Berkeley Parents Network >
Groups, Clubs, & Teams >
My 23 year old babysitter mentioned that she was looking for a book club to
join. Does anyone know of any in the Oakland area that young 20s can join? Or
how she might go about looking for one? She recently graduated college and
would like to expand her social circle and thought this would be a fun way to
Try A Great Good Place for Books in Montclair. They have some very cool
and very knowledgeable young women working there who may be able to
direct you to an existing group or help you start your own. I think they
also offer discount on books that groups order through their store.
You mentioned she's a recent college graduate. My book club was
organized by my college's local alumni club. Maybe she could contact
her college's alumni group and see if they have something similar, or an
email list she could use to announce the formation of a club? Our club
is a really fun group because we all have the experience of going to the
same college in common, but members are a range of ages and interests
and bring a lot of different perspectives to the books we read and
Does anybody know of an existing book club that I could join? I
checked the Albany Library, and they don't have a book club. I'm
looking for a 1x/month book club, that meets in the evening.
There's one at the YMCA, but it's during the day, and filled with
retirees. Any direction would be great. Thanks.
Love 2 read
Check out the Yahoo group ''Bay Moms' Book Club''. It's a group of
us who meet every 1.5 months or so that you might be interested in!
OK. I've had it up to here. I belong to a book club, which I
joined because I do like to read. But the problem is - no one
ever reads the book. The plans for us all to get together are so
elaborate - dozens of emails are sent back and forth about plans
on food to bring (themed to what the book is about, though I
have no idea how they know what to eat since they don't read the
books), etc, etc. Still - no one seems to have read the book.
One time, literally 60 seconds were spent on the book, and the
rest was all about drinking wine and cackling about how
great ''Book Club'' is.
Have other people experienced this? At this point, it's just a
glorified wine club, but I can't really get out of it because a
girl I went to high school with invited me to join after I
hadn't seen her in YEARS. And don't get me wrong - I like wine.
But this seems so stupid. Is everyone's book club like this? Am
I just a stick-in-the-mud that should be happy with my wine and
book with dog-eared pages that goes unused?
I've belonged to three different book clubs in the Bay Area so I have
some experience with this phenomena. The first one was very much like
the book club you describe, except we were expected to cook a gourmet
meal for the club members *and* discuss the book (this was mostly a
''couples'' book club with a few singles as well). A few times, no one
read the book (''Light in August'' by Faulkner comes to mind...). After
having spent an entire Sunday cooking when it was my turn, I just could
not keep up with the time commitment and we left after about six months
or so... The second club was a mixed bag, sometimes almost everyone read
the book, sometimes not. It was very frustrating coming to a meeting to
discuss the book, especially a couple of times when it was a book I
really loved, and then having no one to discuss the book with. I feel
your pain on this one. I decided to leave that group mostly because I
just didn't really click with the other club members. The third, and
final, book club I joined was with a small group of women with nothing
in common. It fell apart quickly.
My hunch is that if you can find a small group of people with somewhat
similar/ complementary interests, and if you can come up with guidelines
that everyone can agree to, this can work. I am sure there must be
people in the Bay Area that have book clubs like that, maybe you will be
lucky and find one of those groups to join.
My advice on your current situation: find an excuse and get out. If you
don't, you're going to end up really resenting that long lost friend.
It's just not worth it to do stuff that you don't enjoy Love to read...
but not a book club person
Your question about the book club made me smile. I belong to a so called
Book Club too in which the stated rules are that we don't discuss the
books! We just trade them and have a beer. It's just a good excuse to
leave the kids with daddy and get out of the house. If you are really
craving intellectual discussions you should find a different book club.
In the meantime since you can't ''get out of'' this one, chill out and
enjoy the wine and company.
I am *so* with you on this one! I've been in several book clubs and
have sworn them off for good. Too gossipy and no real substance to the
discussion. The ''highlight'' was when we got to vote to see who liked
and didn't like the book. Oh please, how lame is that?! I miss
graduate school intellectual debate about characters, plots, plot
devices, social implications, etc... Now I read what I want to read,
when I want to read it and I'm SO much happier! As for getting out of
your bookclub...perhaps you can politely tell your friend that you'd
like to still get together with her for lunch/dinner/coffee...but that
you need to take a break from bookclub Book lover!
I think your book group is fairly typical. My book group became an
excuse for a bunch of women to get together and catch up each month. The
social aspect of it seemed more important to people than the book
reading. To try and keep people reading and talking about the books we
often used the book group guide at the back of the book or on the
publishers website. This helped structure the conversation a bit more so
people didn't get off topic. We also assigned one peson to be
responsible for the book discussion each meeting. They would bring the
conversation back to the book and/or the discussion guide. But in the
end it really depends on the type of social gathering people are
interested in. Good Luck!
-- Book Reader
If you are serious about really discussing the books you read at Book
Club, then find yourself another book club; you joined this one because
you hadn't seen your friend in a long time, but it seems like the desire
to read books is more important than socializing. I think probably most
book clubs are as you describe, and it's a nice way for many women (esp.
mothers who can get away for a couple of hours) to get together. If you
yourself have read the book, then isn't that enough - the fact that you
were motivated to read it, and then to be able to hang out with friends?
