Monday Musing About Read-a-longs

October 7, 2013 Monday Musings 28

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

I’ve been a bit reluctant to try a read-a-long because I hated the idea of having to read a book at a particular (slow!) rate. However, the past month there were two I just couldn’t pass up. Allison at The Book Wheel and Rebecca at  Love at First Book co-hosted a read-a-long of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. At the same time, Suey at It’s All About Books, Kami at Kami’s Library Thoughts, and Kathy at Read This Instead hosted a read-a-long of The Book Thief. Here’s what I liked and didn’t like about the experience of doing these read-a-longs.

The only con was what I expected. It’s so hard to put down a good book when you’ve read the scheduled chapters! And these were both very good books. However, that said, I think it’s completely worth it for all the wonderful things about the experience. Basically, blogging (for me) is about having a place to discuss books obsessively since I don’t have a ton of friends who read. Read-a-longs are perfect for this! It’s so much easier to comment on other blogs when you’re reading the same book 🙂

Discussions for these two read-a-longs included discussion posts on the hosts’ blogs; questions to be answered on your blog; and scheduled twitter chats.Through this read-a-long and the SheReads book club, I’ve discovered that personally I far prefer twitter chats to hosted discussions. I can just spend an hour chatting with people in real time about the book we’re all reading. Discussion posts require you to check back periodically in order to have a back-and-forth conversation and they can get really hard to follow. I also liked the questions to be answered on our own blogs. They gave me a great reason to visit and comment on the other participants blogs. I also got to see a bit more of what other people thought than they could type in the 140 characters available on twitter. Overall, both read-a-longs were a lot of fun and I can’t wait to do another one!

28 Responses to “Monday Musing About Read-a-longs”

  1. Tanya Patrice

    I’m doing my first read-a-long and although I haven’t done the twitter chat etc., I now get why they are so popular … I really didn’t get it before. It’s awesome to be able to discuss a book with other people who’re reading it at the same time.

    • DoingDewey

      It is! Review posts can often be the hardest to comment on, since there are so many books and a lot of reviews will be books I haven’t read, maybe even ones I don’t want to read. Having reviews of the same book all around the same time can really help turn those posts into great discussions 🙂

  2. Audra (Unabridged Chick)

    So far, readalongs are a big fail for me — I’m so scheduled with review books I can rarely participate. I’m hoping to try next year because I really do love discussing books and this is a great way to have a circle to chew over a book with!

    • DoingDewey

      I’ve just reached the point we’re I’m starting to get over scheduled too! Hopefully we’ll both be able to cut back a little and have plenty of time for read-a-longs 🙂

  3. Alice in Readerland

    I haven’t tried a read-along yet, because I think it would be hard for me to only read the scheduled chapters, but it does sound like fun, as do the discussions! I’ve passed by some really great readalong discussions on Twitter, so I might have to join in on a readalong sometime so I can join the Twitter chat too. 🙂 Great post!

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

    • DoingDewey

      I loved the twitter chats, so I’d definitely recommend them 🙂 As a few other people have pointed out, I could actually read ahead and just write notes at the break points, especially if you were just supposed to post your thoughts periodically, so that might help with wanting to read it all at once!

    • DoingDewey

      I ended up enjoying the questions, but I can see where that could feel like work and I definitely think it’s a good idea to avoid things that make reading feel like work for you 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      Oh, I hope you like it as much as I did! I did find it hard to stop and it could take me a bit to get back into the story, but overall, I enjoyed reading it almost as much and really liked being able to talk to people about it 🙂

  4. Briana

    I don’t join many read-alongs because of time commitments, and because I enjoy reading on whims. I’d hate to sign up for something and then find two months later, when the read-along begins, that I’m not feeling the book!

    However, I have enjoyed the read-alongs I’ve participated in, including The Book Thief one! I definitely did not keep pace, though doing so would have made following the discussions and avoiding posting spoilers much easier.

