What To Do If You Hate Your Book Club Pick

You finally made the leap and joined a book club. You ordered the book in plenty of time ahead of the meeting. You’ve made time in your schedule to prioritize reading. And now, you hate this book. Maybe you can’t get into it. Maybe you’re halfway through and you don’t understand the plot. You were so excited about book club, so now what?


This happens to the best of us. In fact it happened to me with my selection for my own book club this month. Fifty pages in, I was thinking, Oh no what have I gotten us into?!  I was ready to quit and cancel our meeting. I reached out to a friend, and while she was also struggling, she was planning to stick with it. I realized my discomfort was mostly because this writing style was outside my usual comfort zone. Long story short, I stuck with it. And I ended up encouraging a third member to do the same when she was ready to bail. Three of us showed up to meet, and it was great conversation!


book blogger alias grace


As we talked about our struggles with the novel, I realized we all felt similar pressure over how to respond to disliking this book. And when I posted to Instagram about it, I learned this is a wide spread issue with bookworms everywhere.

Here, I’ve compiled our experience and advice into a few tidbits that will hopefully ease your book club related stress!

What To Do If You Hate Your Book Club Pick

  1. Reach out to others

Check in with the club leader or other members. Ask how they’re liking the book, and be honest about your opinion. Say you can’t get into the novel, and see what kind of response you get. Chances are you aren’t the only one responding this way.


2. Do some research

Any time I’m doubting a book, I look at Goodreads reviews. Most of the time, I’m not the only one having whatever the thought is. Sometimes I’ll find explanations or answers I hadn’t realized I was looking for! In some cases, I’ll go to LitLovers.com and read a summary to see if I’ve missed something, or help keep characters straight. Most of the time after seeking some info, I feel re-energized to stick with the book. Other times, I’ll feel completely justified in quitting.


3. Try your best and don’t feel guilty

I understand this is the biggest hurdle we book nerds face, especially when it comes to our clubs. Give it your best shot. My personal measure is 100 pages. Different people have different techniques. Whatever you decide, if you want to quit before that point, stick with it so you can know you did your best. If you want to quit after that, then do. No need to apologize or beat yourself up. Not every book is going to mesh with every reader.



4. Show up to the discussion

Okay, maybe I was wrong about the last step being the hardest! There is no right or wrong here. Yes, ideally I would prefer everyone who comes to my book club has finished the book, and that’s unrealistic. I’d rather have people there who prioritize reading and discussion, even if they didn’t make it to the end for whatever reason. Now, anyone who didn’t finish won’t be safe from spoilers but  they are welcome!

A popular misconception about book clubs is that everyone should always love every book. To be honest, that can make for boring discussion! The best meetings I’ve held are a mix of opinions.


So the bottom line here is: give it a try. Do your best, be honest, and don’t stress about it. 

Does this advice make you feel better about your potential book club picks? Is there any other advice you’d give your fellow bookworms?



1 Comment

  1. 3 Reasons to Quit the Book You're Reading - RamonaMead.com

    March 20, 2021 at 5:35 pm

    […] I wrote about this exact situation when I faced it with Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. If you’re struggling with this, go read that post. Otherwise, my advice in a nutshell is: give it your best shot, show up for the discussion even if you quit the book, be honest with your club members. […]

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