A day late...
Have you ever been a member of a book club? How did your group choose the next book and who would lead discussion?
Yes! I'd always wanted to be in a book club so I helped found a book club at work in 2006. We don't have one set person who leads our discussions each month. I usually try to get us started talking and then just let the discussion run its course. As for choosing books, we vote. I pull together a large voting list, divided by genre, based on suggestions from book club members, then I open up the voting to all library staff members (since everyone is welcome to come). Using the results of the voting, I schedule the books so that we read a different genre each month. Making a concerted effort to read a variety of genres is good for all of us. It helps us to branch out and it also makes the club a bit more inclusive and occasionally we do have someone come to a meeting just because we are reading a genre or book s/he is interested in.
Do you feel more or less likely to appreciate books if you are obliged to read them for book groups rather than choosing them of your own free will? Does knowing they are going to be read as part of a group affect the reading experience?
I don't think that the fact that a book is "assigned" (whether for book club or school or review) makes me more or less likely to appreciate it. In fact, I think that I force myself to be even more open-minded with assigned books (since in many cases I may be reading books I wouldn't chose on my own). I do think I probably do pay a bit more attention to assigned books, read them more thoughtfully, because I know I'll be having to discuss or write about them.