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The NYC Sunday Brainy Book Club Message Board › A quick note of explanation...

A quick note of explanation...

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rachel
user 3116632
Boston, MA
Hello Brainy Readers,

After a few comments this month from some of our newer members, I thought I should send a quick note of explanation.

When I started this meetup almost 3 years ago, as you would expect, I did it to meet new and interesting people in a new city and to "force" myself to keep up my reading (probably the same reasons many of you joined us).

Our group has gone from 5-7 people per month to 23 this past Sunday, all in the course of 9 months, and you can imagine that it now takes a CONSIDERABLE amount of planning and work during the month on my part. When we were a smaller group, we sat all at the same table and there often seemed to be too much focus on my leading the discussion and too little interaction by new members and sharing of ideas. The smaller tables seem to allow for much more balanced and interesting discussions as well as more "real" socializing.

As such, for me now, as has been requested, to circulate among the various tables "organizing" during the course of the actual events or to have table leaders update me and send out summaries of the whole group at the end, rather than getting to enjoy a relaxed and equitable discussion at one table the same as all of you, would not for me really fulfill the purposes for which I started the group. I already spend a lot of time prior to and at the start of the meetup trying to make sure people have the best experience possible given the size of our group, and once I get there, as you can understand I would like to have a great time too (which by the way, I have definitely been having, our discussions the past few months have been FANTASTIC!).

I am not looking to be a "professor" and did not major in literature or anything of the sort, so there's no secret to my views as opposed to anyone else's. I ALWAYS try to put at least one or two of my "favorite" talkative or interesting members at the "head" of each table, so the experience should be similar whether I was at the table or not. I do try to rotate among members over the months, and I apologize to those of you that have not been at my table yet but sometimes it takes months for the distribution to work out so I get to meet each member properly. I try to put a balance of views, personalities and experience at each table, but still trying to put people together that may turn out to be kindred spirits, which as you can imagine, can be challenging in months where a lot of our members are first-time attendees.

Anyway, I hope you all understand that the seating in no way indicates a dislike on my part of any members but rather my attempt to make the best balanced smaller groups I can given the random selection of members that show up every month. Sometimes it works out better than others, but please know that I do try.

I implore you all that rather than worrying that other tables may be having a better discussion or that you didn't get to meet all 23 people that show up, I hope you can relish the opportunity to get to know the 4-7 other people at your table a little better than you would have in a larger group. If a large group meetup is what you are looking for, there are plenty out there, I hear that ours is somewhat unique and I understand that may not be for everyone. That being said, the feedback I've gotten since we switched to this format, plus the fact that we DID go from 7 to now 23 people since the change, tells me that the majority of you like this format and are enjoying it as I have been.

Thank you all truly your time and continued participation, and help, and I do look forward to getting to know more of you as time goes on. Our group is what we ALL make it, and for me, at least recently, that has been a very rewarding experience.

Rachel

PS - one minor plea, this month the various dues envelopes were short by a strange amount. While in large months like this the money is not really the issue, it covers the fees charged by meetup.com, know that sometimes I also have had to use dues to cover when tables mysteriously left too little tip and I find out one of my friends has quietly paid the extra, so this minimal fee DOES become important, and it is unfair for those who are contributing or over-contributing when some people can't be bothered to chip in such a small amount. I also used some of the dues two months where we had more than 5 no-shows and the restaurant charged me for a broken reservation. That being said, if do we continue to get over 20 people routinely, I will likely reduce the per meetup charge from $3 to $2, but until then, for the sake of those kind souls who have been chipping in extra for tip, please be respectful and contribute your fair share. If any of you have a specific concern, I would be happy to discuss with you in person at your next meetup, but I respectfully request you do not email me about this.
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