The Value of Book Clubs

Pile of Textbooks

As you probably already know, I’m a member of a rather fabulous online book club, the Curtis Brown Book Group (@CBBookGroup on Twitter), which is run by Curtis Brown Books, an arm of Curtis Brown, the literary and talent agency.

On the 26th November Curtis Brown are running their very first Discovery Day on Twitter. Anyone will be able to pitch their book ideas using the hashtag #PitchCB, get writing tips from Curtis Brown Creative, and ask agents all about the route to publication. The book group will also be taking to Twitter and talking with Rachel Hore about her book The Silent Tide (I must finish it… no spoilers). Remember I reviewed her book The Glass Painter’s Daughter a few weeks back?

It’s going to be an interesting day of all things publishing, so if you are free (or can sneak away from your desk) it should be well worth a look. The running order is:

9am – 1pm GMT                 Pitch                                          #PitchCB

1pm – 2pm                         Book Group                               #CBBG

2pm – 3.30pm                    Curtis Brown Creative                #CBTips

3.30pm – 5pm                    Ask the Agents                          #AskCB

If you can’t make it don’t forget you can read all the tweets by searching for the individual hashtags. I know that’s what I’ll be doing when I can’t be in front of my computer.

As both an editor and a writer this is hugely interesting for me (I’m currently taking the OU Creative Writing A215 course, but I already copy-write non-fiction for clients). It will be interesting to see both sides of the publishing coin from an editor’s and a writer’s perspective.

apple on a book stack

Thinking about the Discovery Day got me thinking more about the book group and how useful it is to be part of one. This is the only book group I’ve ever been a member of, and at first it was interesting because I was such a newbie and it was fun to ‘meet’ other members and muse about the books we were given to read. But after nearly a year in the group some interesting results have occurred. For one it gave me the confidence to actually start the OU course. Other benefits of joining a book group, for me, have been:

  1. The chance to talk with other bookish people about the same book and realise that we all see it in a different way.
  2. The chance to allow myself time to read a book for pleasure (yes, editors read for pleasure).
  3. The chance to broaden my experience and read books that I never in a million years would have picked for myself (and actually enjoy something really new for a change).
  4. The ability to talk with fiction authors about their creations (outside of work). Yes, I talk to other authors over Twitter, but nothing beats a conversation in a relaxed, informal atmosphere allowing more than 140 characters.
  5. It has allowed me to really think about a book. Working on a book as a copy-editor you look at the nitty-gritty, or you look at the structure, characters etc. when carrying out other editorial tasks, but being part of the book group has allowed me to look at a book, and really think about it as a reader, not an editor. It has given me permission to have time off.

I’ll have to hang up my membership in December and give another reader the chance to be a part of this wonderful group, but I have to say I am so glad I sent that first cheeky tweet and email asking to join. If you have been considering joining a book group but were unsure, or thought it would be too much like hard work to read a book then actually think about it, I’d say ‘go for it’. It will open up a world of characters, settings and authors you may miss if you don’t.

2 thoughts on “The Value of Book Clubs

  1. Pingback: Creatives Don’t Work For Free | Northern Editorial

  2. Pingback: The value of book clubs | The Proof Angel

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