’s still broadening our horizons.
    • I agree! Even the books I’ve hated or been apathetic toward I don’t really regret. It’s like when I finally tried brussel sprouts and could definitively say “No, I do no like that vegetable.”
  2. Since we aren’t really meeting in public anymore and this online based, how about we let in a few more members? It could still be based out of TN, maybe possibly from people we actually know. Then, we could make a group for it on facebook. Everyone would have more of a say so in everything. Also,I have moved away from young adult fiction. I can tolerate a book of it every now and again, but I was really hoping to be apart of an adult reading group
    • The group has always been open to people from every part of the country/world. That’s why I set it up on Facebook to begin with! It was only after we acknowledged that a large number of us were in M’boro that we decided to try to have an in-person meetup. Feel free to invite anyone and everyone you think would want to participate! I know I do!!
    • I’m not sure what you mean by making a Facebook group or people having more of a say in what we do – we do have a Facebook group and I try to make sure that everything is based on majority votes.
    • I just checked the genres of the five books we’ve read so far. The only one I considered YA fiction was The Golden Compass, but apparently The Ocean at the End of the Lane is also considered YA?! I guess I can see that… Anyway, the point is these are all books that were suggested by book club members and voted on by book club members. There isn’t much I can do short of becoming a dictator and banning YA fiction. Which I wouldn’t do, anyway, because I like it! :) If I were to ban a genre, it would probably be the “makes me weep” genre. Boo, hiss!
  3. You’re awesome! I’ve got nothing.
  4. You ARE awesome Sarah. Lol.
  5. You do a good job organizing it :)
  6. It goes without saying that you’re awesome! You do an incredible job of administrating this Book Club, and it’s truly fun!
  7. I like when you set up posts about different chapters or sections of a book that people could comment on. Interesting to hear other peoples thoughts on a section that you have just finished,
    • That does seem to be the best method out of all the ones we’ve tried. I guess I’ll keep doing that until someone comes up with a better option.
  8. Yay! Nerdy comraderie!
    • Hooray!
  9. I wish there was a better way to have a discussion forum, but people aren’t really willing to create accounts for something other than Facebook, so what can you do? I enjoyed the Google Hangout, but even with only four or so people it was hard to stay on topic and keep the conversation flowing. In-person meetups would be better, but it’s hard to fit around everyone’s schedules. I enjoy being in charge of everything, but not when people start yelling at me because I haven’t scheduled a meetup yet. 8P So if someone wants to take over planning the book discussion events (in-person meetups, Google Hangouts, etc.) that would be awesome. Yes, this is Sarah.

 

My thoughts, as the benevolent leader of this book club:

  1. For the individual books, I didn’t really learn anything new. Based on the general discussions we’d had each month I probably could’ve guessed almost exactly the order of the books. I did think it was funny how some opinions of a book were exactly the opposite of others. For example: Good Omens – someone thought “It was a bit scattered, but really funny.” and someone else “thought it was somewhat funny, but very scattered and ADD”; and in Peony in Love – one opinion is that “The writing style was lovely, though. Very poetic.” and another said “it seemed poetically forced at times.”
  2. It looks like we need to up our game on the fantasy, mystery, and sci-fi genres! I would like to point out, though, that out of the five books we were voting on for September, the winner was a John Grisham novel – genres: thriller, suspense, crime, adult fiction. The three losers had a combination of sci-fi, fantasy, humor, romance, space, and adventure. So maybe you don’t know what you want!!
  3. Avoiding genres: autobiographies and the classics. I feel like those two genres probably come across as the most “stuffy” but don’t totally write them off!! A Jane Austen novel came in 3rd last month and I can attest to how thoroughly entertaining some autobiographies can be – just make sure they’re written by someone who is thoroughly entertaining!! I’ve read both Russell Brand autobiographies. I know he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so I’ll also point you toward Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life, the autobiography of Steve Martin; and Let’s Pretend this Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir, the autobiography of Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess).
  4. We all seem to be in agreement that themed months are a splendid idea. We’re doing Horror in October and we’ll just play it by ear from here on out as to when we’ll do a theme and what theme we’ll do. Exciting!
  5. I replied directly to the “general thoughts” comments, to cut down on confusion. But thank you for the totally unprompted compliments!! You guys are making me blush! ;)

 

To summarize, there are good and bad things with this club (as with anything). Unfortunately if more than one person is involved eventually everyone will be disappointed. I don’t know about you, but I can disappoint myself without the help of anyone else!! So some months all the choices are going to be amazing, and some months all the choices are going to suck. You may think the book chosen is absolute trash, someone else will discover a new treasure, another person will be stuck re-reading a book they just finished, and someone else will be left feeling…meh. There’s nothing we can do to help that.

I’m going to keep trying to improve the group, and will always do my best to make sure majority rules on all decisions. If you feel like you’re never in the majority – I’m sorry!! If it makes you feel any better, no one ever chooses any of my books. *pout* We just have to make the most of it! Feel free to start your own book club as well, if your needs aren’t being met with this one. There’s a reason we have a different church on every corner here in the Bible Belt! ;) I kid, I kid.

The most important thing you can do to make your voice heard is to fill out the surveys I make! You can always comment directly in the group, or message me privately, if there is something specific you want to discuss. If you don’t like any books we’ve been voting on, make sure you list a few books you do want to read on our “To Read” list. Feel free to skip a month if you want to. Umm…blah blah blah, blah blah blah, blah blah. Did you actually read all the way to here? Have a cookie – you deserve it.