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Cornflower book group

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Susie Vereker

Yes, there are a few book groups around here but I haven't joined because I don't want to cook ladies' lunches and they often seem to choose books I don't want to read myself. (I sometimes advise on the side, though.)
I like Cornflower Book Group because it's not time consuming and you select interesting writers. Also you're not offended if we don't attend!


I've been part of a book group (two different groups, actually) for nearly six years. The first group I was in folded when people seemed to lose enthusiasm and most people stopped reading the books consistently. My new group, going on for nearly a year, so far has a pretty good record of reading the books, but it still seems that the socializing is a bigger part of our evenings than the book discussions.

I do like being part of a book club because I enjoy hearing the diverse perspectives on a book, and I often get to read really good books that I never would have read otherwise (some stinkers as well, but that's what happens). I also do enjoy the social aspects; I've gotten to know the women in my group pretty well and consider them friends. I would prefer a little more book discussion during our meetings and a little less social talk, but I think that's a pretty common book club problem (or not, depending on what you want).

I haven't participated in any online book clubs, but if any are ever doing a book I'm planning to read, I'd consider joinign in. It seems like it would be fun---and maybe more book-focused.


I enjoy the chance to gain insights and observations that I might have missed, maybe to see why others like a book I've disliked, and vice versa, while the online nature of this group makes allowances for the times I'm away from home, or too busy to join in. And we have read some interesting books!

Margaret Powling

Years ago when I was a member of the National Women's (formerly Housewives) Register, many of the groups (for each group, whilst belonging to the organization, is autonomous) also had book groups and I belonged to our group's book group (if that makes sense!) This was long before book groups had become so popular. I also read and enjoyed this book when it was first published a few years ago.

Dark Puss

My only experience of a book group is this one. My primary reason for joining is to be challenged to read books that probably I would never pick up myself. It is always interesting to read your opinion and those of other contributers (although as you know I'm usually much more negative, at least for the majority of the books read so far). I think the discipline of reading a "set book" monthly is quite useful. I'd love to be able to say that I also read the book more closely, but you will all have been able to see from my rather mundane comments that I don't think I can claim to do that! Perhaps one day you may be reading one of my suggestions too.

Barbara MacLeod

I agree with the point made at the end of the newspaper article 'Fought Over Any Good Books Lately?' link (in your post above):

Groups made up of total strangers seem to last longer, she said, “because the focus is truly on the book.”

Simon T

I love Jenny Hartley's book and I love book groups!
I'm currently in two in Oxford - one large (up to nearly 30) and very fluid membership, the other small (usually 4 or 5) and the same people every time. To be honest, I read the books mainly so I can attend the event; I rarely love them and most are fairly mediocre. But I love discussing books in a not-too-intellectual way, meeting bookish people, having fun. It's the highly structured book groups Hartley mentions which make me nervous... Now I'm going to go and read the article you linked to, and see if I change my mind about all book groups...


I am a history major, I would like to put my 2 cents in. After the Scientific Revolution( Society started questioning everything around them) Book clubs if that is what you want to call them started with salons. Before the scientific revolution(Galileo for example). This is Where intellectuals were guests to speak with invited guests would and talk in hosts home. Talk about philosophies or books. Before and during the french Revolution. Women were told to take care of their homes. This was the only place women at that time could talk about politics, and events. She would have the salons on the request of her husband. Just a little insight I would add to your post.

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