When I move, one of the first things I do (sometimes even before I get to the new place), is look for a book discussion group. It helps me meet and get to know people who have at least one thing (and an important one at that) in common with me, and help me familiarize myself with my new city or country.
In the past, the book groups have consisted of someone (usually the moderator with some feedback from the group) who chose the title and everyone read the same book an we discussed it. This system gets you to break out of your shell, step outside your genre and read books that you ordinarily might not read. The discussion allows you to glean insight and understanding on the aspects of the book that you loved, hated, didn't understand or just skimmed over. It has its advantages. However, I recently discovered a different format for a book discussion group that made me realise the disadvantages of the traditional book discussion groups for me.
In one of the local library's book discussion group, everyone talks about whatever book(s) they have read. Some people give a detailed, Cliff-Notes-type explanation, while others, like me, give a book-jacket-like synopsis and a takeaway sentence: i.e. "If you are a fan of Downtown Abby, this book is for you.' With this book group you are still interacting with people who love books, you can talk about the books that you reading, (sometimes others have read the same book so there is a mini book discussion) and you hear about new books and authors. The advantages over the other book group format is that if you are pressed for time and really want to read the books you chose, you can; if you really hate the title, you don't have to spend your precious time reading it. This also prevents the overanalyzing of a book (although some may like that). Sometimes, one-book-discussions feel like a college course where everything becomes significant Also, with different titles, everyone gets a chance to present their books, whereas with the one title format, it can become a free for all with the most boisterous people dominating the discussion - if there is no moderated process.
The free format group is new to me (as is BookLikes, and this whole blogging thing) and I am finding it works better for me, I'm curious if there are any other formats out there, and how those fare.
Happy book discussing!