Being a part of an online community comprised of people all around the world is a very odd feeling. You know the other members so well, yet not at all. Sure, I’ve seen pictures, and some members have even been able to meet up in person, but the feeling of camaraderie is ever present, with or without faces. The names are all that matters.
When I get an email from another member, I am always excited to see what they have said, simply because I have learned to value their opinions. Time and time again, these members have proven their love of literature, their ability to express themselves coherently, and the passion in which they stand by their beliefs. We do not agree on topics from time to time, but I appreciate that so much. Frequently when I dislike a book club selection, other members will shed some light as to why they did love it, and I can see the book from a different angle. It might not change my opinion, but I do feel like I get an idea of the whole book, rather than just my perspective.
The books themselves are the reason I stick around, though. The Rumpus has introduced me to some excellent stories that I never would have found otherwise. I’ve read every book club selection and can truly say there are books that I loved, ones I hated, and ones that touched my heart and soul. I’ve been forced outside my comfort zone and read books on subjects that I didn’t expect to enjoy, as well as short stories, essays, and genre bending novels. Even if I don’t enjoy a book, it’s still worth the read. Sometimes hating a book spurs better conversations with my fellow members.
The author discussions are a wonderful perk with the Rumpus Book Club. The authors never disappoint and often provide insight on motivations, writing processes, character development, and other stylistic know-how every literature fan seeks. I’m not a writer myself, and am constantly amazed at how much work goes into one book. The authors have been so great about answering our questions, listening to our thoughts and opinions, and explaining just about anything we ask him or her to.
I’m so happy to be a part of this fantastic book club community. I am so thankful to Isaac and Stephen for providing us with fascinating books, allowing us to debate, and accepting feedback on the selections.
Cheers to the Rumpus!