Book club, Book Reviews, Random Ramblings, Writing

If you want to be a better writer, join a book club.

There are several different book clubs that meet up at my local library. About a year and a half ago I joined one with the hope of meeting other readers in my neighborhood, people with similar interests as my own. It’s hard to make new friends when you’re in your “middle years.” Who am I kidding? It’s hard to make new friends at ANY age—at least that’s been my experience.

Anyway, I didn’t realize how many different ways a group of people could interpret the SAME book until I joined a book club. Twenty people can read the SAME book and have twenty different reactions! Some people read for pure entertainment value. Others, like me, parse through a book looking for every nuance, meaning, and turn of a phrase.

I enjoy writing my own fictions along with the occasional blog post. I KNOW I over-think the books I read. It’s difficult to just enjoy them for what they are. I want to know WHY I enjoyed the book. What makes THIS book special? What did this author do differently? And I read. A lot. I average around two books a week: one audiobook and one paper/digital copy. That’s a LOT of over-thinking! LOL

Every story can teach you SOMETHING. Even a poorly written novel can teach a writer what NOT to do, what NOT to repeat. But the BEST books, my favorite stories, are the ones with all the “feels.” There are writers who can transform you, who can drag you into their fictional worlds and make you believe that their characters are real. The best books, in my opinion, are the ones that can make me laugh or cry…and never leave me feeling as though I’ve been manipulated. I don’t know exactly HOW they do this, but I believe as a writer, the best way to learn from these rare individuals is to immerse myself in the writing of those who do it well.

You won’t find these rare well-written gems unless you read often. Read EVERYTHING. Different writers. Different genres. I’ve certainly read some duds, but I’ve also picked up some AMAZING books, things I wouldn’t have tried reading, thanks to my local book club.

A special shout out to last night’s book club selection: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry written by Rachel Joyce. (You can click the links to check it out.)

The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry

I can’t remember the last time EVERY reader in the room enjoyed the SAME book. This is a rare moment for us! I had never heard of Rachel Joyce before this, but I will absolutely read more of her novels. It was a treat to read this book. Perfect for someone who needs to read a feel-good novel or a wants an inspiring summer read. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel: The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy.

The love song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

One of the readers in our book club already read that one too, based on how much she liked the first book. She says the second one does NOT disappoint and this is coming from a reader who doesn’t like sequels.

Thank you, Rachel Joyce, for your fine writing!

xo Juli


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