It seems surprising, given what an avid reader I am. Don't I seem like the sort of person who would join a book club? Yet it's never happened.
But at the bookstore, someone needs to start up a book club and lead it. As I look around at my coworkers, I don't see any evidence that any of them will do it. So that someone will have to be me.
But I don't know how.
So tonight I went up to Books Inc. in Mountain View to attend a meeting of the Broken Compass Adventure Book Club. I like reading books about exotic locations, or about lonely world-wanderers trying to find themselves in the wild, and a themed book club seemed so much more interesting than a book club where the monthly title is determined by the whims of the leader. The book was Bold Spirit, a non-fiction account of a Victorian woman who walked across the United States with her daughter in 1896 in an attempt to win a $10,000 wager and save her family farm from foreclosure.
The Adventure Club is small, it seems. Besides myself and Seanie, there was Lisa, who started the club in 2012, and two other women. All of us were first-timers (with the obvious exception of Lisa) to book clubs. We introduced ourselves and started discussing the book and its themes. This was challenging for me and Sean: I'd only read the first four or five chapters, while he hadn't even known the book's title until we got to the store.
From a business standpoint, the book club has some issues. No one had purchased their book at the store - I bought mine at work, one woman had gotten her copy from the library, and the last one had it on her Kindle. My bosses would not let me host a book club with those results. But Books Inc is in a different position. Unlike my store, which would have extend the hours of the store to allow for an evening book group, Books Inc is open anyway. It costs them nothing to let Lisa set up a table and host a group of fellow adventure enthusiasts. Obviously, selling a ton of the books would be preferred, but the good will and publicity they get by allowing the book club makes up for the lack of sales.
The actual book club was pretty fun, too. We discussed the book for about an hour, comparing the logistics of Helga Estby's long walk to attempting to do something similar today, Estby's treatment by her family after she returned, and the tragedy of how much of her story was lost when her family sought to cover it up after her death. I ended up getting a lot of the book "spoiled" for me, since I hadn't gotten very far into it, but I didn't mind. It's all history anyway, not like I'll enjoy it more or less if I know what happened before I get to that chapter.
I plan to go back next month, and this time I'll try to have the entire book read. Seanie was less enthusiastic, but he said he might go back on the interesting months if a particular book catches his eye.
I will have to investigate more book clubs before I try to start one at work. I should look around and see if there are other good ones in the area.