I belong to a romance reader group that’s been in existence for over a dozen years; I joined maybe eight (?) years ago. It’s a small group, we generally get four to six people at a meeting. (We would love new members. Do you live in the Akron, Ohio, area?) We meet monthly at a small restaurant in a private room so we can shut the door–other patrons might not appreciate our sometimes loud talk of romance and sex. 😉
I love the discussions. We’re all very experienced romance readers and good at analyzing books. Members frequently attend reader conventions (and bring back swag for us all). I’ve gotten great recommendations from the group, for both books and new-to-me authors. We pick one or two books a month for everyone to read, but frankly we don’t all read them if they are not to our personal taste. We also go around the table and talk about all the other books we’d read that month, the good and bad. Authors could learn a lot if they heard our critiques! (After they got over the shock and horror that we spotted every plot flaw and weakness, all the inconsistencies, all the errors.) We’ve had authors visit or phone in to chat a few times.
Most of the group read ebooks, several are really into audiobooks. Very varied tastes–the person (me) who loves ménage stories, the person who won’t touch them; those who love historicals and those who hate them; and so on. When we discuss the monthly reads, we get a wide diversity of opinion too; some will think the book was great, others disliked it or were bored. But it’s amazing how much we tend to agree on a story’s strengths and weaknesses.
Of course, a large part of our monthly meeting is social. We catch up on each other’s lives, offer support (illnesses, cancer, death in family), talk about movies and TV shows. But then we always get down to our shared core interest, romance novels.
If you are in a book discussion group of any kind, consider participating in this survey:
< ReadingGroupGuides.com has launched a large-scale Book Group Survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/L7C7LL3) with the goal of “exploring how book groups discover and select books, as well as how they influence others.” Readers who complete the survey, which will be open until July 15, are eligible to win gift certificates to the bookstore of their choice, including a grand prize of one $250 gift certificate, as well as 10 $100 gift certificates and 50 $25 gift certificates. >
It’s a long survey, asks not only about the discussion group (how many members, how often you meet, where, how does the group select books) but your personal reading (favorite authors, favorite books, where you buy).