An interview with Christy, founder of The Remedial Book Club.
Q: How did the Remedial Book Club get started?
A: I was telling some of my tennis friends about how my mom was mentioned in the book Big Stone Gap (which is being turned into a movie right now!) and a lot of us read so we decided to form a book club and that this would be our first book.
Q: Why is it remedial?
A: Unlike most groups that aim to meet once a month, we are lucky to read a book once every two months. And completing--or even reading--the book is not a requirement for participation. And attendance is often a fairly low.
Also, we spend a lot more time gossiping about tennis people than we do talking about the book, although we were approaching a ratio of 50:50 until our meeting tonight. In all fairness, though, the host's daughter got sick and she had to leave, so this meeting is an outlier. Plus we also spend a lot of time catching up with each other's lives, which is really the most important thing.
Our discussions also tend to be more superficial. We talk a lot more about tangentially related movies and who would play the characters in the movie version of the book (great actors selected for Big Stone Gap!). However, we have several members who read a lot, so there's always discussion about interesting books that may or may not be related to the topic of book club.
Finally, the choice of venue is just as important as the book selected. Our favorite venue was Teri's house because she cooked most of the food and there was space to do Karaoke or Just Dance or Wii. We used to try to pick restaurants that fit the theme of the book, but our restaurant choices are pretty limited. Plus when you read something like "Water for Elephants," it's hard to pick a place with circus food.
Q: How do you choose your members?
A: We usually extend an invitation to anyone who expresses interest in joining. Some members have dropped out because of lack of participation. Only two members from the original book club remain--Norma and myself.
Q: How do you choose the books?
A: Every meeting we choose a host for the next book--usually a new member to solidify their commitment to the group. She chooses the book, organizes the meeting time, and chooses the venue. She is loosely responsible for leading the discussion of the book, usually by saying something like, hey we should probably talk some about the book now.
Q: Why did you create a blog for the book club?
A: Honestly, it's because I wanted to write a book about our club, and I thought it would be easier to develop material for it this way. Plus it's a way for people who missed the meeting to participate in the discussion. This is our first time trying it. If I'm the only one who posts anything that's fine. I like to do most of the talking anyway.
I will say that Marie really likes the idea and we have already begun discussions about who will play us when the book gets turned into a movie.