The first Monday of every month is the Pizza and Paperbacks meeting at our North Branch. This month we were discussing The Alchemyst by Michael Scott, a book I hadn't read before selecting it and which I couldn't even slog all the way through. That's one of the beautiful things about such an informal book club, they're encouraged to hate the book if they hate the book. They know if they don't finish it for whatever reason they can still come, and they know maybe the next book will be more their style. A couple of them liked it, but only one said he liked it enough that he would read the next book in the series.
I run this book club VERY casually. I don't come in with questions prepared, I just start by saying "so, what did you all think?" and we go wherever the conversation takes us. Most of them didn't care for this book, and discussing why definitely encourages them to think about things like pacing and writing style. One things we've noticed as a group is that if an author uses too many exclamation points we tend not to like the book. Yesterday one of the ladies mentioned that she didn't like the character name "Sophie", and she feels like it's overused in YA books. So we stopped to investigate why an author might use that name, and looked up what the name means. Looking up "Sophie" and "Joshua", another main character's name, led us to believe that the names HAD been chosen on purpose. You don't need to beat them over the head with the idea of symbolism--that one quick moment taught them another place to look for it.
There was a program scheduled for today--Swing Dancing for Young Adults (ages 18-29), but it's been cancelled. The instructor burned the heck out of his leg somehow. It's good news for me, because if we were having the program I'd be working 8:30AM-8PM today. Instead I get to go babysit the cutest baby in the history of babies.