Gwen, even if you want to be an observer, I would still read the books. Know what's being discussed and then if you wish to participate you can with knowledge of what's being discussed. You can have your say.
And to test where some of these book readers are coming from you can suggest a book like Richard Dawkin's The God Delusion - just to see how open minded they are. Depending on how they react to your suggestion will give you an idea if you wish to keep participating or not.
I'd rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are; because a could-be is a maybe who - is reaching for a star. I'd rather be a has-been than a might-have-been, by far; for a might have-been has never been, but a has was once an are. - Milton Berle
Sound, balanced teaching is a must. Our default should be to partake. Our default should be to live in joy, not condemnation. Our default should be to love, not to correct, to encourage, not to criticize. (Quote from prisonchaplain)