Book Club


I've recently decided that I really want to join a book club. The problem is, how do I go about that? There are several local book clubs I could pick from--the ones at the library, several at bookstores, including a woman's book club at the local feminist bookstore and another one at the local indie bookstore, and various annoucements for book clubs soliciting members on Craigslist. No shortage of places to try out.

So what's the problem?

Well, me.

The idea of making an effort go interact with a group of strangers, even if it does revolve around a common interest like books, terrifies me. What if they don't like me? What if I don't like them? What if they only have stupid ideas about the books? What if I do? What if they only like stupid books? And assuming I can get my gumption up enough to try one of the clubs, which one should I try?

This is all an excellent example of why I don't have very many friends. I don't seek people out, even for specific purposes like talking about books. Instead I obsess about what might happen if I did, letting it all flow through my tiny brain and make me crazy. I know, intellectually, that it would not hurt me to try out a book club meetings, and that if I hated it, I wouldn't be obliged to go back. And yet emotionally it's paralyzing. And it should be such a small thing.

I don't think I started out this insecure. I vaguely remember being put in new situations as a kid (summer camp and that kind of thing) and being able to make new acquaintances fairly easily. I was never the most popular girl in the room, but I did OK all the way through college. So what is it about adulthood that makes the stakes seem so much higher? I have much more control over who I spend time with now than I did when there was forced social interaction (school events, etc.). If anything, I should be more willing to try new things out, knowing I can abandon them if they don't suit me. Yet instead I go home and sit on my couch with my introvert partner and our dogs (a species I have a very easy time making friends with) and feel bad about myself.

And as the introvert partner won't read fiction and the dogs can't read, I have nobody to talk about books with.


You don't sound insecure to me--you sound introverted. And possibly depressed.

first, i always try to find a book club whenever i have moved and it's always unsuccessful since no book clubs seem to have informative web sites, nor do any of them read non-fiction. grrr.

i feel the same way and wonder if reed made me more anti-social, or at least more awkward.

i think part of it though is that an adult, there are only so many hours in a day, and if you have an hour to talk with strangers versus and hour to sit at home alone, i would almost always take that hour alone, objectively. but then i realize that if i take all those hours alone, i end up generally with no friends. so as much as i like those singular hours alone, they add up to many hours of unhappiness later. so i put in the awkward times at the beginning in order to reap reward just like i would in any other endeavor.

I'm commenting a little late, mostly to say:

1. I have the exact same social issues.

2. Pick your book club with at least some degree of care--I joined my aunt's because she asked and I didn't wish to hurt her feelings, and it's kind of awful.

3. If you're at all like me wrt the anxiety with new people thing, you might be better off trying something at a bookstore or library, that probably has some fluctuation in membership, a variety of people, easy acceptance of new members, as opposed to an already-established group. The one I joined is like a tiny social club of people who know each other, that I don't know, and with whom I have nearly nothing in common. I would think a feminist bookstore one might be cool and welcoming.

I am about to join one. I'm pretty nervous, but I would like to make some more friends here in Korea. I will probably also get horribly lost on my way there, as there are no street addresses and so the directions are random. But I am looking forward to it.

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April 2012

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