The Most Annoying People In Your Book Club

Book clubs are a great way to meet new people and forge lasting friendships. Yet there’s always that one member who rubs everyone the wrong way. Do you recognize any of these people from your own book club?

The Skimmer. Like a high schooler the night before a book report is due, The Skimmer anxiously flips through the pages of Wuthering Heights in preparation for tomorrow’s meeting. Once there, The Skimmer makes vague remarks like, “that Heathcliff sure is a complex guy,” before passing the conversation along to another member.

The Snob. The Snob has read everything worth reading. Her tastes are exquisite. She never misses an opportunity to share these facts with her fellow members, nor does she hesitate to quote Proust on a moment’s notice. She is, in a word, insufferable.

The Dominator. All discussion runs through The Dominator. Like the guy on the plane who shares his cell phone conversation with everyone, The Dominator must be heard. Whether it’s interrupting someone else’s thoughts on Unbroken, or constantly steering the conversation away from the book and toward his kids, this member of your book club will never let you get a word in edgewise.

The Silent Type. This person might be strong, but she is always silent. She refuses to weigh in on class dynamics in The Help. She never praises Carol’s mind-blowing guacamole. She never volunteers any opinion whatsoever. Other members crave The Silent Type’s input, but she provides only blank stares and head nods.

The Outsider. You know who you are. You’ve come for the free food and stayed for the wine. You’re not even a member of the book club! You’re just friends with The Dominator, which is convenient, because you expect him to do all of the talking.

The Raincloud. The Raincloud makes everyone reach for the Prozac. Sylvia Plath is upbeat in comparison. She calls it existentialism; you call it depressing. If you ever wanted to uncover the hidden darkness within Bossypants, The Raincloud will be your guide.

Which types did we miss?



  • Renda Belle Dodge

    Being a critical reader, or ‘snob’ as this article calls it, is not a bad thing. Being well-read and having opinions about literature is usually the sign of an intelligent, well-read adult.This article reads like a high school mean girl wrote it.

    • geraldo1000

      I understand what you are saying, but the snob has a way for making you feel like an imbecile whenever he opens his mouth. He does not wear his learning lightly and states everything in a way that says “I’m smart, and you’re dumb.”

  • Renda Belle Dodge

    Not to mention, those of us who read and appreciate Plath aren’t all depressing, but apparently I’m a snob and I bring everyone down. Nice…This would be why I’m not a part of any book clubs. I can think for myself.

    • Colette

      Reading Plath and being a critical thinker aren’t bad. Being ultra depressing about everything and acting as if you’re morally superior due to having read certain works are what make people annoying.

      • Renda Belle Dodge

        I think that most people, author of this post included, lump knowledge into superiority. Knowledge of any art and history is important. I’m just sick of “book snob shaming” that’s become popular on the internet. I don’t give two craps if you want to spend your weekend reading ‘Twilight’ don’t shame me for reading literature.

        • Katie

          I think this was really just for fun and you’ve missed the entire point :)

          • Renda Belle Dodge

            And when shaming and bullying are done in fun it’s fine.

          • Katie

            Learn to laugh at yourself. No one is perfect, and these stereotypes are developed because a lot of people fit them to a certain degree. Usually if you’re offended you fall into one. The post was not meant to “shame” or “bully”. As you read through the posts people actually call themselves out!

            I saw a thing on buzz feed the other day about Type A people problems. I HATE Type A people….and it turns out…I am one! I couldn’t help buy laugh hysterically at the list and thinks, “Yes!! Every time!”. Did I think it was shaming and bullying of people who are Type A? Not in the least. It was pretty spot on when it came to me anyway.

            I could go on to talk about things that describe the people who have Celiac. How we are “faking” a disease and blah blah. It boils my blood, and people have turned their nose at me at restaurants and gatherings thinking I’m joining the Gluten Free fad cause I want to be “different”. But I see that as an opportunity to enlighten and teach people about the disease. In the end I have at least made them question what they initially thought.

            So lighten up!! Help your friends kids, your kids, your cousins…whomever find a series they like to read. Start your OWN book club. Talk about reading with friends who don’t read. That’s how to put an end to “shaming” or “bullying” of “book snobs”. If you take that “book snob” title and make it to be something you aspire to be then it loses all meaning. “Why, yes I am a book snob. Care to know about some great reads?”.

            Anyway, I hope the rest of your day goes better. I’m going to dive back into “Inferno” by Dan Brown on my HD Nook (shameless plug for BN cause I love my nook so much).

