the power of a book club discussion – solc2018#23

This week our book club met to discuss Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks. I didn’t finish the book before our evening together. I had been busy, and to be honest, the stories just didn’t pull me in. And then, most of them ended so abruptly, and I felt we were left hanging as we dove into another tale. I decided I’m just not a short story fan.    BUT     Our discussion leader started out by enthusiastically reminding us what a great actor Tom Hanks is, and then we tried to name all his movies (so many!). She shared a lot of information about his early life, and some of his ideas about writing. These are, as another member said, “boy stories,” things a guy would write about. It was all a game changer for me. Tonight I emailed our discussion leader:


You did such a good job with our book discussion Tuesday night. Thank you.

I just wanted you to know that I have finished the rest of the book, and after our discussion, it was a different book for me.

After book club, I quit reading each story looking for the plot and characters that I would have chosen for a story, and I started seeing what “Tom” intended for me to understand. This was his take on the lives of these people, and after thinking about his background and his contributions to our culture, the stories came alive.

I also thought about the research he must have put into some of the stories. Or maybe it’s just a natural part of his thinking, based on his travels and experiences, which far surpass my own. There were some fascinating facts included, as well as some powerful imaginative ideas.

His use of language is so … real!  His words and phrases drew me into the setting and the lives of the characters so quickly. I never once became bored or uninterested. The various formats he tried, with junket schedules, and scripts, and stream of consciousness, and unexpected twists – and ALWAYS a typewriter – kept things fresh and engaging. And somewhere in each, a good heart is revealed.

Now I am thinking I might go back and read the stories I read previously, now that I have new eyes.

Isn’t it great how a book club discussion can change our thinking! Thank you again!

3 thoughts on “the power of a book club discussion – solc2018#23

  1. agriffinwa says:

    I enjoyed your slice because you wrote about your thinking and then shared a message you wrote about your turning point with the novel in book club. A reminder to use fresh eyes and talk about the books you read or even read background on them to grow different viewpoints and associations.

  2. Raivenne says:

    As a participant and as a discussion leader of book clubs, I enjoyed this post.

    That is the beauty of book clubs. We read and receive in accordance to our own perspectives. “Oh I would never do that?” of course not, it’s not you in the story. Book discussions can bring in those other perspectives we forget sometimes.

    I think it’s wonderful how you reached out to the discussion leader and let them how appreciative you were of the experience. I’m sure it was much appreciated to read.

  3. I also love how talking about books makes you think in new ways (or reveals how deeply or shallowly you think as you read in my case). I know that some books I read are just meant to be talked about!

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