I've been a member of a few "in real life" book groups over the years. One group I absolutely loved, one I was significantly less enamored with, and a few just never really . . . jelled. C'est la vie! What rang true for all these groups, though, was that our book discussions tended to be more meaningful, thoughtful, and engaging when we had diverging thoughts and feelings about whatever book we happened to be reading.
I mean . . . when everyone in the group really loved a book (or really hated a book) it didn't take long for our discussions to turn into a happy-happy fan club meeting (or a series of rants about who we hated most) before we quickly switched gears to wine-and-gossip. It was nice to get together, sure, but there wasn't much depth when it came to talking books when we all felt the same way about those books. There just wasn't much THERE there to talk about . . . y'know?
So in my experience, book group discussions tend to be better when readers don't all feel the same way about a given book. Or when the book is kinda challenging. Maybe even a bit weird. It's more interesting to talk about books when we're still trying to figure out what we actually think about that book! For me, that's the best thing about book groups . . . talking out loud about a book with some friends (and probably a glass of wine).
Which brings me to our most recent Read With Us selection . . .
Matrix by Lauren Groff.
I have a feeling that this will be One Of Those Books . . . where our group will come together with divergent feelings, different opinions, complicated thoughts, and MUCH to say. Some people are gonna love it, some people are not gonna love it. It's definitely a bit weird. And kinda challenging, maybe.
Whatever you feel, it's definitely going to be discussable.
So . . . I hope you'll pick up a copy and Read With Us!
- For a good summary of what the book is about, here's Matrix's entry from Goodreads.
- For an interesting review, here's a good one from The Guardian.
- If you'd like to listen to author Lauren Groff discuss the book and her process, you can catch her interview with Mitchell Kaplan, host of The Literary Life podcast.
The book is currently available on Amazon in hardback ($17.59), Kindle ($14.99) or Audible versions (1 credit). I imagine your local bookstore (should you be fortunate enough to have one) would offer the book at similar prices. The book is currently available at my library with a short wait. (I listened to the audiobook version this go 'round and enjoyed listening.)
Our Read With Us book discussion day is Tuesday, January 11. Bonny, Carole, and I will each post a discussion question (or two) on our blogs that day, and then - later in the evening (7:00 pm Eastern time zone) - we'll be hosting a live book discussion/meet-up on Zoom.
Read With Us!
And then . . . let's talk about it.