          • recyclequeen3

            As with any “club”, we all have to go to different groups till we find one that fits our personality etc. Or, we just start our own group, and others with similar personalities might join as well. I personally don’t do book clubs, but I think they could be fun. Right now the only group I hang with once a week is a knitting stitch & bitch group. Trust me, those clubs/groups are the same as book clubs. You have to find the one that fits, or create your own. No biggie. It’s what makes the world go around. It would be super boring if we were all alike. :) I find it quite interesting to talk to others who have different opinions (but don’t force them down my throat, and I don’t do that to them either). It’s how we all expand our minds. We don’t have to agree, it’s just good to acknowledge other ways :)

    • Joel Cunningham

      I think you are taking offense unnecessarily. If you actually were in a book club, you’d know that A) this list is exaggerated to include funny caricatures of the things that can derail a book club, and B) seriously, for real, these general “types” do exist and they WILL ruin your book discussion and cause other members to leave the meeting feeling frustrated rather than satisfied.

      There’s a guy in my book club who hates everything we read and makes sure everyone knows it. The meetings he attends tend to be tense and argumentative, and he inspires even others who might have been critical of the book to defend it, just because he is so negative.

  • Dan Peyton

    I think you missed two very common types. The Loveit and the Hateit. Loveit gushes over every book, never has a bad thing to say and is a deer in headlights when anything negative is spoken about the book. Hateit is the opposite of that. He/she can find fault with every book and never misses an opportunity to tell everyone exactly why the book should be pulped.

  • Erika Hoffman

    This is why I’ve resisted joining book clubs. Seems they’re really just high school cliques for adults.

    • Mo86

      This is why I’d be afraid to join one, even though I love the idea of it.

      Maybe I should start my own! Sadly, I’d probably end up being the only attender… which kinda misses the whole point of reading with others. Bah!

  • Corey-Jan

    I think that your Dominator encompasses two types – the one who ALWAYS has something to say in response to ANYTHING anyone else says, thereby continually hijacking the conversation. And then, there’s the Distractor who is always steering the conversation away from the book into her own experiences and/or gossip.

    • Corey-Jan

      Self-knowledge is a good thing, right? I have probably been guilty of both more often than I’d like…

  • Reneé Kunkel

    I’m a little bit of ALL OF THE ABOVE- I tend to read quickly (can’t help it even when I try to slow down to prolong an enjoyable book) I pay attention to the details, I re- read pages, chapters, books- that I adore. I will stand behind and FOR books I love. I tend to enjoy talking as much about a loved point because frankly— who the hell else in real life would listen. LOL

    but alas— no local book clubs and with five children (one with very special needs) I’m not likely to be able to join one if there was- so I chatter on FB if the topic comes up.

    • Reneé Kunkel

      and PS— my personal flavor in books do not really follow the norm in adult reading.- and I have NEVER RUN OUT TO BUY AN OPRAH BOOK.

  • Sue Twining

    The Mumbler. That’d be me. I have thorough reader, and I have my thoughts and opinions on the books I read. I want to share my thoughts and opinions. But I don’t like bringing attention on myself, either. So I tend to mumble it out.

  • Annie

    the one who NEVER pays attention and is ALWAYS reading ahead or doing something else during discussion even after being told several times to follow along and stay with the group.

    Have one of these in the one I am in and she drives me crazy!

  • Patricia Perry Geiger

    Hmmm, how is “The Outsider” a problem? He just kind of sits, eats, drinks and listens. I think I might want to try and be that guy now that I know he exists and is going to book clubs! My reading has evolved. I started with classics, moved to biographies and memoirs and now LOVE young adult and children’s picture books. Who wouldn’t want to discuss “The Hunger Games” or “The Giver” as adults and break down all the different aspects of the characters, the setting, the symbols, the politics, etc…? And what about “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus”? True genius in minimum words and line drawings! Have a sense of humor, folks! And just keep reading, reading, READING!!!

  • j5845

    the silent type wouldn’t be so silent if given an opportunity to voice their opinion instead of everyone else talking over them. sometimes people are so driven to hear themselves talk and push themselves up the social ladder that others who have great things to contribute are left in the dust.

    • Mo86


  • Bill Merrill

    Here are some POSITIVE types: The Back-to-the-Book-er (channels discussion away from too many or too long unrelated side topics), The Traffic Cop (for example, says, “I think Sarah has had her hand raised for awhile now, let’s hear her comment”), The Reinforcer (ex., “Oh, that’s a great point”), and — most important — The Organizer/Leader (in groups with one person who gives up their time to keep the schedule and selections publicized). The Organizer oftens gets limited credited for what is nearly always a volunteer position.