This week’s random subject for conversation is this question:
Do you enjoy debating / discussing the books that others are currently reading? Why, or why not?
As with a lot of things, it depends on the book. I’ve been involved with several book discussion groups and have found that some books, while very enjoyable to read, don’t necessarily lend themselves to an in-depth conversation.
One example I can think (that is done by a LOT of sci-fi/fantasy discussion groups when they first begin) is Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Don’t get me wrong here — the book is wonderfully witty, well observed and out and out funny. But I’m not sure it lends itself to discussion beyond looking at “well, what was your favorite funny part?”
(I suppose if you were willing to look deeper at it and look at the various versions of the story that Adams wrote over his lifetime (the radio series, the novels, the TV show, the movie), you could get some more out of it. But I’m not sure if this might be homework above and beyond reading the book.)
Now, if a book is one that lends itself well to discussion or as a good jumping off point for a conversation, then I’m all for it. I always enjoy getting other people’s perspective on a book (well, beyond “I hated it” or “I loved it”). I’ve found some fascinating conversations started up when readers don’t necessarily agree on the relative merit of the book and can come to the table with points for each side. I will admit I’ve found some fascinating conversations when I’ve not loved a book and someone else has — to see what the other person liked it so much or what about it appealed to them.
This isn’t necessarily limited to just a single book, but can be for an genres of books. For example, I’m not generally a big fan of romance novels, but I am fascinated to find reviews through various social media sites and see what other readers enjoy as much as they do about them. And I’m the same way — I have my favorites that I just enjoy and I try to share what about the book or genre I enjoyed in my review. It may not convince you to read the book or try the genre, but hopefully you will see why the book “pushed all the right buttons” for me.