I know you’re all anxious to hear to what extent depressing themes make a depressing book club discussion. The answer? Not as much as I feared. I thought the discussions were really great, and I liked that there were consistently questions asked by the facilitators that were different than I anticipated and really caused me to think.
I’m generally a pretty quiet person, but I found myself participating in interesting and unexpected ways. For instance, I found I had more to say about the Federalist Papers than about nearly anything else, which I could not have anticipated before the questions were asked. For stories that I found more personally engaging (like “A Perfect Day for Bananafish”), I didn’t say anything at all.
The feedback we got on our survey was really great and helpful, too. Once again, I had some rather unexpected observations, internally and externally.
- It was really hard not to participate in the discussion about my own book. There were parts I really wanted to discuss and letting the book club do its own thing was a challenge.
- The thing that people consistently mentioned on our feedback had almost nothing to do with the story. The title of our story was “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried” but Al Jolson never figures into the story otherwise. Al Jolson was a singer and we played some of his music while people took the survey. Nearly everyone mentioned the music and/or Al Jolson in the survey. Is this related to it being the last thing we did or because people were really intrigued by Al Jolson? I guess we’ll never know, since none of the cohort was in my book club. (Did you do that on purpose, Kristin?)
- Silence is powerful, and people commented that they would have like more of it to think deeply about the questions we asked. Time, however, was limited.
- I’m… sarcastic? Yup, I got that on the feedback form. It wasn’t said negatively, and it might have had something to do with my joking around about coffins. (You had to be there.) I’ve never thought of myself as sarcastic, although I suppose I could be without being aware. I do like to laugh about stupid stuff, but no one has ever commented on my sense of humor before, aside from shooting me strange looks and rolling their eyes.
All in all, I’d like to say Bravi Tutti!* to my book club. Everyone did a very nice job and it was fun to chat with you all!
* What? I’m a musician. Fa schifo.