If you don't consider these people your friends, then you should look
for another book club bookclubber who enjoys wine and dinner with
People join book clubs for many reasons, and over time the reasons
change. Over years, book clubs I've been in have evolved into: 1) more
serious study of books, 2) increasingly relating the books to one's own
personal life - deeper trust but less focus on the ideas in the books 3)
4) singles club, 5)professional networking. I was in a group that was
perfect for me for a couple of years, but over time I changed and it
changed, I was more into reading and it didn't matter if I met single
men, others were focused on balancing the club by sex, some members
left, I missed the exciting discussions, I left. Groups evolve as they
do, and in situations like yours, I try to informally check out whether
there are a few like-minded members. If not, either you have to find a
new crowd, or see if it's time for splinter groups.
Been there, read the books
How about you write this book club off as just a social event and start
another, where people actually read the books and discuss them as well
as socializing? I'd join, if you're
anywhere near me!
I'm not organized enough to run one, but when I ran a post a few years
ago, looking for a book club, several people nearby said that they would
join one, if I organized it. I just didn't have the energy, but I'd
consider being a co-sponsor.
I bet, if you're more of a leader than I, you could gather some people
and start one of your own. I know I'm still hoping to run across one to
-Pam, an Albany mom
I've noticed that the emphasis (book, wine, food, gossip) just depends
on the members, and it sounds like your club is not the best fit. If
you're interested in joining a different one (we enjoy our food and wine
but DO talk about the book!), email me
How about saying to your friend: ''I appreciate that you invited me to
join this book club, since we get to spend time together, which is
something we haven't done in YEARS, but I'd like to bow out of
participating in the club, since I find myself disappointed when I spend
time reading the book and preparing for the discussion, only to find
that not that many other people in the club are as interested in reading
and discussing the book.
Let's definitely continue to get together socially outside of the book
I have had this same experience, but I have also heard of other book
clubs that do discuss books in a very focused way. Since you seem to
feel socially obligated to stick with this group, I would advise that
you think of it as social club and try to enjoy it AND try to find
another good book club to join. Or, depending on whether this feels
comfortable in the dynamic of the group, you could try lobbying for some
set time for book discussion, or suggest having rotating discussion
leaders or something to keep people on point for at least part of the
another book lover
I have a book group I love (which I'm sure isn't the same one as yours
because we do spend some time talking about the book!) We all do like to
read and look at the group as an opportunity to prioritize reading at
least one book a month (although most of us skip a book from time to
time.) But we do a fair amount of ''cackling''
also. I don't know how you can change the expectation of a group that
has already abandoned the idea of reading. (Maybe see if others feel as
you do? If so, see if you can agree that the 2nd 20 min. of the group
will be all about the book.) But one thing we did as far as
organization, that cut way down on the extraneous emails, is we picked
one day of the month that we will meet every time, and if you can make
it great and if not ''see you next time.'' That way we don't have
endless rounds of who can make it on which days (also one can plan in
advance if one is so inclined.) People in your group seem to enjoy
elaborate plans about food and wine, so I don't think you'll get them to
stop. It sounds like you would be happy just to get them to talk about
the book a little more, and I hear ya on that. But for most of us,
''Book Club'' is also a good excuse for getting some time with friends
away from our kids for one evening, so we're not going to turn it into a
--enjoys reading AND cackling
I'm coming in a little late on this one, but this response just occurred
to me. I teach lit courses at Cal that tend to be rather small because
my department is small. I welcome auditors, ESPECIALLY grown-ups who
have read the books and won't overwhelm the student discussion (i.e.,
know how to hang back when needed).
I have had adult auditors in a number of my classes and as long as they
are moderate in their participation (that is, not taking over the
discussion) I am very happy to have them. I'm not giving my name or
department because I think I'm not allowed to say this, but I don't
require that people be ''legal'' auditors as long as their behavior
falls within the realm I describe. This could be a way for you to get
into really interesting discussions about books or films.
I am interested in joining a book club but have no idea how to
go about it.How often do they meet? How would I go about
Start one with your friends and neighbors!
I moderate a coed, Oakland-based book club for the Neighborhood Parents
Network (an organization for East Bay parents that provides support,
networking, social opportunities, information exchange, etc.) We meet
on the third Sunday of every month (the 17th will be our next meeting)
at Royal Ground in Montclair Village from 4-6 p.m. This month's book is
Byatt's Little Black Book of Stories, a collection of short stories.
The group is quite casual. We currently have 3-5 members, depending
upon the month. All of us have small children, so we're sympathetic
when someone is short on time.
You'd be welcome to stop by the month and meet us!
Greetings...I am hoping to locate a local(Berkeley,or Oakland) book club.
It seems like a fun thing to do,does anybody out there have any info??
Thanks in advance.
I have noticed on several occasions that Neighborhood Parents Network's
(formerly Neighborhood Moms) newsletter has notices in for at least two
different book groups. I've been thinking of investigating myself, since my
book club went defunct about a year ago. Anyway, there's one that meets at
Royal Coffee in Montclair and another in Berkeley. From the notices, they
have different formats. I don't have a newsletter handy, but I think that
it should be relatively easy to get the information. If you go, and it
seems good, let me know!
Try Neighborhood Parents Network- They have a Berkeley and an Oakland book
club. Call 510-527-6667 to get an application for the organization and a
Does anyone know of book clubs that focus on African American
African-American owned Marcus Book Store in Oakland has a book
club focusing on African-American books.
try ''sistas on the reading edge,'' an african american women's
book club that meets in antioch.
this page was last updated: May 25, 2012
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2013 Berkeley Parents Network