What we're about
Welcome to reading aloud together over zoom. Full length novels and essays on Tuesdays. Plays on Wednesdays. Thursday through Monday: suggestions welcome.
This is a lot of fun. We read the entire book or the entire play together, from first page to last. Co-organizer Mark L. and I have found this to be a terrific way to get to know a writer, and to share with other readers. Currently we're reading Virginia Woolf on Tuesdays, and Chekhov, Ibsen, and the like on Wednesdays.
Format: At each session, a volunteer will recap the previous week's readings, and introduce the upcoming material. We will then take turns reading a few paragraphs at time, stopping for discussion as we go. Link to free copy of the text usually provided.
This method has many advantages. My favorites: A shared, thorough understanding of the book. We may take weeks and months to explore a novel (and the writer’s world). Also, you don’t “have to” prepare in advance. No anxiety-inducing deadline reading! Plus the obvious benefits of Zoom: not only can you attend in the comfort of your jammies, but you get to meet people from all over the world. By the way, vocal participation not required; some prefer to come and just listen.
Also with Zoom, we are doing cold reads of a variety of plays, from all eras, using scripts available on-line. This can be challenging, since the script can feel like just the blueprint for the finished work, and few of us have done theater, but we learn a lot and have fun doing it. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/theater/plays-to-read-out-loud.html
Most of us will be non-professional speakers, learners and enthusiasts. Non-native speakers of English are especially welcome. People of all ages, gender orientations, ethnicities: please come. The only “rule”: be mindful of each others’ experience in the session.
Eventually, pandemic conditions permitting, we can also return to in-person meetups with a traditional book club format.
Me: Literary fiction, history, biography, general non-fiction, natural history, poetry, and more. Louise Erdrich, Salman Rushdie, David Mitchell, Yann Martel, Toni Morrison, Lauren Groff, and many more. Most of these discovered via Meetup book clubs.
By Hazel, our Founder:
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” ~Dr. Seuss
I've tried joining a few book clubs that were genre specific (chick lit), gender specific (chicks only), and author specific (Stephen King) but as none seemed to satisfy my palate, I thought I'd try to see if there were others like me, i.e. those who can equally enjoy the likes of Jane Austen, Stephen King, Shakespeare,Neil Gaiman, Dean Koontz as well as nonfiction books (The Book of Vice, Don't Get Too Comfortable). Chosen as "One of the 5 Best Book Clubs to Join in New York" by CBS Local* ! (in 2012)
Story About The Name of this Book Club:
I am a huge Jane Austen fan and attended a Jane Austen Discussion at the Morgan Library featuring modern day authors whose works were a tribute to Jane Austen literature. One of the authors, Ben Winters, had written "Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monster"' published by Quirk Classics. I admit that I had read "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" by the same publisher and had no desire to read another work from their publishing house.
During the Q&A session, Ben Winters confessed to an audience mostly comprised of the Jane Austen Society of North America that he had actually disliked Jane Austen in school and wrote his book to appeal to a larger audience. What caught my attention was an audience member who had read the book asked him to confirm the HP Lovecraft references in the book. (HP Lovecraft?!). He affirmed this, adding that other influences for the book included Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson.
This intrigued me and yes I did go "Hmmmm.." buying the book that same day and devouring it over the weekend.
That experience taught me to keep an open mind and inspired me to create this book club.
As Ben wrote when he autographed my copy "Come on in, the water's fine.."