Engaging Methuen Readers

Procrastination and Book Clubs

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I’m sorry I procrastinated.  Again.

I think it happens to every person who has ever been part of a book club:  waiting until the very last minute to read that month’s book.  How often have you said, “My book club meets in three days, and I haven’t even started the book yet!!”  I know I’ve said it many times even though I try really hard to avoid procrastinating.  The thing is, I am a pretty fast reader (usually) and I don’t want to read the book too far ahead because I’m afraid I’ll forget key points or thoughts by the time the club meets.  I should also mention that I’m terrible at taking notes.

It’s a gamble, every month, choosing exactly when to start the book so that I can finish in time and hope nothing destroys my reading plan.  It is awful to have not finished a book in time and then go to book club and have the ending ruined for you.  Especially since you can’t really ask for “no spoilers” as that is the entire point of book club in the first place – to have a group with whom you can discuss every little detail of a book.

Sometimes I’ll admit that I procrastinate even more if the book club choice is not one I’m looking forward to reading.  Sometimes these books surprise me, but mostly I know if it is really a book for me or not.  If it isn’t, I will definitely procrastinate.  I also don’t feel sorry or guilty if I “accidentally” don’t finish in time.  That’s a pretty easy situation to move on from.

But what about if I was enjoying the book and don’t quite finish in time?  I would feel guilty about missing the meeting, but as I said before – I don’t want the ending to be ruined for me.  So what to do?  These are a few options:

  1. Reading marathon time!  Stay up late, get up early, let the laundry and the dishes go for a day or two longer but read read read every chance you get!  Taking time off of work is probably a little extreme, but maybe you would want to grab some extra coffee?
  2. How about an audiobook?  How many precious reading minutes do you lose driving to and from work each day?  Or picking the kids up from sports?  Or working out?  You can fill those minutes with your book club book!  Check to see if the library has the audiobook on the shelves or if it is available to be downloaded to your phone or other device and go back and forth between your print copy and the audio copy until you finish!
  3. Accept the fact that spoilers will happen, but take charge of it:  read online reviews of the book before book club.  This is not my favorite option, but it is still an option. users will often post reviews of books that are filled with spoilers or talking points – check them out if you think this will help.  You can also search for “title of the book reviews” through your web browser, and you’ll be sure to get plenty of reviews from book bloggers as well.
  4. Come to the meeting a little late.  Maybe you only have a handful of pages left to read – power through them even if it means you’ll be late to the meeting.  As long as you aren’t hosting or bringing the snacks, you should be okay with only a small amount of guilt.  You will miss some of the discussion – but hey!  You finished the book, didn’t you?
  5. Miss the meeting entirely.  This will produce the most guilt for sure – and it may not be possible if you are the host or snack provider.  It would be great if the meeting could be rescheduled – but you know that would be nearly impossible, especially if you have a large group.  If this is the option you take, make doubly sure that you get a jump on the next book!

How do you handle procrastinating with your book club books?  Have you ever done something extreme to make up for it?  Let us know in the comments!




Author: Sarah

Hi! I am The Head of Reader Services at Nevins Library! I love to read and talk about books. I'll read just about anything, so there's plenty to talk about.

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