Discussion points for members 1 Comment

Discussion points for members

Last night I did something I’ve never done before. It wasn’t scary – more like buying a new kind of cereal. It was, strictly speaking, a first, but it felt awfully familiar. I went to book club.

Seven strangers gathered to discuss Ian McEwan’s new book Solar. It’s had mixed reviews, some glowing others not so much, and it’s been widely promoted as the landmark novel on climate change. Surely these are ripe pickings for discussion?

I had fun but popping my book club cherry made me wonder if other writers out there do book club or have any urge to. This somewhat snooty article from the New York Times seems to imply that book clubs are well and good to keep the Oprah-watching masses happy but any truly self-respecting and literate reader knows that reading is a private pursuit. There even seems to be an implication that discussing books is somehow tainted by a crass commercialisation: more a marketing tool than a meaningful exchange.

A certain superficiality, certainly, could typify such a contrived exercise as book club, but the purpose is not to carefully explore and review the text. It’s a social activity, more about learning how other minds struggle with the same issues and experiences. Like a type of voyeurism, the little glimpse I got into the reading act of other people was quite satisfying.

Our verdict on Solar? Too close to call.

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