I don't know how common it is for people in general (and writers in particular) to join a book club, but I'd heard about them from the other women in Writeous Writers, so I thought I'd give it a try.
For my first meeting, we read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. I wrote a glowing review of the book when I first finished it, and in my mind's eye I pictured that at the book group we'd all speak appreciatively about how much we loved it and everything about Lisa See.
That's not exactly how things turned out. Right off the bat, the other members launched into passionate, intelligent discussion about the novel. Some people loved the book; others, not so much. At points the debates became heated. Throughout the meeting, the people in the book club worked hard to deepen their understanding of a passion which they all shared. I left the meeting feeling a little overwhelmed, but also with a great deal more insight than I'd had at the start.
Now that I'm working on making my living as a published author, I realize that I need to look more deeply into books to find the reasons why I like or dislike them. And even more important than that, I need to find out why other people like or dislike the books they read. The book club will definitely help with that.
Join a book club today! I joined mine through my local library; here's a list of libraries in the U.S. if you're looking for one near you.