Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Why I Love Visiting Book Clubs

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I’ve visited a lot of book clubs. They’re all really different from one another. They meet in bookstores, libraries, living rooms, restaurants, university campuses and around lavish dinner tables with overflowing wine. Yesterday’s meeting was in the basement of a women’s shelter. I visit them in person or over Skype.

Group membership varies too: close friends, neighbours, co-workers, lesbian support group members, South Asian literary folk, or strangers who only see one another at their monthly get-togethers. They are almost always groups of women.

Book clubs leave me feeling grateful. Heart-full-of-love-happy. These are readers who engage with books deeply, who ask themselves and authors complicated questions about inspiration, plot, character development, setting. They ask questions I might never have considered had they not asked. They teach me about literature and reading.

Heck, they love books so much that they form clubs just so they can read them together.

Of course, these clubs also serve an important social function and the balance between book discussion and personal chat differs for every group. Perhaps what's most important is that these meetings allow people to come together, face-to-face, and talk. The book is just the conversation starter.

Book club members also share their lives with authors, reflecting on the ways in which the work impacted them personally. Yesterday, at the Redwood Shelter, a staff member said, “I didn’t know I was Canadian until I read your book. I always identified more with ‘back home’, but recognizing all the familiar streets of this city in your book made me realize I belong here too.”

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Related item from our archives

Farzana Doctor

Farzana Doctor is a Toronto-based author and the recipient of the Writers' Trust of Canada's Dayne Ogilvie Grant for an emerging gay Canadian author (2011). Her first novel, Stealing Nasreen, received critical acclaim and earned a devoted readership upon its release in 2007. She is currently touring her second book, Six Metres of Pavement (Dundurn 2011).

Go to Farzana Doctor’s Author Page