Reading reflections in the Bookinglass

An expat with a love of fiction

Book Club Rookie

with 12 comments

I came across Dialogue Books, a boutique English-language bookshop in Berlin, as I was searching for something to join that wasn’t to do with bars and parties.

Don’t get me wrong, I am far far far from a party animal….but Berlin is stumble-full of cool, friendly bars…like the upside down one (and this one I just came across that I must go to sometime as it is recommended by another ‘not a bar lover buuut…’ person!).

Ok, so I was searching for people who loved books too. And voila! This website is so chic and they have a book club too… perfect fit for me!

Only one thing stopping me: a little shyness about the fact the I am a book club rookie.

What do people say at a book club? And, yeah, going to a book club in your early twenties, doesn’t that have a bit of a stigma (‘Errr…shouldn’t you just be out drinking til 6am?’) attached?

But after an (non-scary sounding) email exchange with Sharmaine the head of Dialogue, and as I found myself wandering around Senefelder Platz looking for the right road for the little cafe in which we would meet…which made finally arriving on time such a relief, I was happy to introduce myself and sit down at a table with the 3 men who I took to be Dialogue Book Club veterans.

Now… I haven’t* mentioned the actual book that we were to be discussing because it was really a prop for me to actually get out somewhere that was not the shop/flat/office/bar. I was just chuffed to actually be there with my gunpowder tea and meeting people, I really couldn’t care what we discussed. Except of course, I did get intensely involved in the discussion.

It was fun, despite some of the time feeling like a complete uneducated randomer, I felt welcome and engaged. Next month I hope I will be less of a randomer and one more of your usual ecelectic bunch of book lovers (although I think I am going back partly because I love the cafe so much).

At least I won’t be a book club rookie much longer!

How was your first book club experience? Will I ever feel like I belong to a book club?

*Ok I’ll tell you, the book was called ‘Zugzwang’ and was about a psychoanalyst caught up in a murder plot in pre-WWI St Petersberg. I wouldn’t recommend it, it promises so much yet really evoked in me, at best, confusion and, at worst, apathy towards the fate of the characters.


Written by bookinglass

February 16, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

12 Responses

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  1. I have never been to a book club of any kind, nor would I have the time for it right now…but I am intrigued. I don’t know if I have the right sort of analytical approach to reading that would be required 🙂 But it sounds like fun, especially if I could find a club that was reading books that appealed to me!

  2. Are you on Goodreads too? I live on that site these days

    I attend a book club but I guess I am not a team player and the haven’t been very impressed with me lately. I only go when they are reading something I am interested in! They are mostly women who read one book a month but I like to read more and I don’t have time for bad books!


    February 23, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    • I was expecting mostly women at this book club, I think it is rather unusual. I am a really slow reader but I really like to immerse myself in the book and just can’t seem to do that anywhere apart from in bed (where I don’t get to be so often these days!) This month’s book is a collection of short stories, really struggling through it…meh…

      Checking out Goodreads right now 🙂


      February 24, 2011 at 12:02 am

      • Cool! It looks like my username is ‘_emm’.

        I’m not too fond of short stories so I get you there! Don’ty worry – I used to be the world’s slowest reader (and even got extra reading time for exams!) and now I am attempting one novel per week. It kind of speeds up the more you read.


        February 24, 2011 at 12:06 am

  3. Yes, the collection is named after the short story, Elegy for Easterly, all the stories are based in Zimbabwe. I am not a fan so far. I think I will give Goodreads a go although I have signed up for a few others like this, but this time with facebook I might be able to get some friends involved 🙂 Not sure how to add people yet though…


    February 24, 2011 at 12:28 am

  4. I have never been in a bookclub and I don’t know anyone who has! I think it’s mostly an American thing.. I would like to do! 🙂


    February 24, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    • I think you’re right Lisa, quite an American thing, (I am basing this on a scene from ‘Lost’ where they are having a lovely little book club meeting in a suburban setting and then boooom the airplane explodes. anywayz…) I really enjoyed having something to discuss with strangers that instantly brought us together.


      February 24, 2011 at 4:21 pm

  5. I have never been to a book club,however my little girl has recently joined one and is loving it…so may consider it..Eliza Keating

    eliza keating

    March 10, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    • Definitely good fun to discuss books with others 🙂 Although I am not sure if I would be able to stick to my guns if it came to disagreeing with the rest of the group, it tends to be that I want to say good things even if overall I didn’t enjoy the book so much.


      March 14, 2011 at 6:14 pm

  6. Hey Pippa! I’m glad to have found your site, and look forward to reading more! Books are a passion of mine too, but I don’t blog about them way enough… I love what you’re doing though, connecting what you were reading with your experiences at the time. It actually makes a lot of sense: I believe that whatever was happening around you probably influences your experience and interpretation of the book you were reading as well… Fluid! Keep it up!


    March 17, 2011 at 8:44 pm

  7. Hi Pippa, Nice to know we share the same passion. I love books but I haven’t read or finished a book in a long time. Busy with a lot of things but would love to devote a day or two on just reading. No interruptions whatsoever. When can I find the time? I hope soon.

    • Not much time it seems, I read on the train but it isn’t as enjoyable. I like to go to bed half an hour early set aside just for reading, although I nearly always end up on the net for longer instead….oops!


      June 17, 2011 at 12:24 am

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