    • DoingDewey

      I have started to feel like I’m a little bit over scheduled on my blog, between events with other bloggers, tours, and ARCs that I really should review close to the publication date. And I think you make a great point about possibly not being in the mood for a book when it comes time to read it if you scheduled it in advance! That has happened to me a few times and it’s making me think about trying to schedule a little less for the next few months 🙂

      I’m glad you enjoyed The Book Thief read-a-long! I really liked it too.

  5. Tamara Epps

    I’ve never done a read-along before, but reading this post makes me think it is something I should definitely consider. I love the idea of having people to discuss a book with in depth, as well as having specific prompts/questions to use on my blog.

    • DoingDewey

      I really liked it! I like the experience of having a bunch of blogs posting reviews of the same book at the same time. It’s so great for commenting! And the twitter chats and discussions for these read-a-longs were a lot of fun. I did also like having the questions to use on my blog. It made for an interesting and different format in which to share my thoughts on a book 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      It’s so hard to keep from just rushing through to the end! I liked sticking with the schedule so I’d know I wasn’t accidentally giving spoilers, but I could definitely understand giving up on it and just reading 🙂

  6. RebeccaScaglione - Love at First Book

    Here’s my tip: You CAN read ahead. Just STOP at the “required stopping points” and write down notes. Then you can use those notes for the book club and still read way ahead but not give spoilers.

    Of course, it works for mine and Allison’s, since ours is free flowing but that strategy doesn’t work if the read-a-long/book club has specific questions to answer.

    • DoingDewey

      You’re so right! That’s a real advantage to the way you schedule your discussion which I hadn’t thought of. For twitter chats or answering questions, it’s nice not to have read the rest so you don’t have to worry about accidentally giving spoilers. But for discussions, you could just type up your comment in advance and be all set to go on 🙂

      • RebeccaScaglione - Love at First Book

        And personally, I am not a fan of participating in digital book clubs with questions. I think that online, the convo does flow well. However, Twitter chats and in-person book clubs do need questions. Also, a “dying” free-discussion of a book might need questions, too.

  7. ebookclassics

    I love read-a-longs because it’s so much fun to interact with different bloggers and share thoughts on the book. But I agree it’s difficult sticking to the schedule if I’m really into the book. I usually end up reading ahead and then when I’m writing a post to match the schedule, I can’t remember what’s what.

    • DoingDewey

      I think that’s a great idea! Sometimes when there are scheduled twitter chats and questions posted periodically, that could be hard to do, but for some of the read-a-longs that would work really well 🙂

  8. Asti (A Bookish Heart)

    Oooh I love this post! I have actually never participated in a read-a-long, but have always been curious about them. I do think the schedule is what has always held me back. I always worry that I will either get the reading done really fast, and then be bored while waiting for the next one or that I won’t get it done in time. Plus, I don’t like the idea of reading more than one book at a time so I feel stuck with it until the read-a-long is done. That being said, I like all the positive aspects you mention about it. I really would like to be able to discuss books with others knowing for sure that they are reading it as well, so a read-a-long would be great for that.

    I guess I won’t really know how I feel until I try, so maybe I should just sign up for one sometime and see how it goes? You’ve sort of inspired me to give a try!

    • DoingDewey

      Wonderful! I had a lot of the same worries you did and ended up enjoying the read-a-long anyway, so I think it’s a great idea to give it a chance 🙂

  9. Brooke

    Readalongs are honestly one of my top 5 favorite things about the book community. Sometimes I don’t read past the scheduled stopping point and sometimes I fly through the book in one gulp. If I get through a section early, I just write my post early/gather thoughts and pre-schedule. It works wonders and there’s no guilt. Readalongs work especially well with books you struggle reading – like Vanity Fair which I would never have completed without a readalong!!

    • DoingDewey

      I think they might be in my top five favorite things too! It really was wonderful to be able to discuss books in such detail with other people.:)

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