Friday, 31 January 2014

Book Studies in Beginners' Groups

I was invited to join a Beginners’ Group on Facebook.  I did so, partly out of curiosity.  It (so far) seems like a sensible group, it’s not filled with pointless memes and the love, light and unicorn farts that so many manage to nauseate me with (not to mention give actual beginners the totally wrong idea).

A book study was raised, with a request for suggestions about which book should be studied.  I said I was being cheeky, but could I suggest mine?  It was passed over for Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham.  The main reason, it was a book that most of us (who weren’t beginners) already owned.

Now, let me make this clear right from the start, I’m not in the least bit offended, I understand the reason for this and this book is one of the most recommended books for beginners.


It very quickly became clear, reading through the discussions, that most people had issues with the material.  Some of it quite historical and things that had been building up to rant level just waiting for an outlet for several years.

You see, while I was being cheeky and surreptitiously trying to promote my book (apparently something I don’t do nearly enough of) I also believe that this kind of book study would work best if everyone is somewhat unfamiliar with the material presented.  Make it a level playing field if you like.

When there is a book like Cunningham’s, every one has heard someone else rave over the bits they like, rant about the bits they hate, or just comment that it’s a bit lacking.  The popular opinions as to the worthiness or lack thereof are so well known that I find myself wondering if all of the people commenting are actually commenting on what they found worthy, lacking or thought-provoking or if they’re mindlessly regurgitating other people’s thoughts.

Most people seem to be so worried about the good opinions of random strangers over the internet that they won’t speak out against the flow of ‘popular’ opinion.  Want to test that theory?  Try saying that you’ve found any value in something (anything - even her fiction) written by Silver RavenWolf!

I haven’t bothered to participate in this book study, partly because I had too many other commitments - PaganFest took up most of my time when this book study was beginning - and because I’ve reviewed this book elsewhere already.  I also feel this book has been done to death. 

Now if someone wanted to do a book study on my book, something new and unfamiliar to most people, I’d be rapt.  I’d also be glad to be invited to answer or discuss any criticisms, I promise I won’t get stroppy, the main message of my book is to think for yourself not to become a mindless follower of my philosophies.



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