I joined my first book club in elementary club which was designed for wee ones who excelled at reading. I mean, okay, technically it was curriculum in school, but after having been in many a book club, I can call a spade a spade, and that was a book club. I was a painfully shy tykester so I read everything, listened to everyone and said nothing. I loved it. The exchange of ideas, reading more than we had to, and coming together for the love of reading.
In middle school I joined my first community book club with some women in the community. To keep me company, another one of my friends tagged along. The friendly ladies made us hot cocoa while they drank adult versions and we simply discussed books. However, this was to be a limited activity; I think in all we attended one meeting. It was a book club that discussed books, but I also learned book clubs often serve the function of being a reason to socialize and gossip in adult world. We didn’t feel like we had much to share, though in fairness, we didn’t give it enough time to really grasp a genuine feel.
I didn’t join another book club until grad school. It was an incredible group of ladies who got together to read a variety of exciting and diverse novels. It exposed me to books I had never heard of and likely would not have selected on my own. Some of them I adored, others, I tolerated, and some I just downright hated. It was also the only book club (so far) that I attended more than 2 meetings of. Eventually it dispersed as people got busy or moved away.
I’ve joined three book clubs since graduating from school. One of women in the community of all ages, one of a slightly younger demographic, and the third, online. I suspect, reflecting on these patterns, I will always be a pro book club person. Now for any of the undecided out there I have created a Pro and Con list:
- Meet fellow book lovers (and make potentially new awesome friends!)
- Find books you wouldn’t have otherwise
- Have discussions about what you read
- Have fun social time unrelated to books or reading
- Have a deadline to at least read 1 book a month (which helps you get more reading done!)
- Sometimes the book selected is a dud and you’ve spent time and money on it
- Occasionally the pressure to read the book club book can trigger a reading rut
- Until you go there’s no way to know if the book club is a good fit for you
- Logistics can get messy (bought the book and the book changed, wrote the address down wrong, showed up 40 minutes early, etc.)
- Growing potential to keep pushing the books on your personal TBR off until ‘next week’
I doubt this will be a spoiler but I am an advocate of trying. It’s a low stress, low pressure avenue to meet book lovers and talk about one of the many things we love: books! Reflecting back, in the 7 books clubs I’ve participated in, the people have always been lovely, loving and even when the club wasn’t the best fit, I still am grateful to have met new awesome bookworms.
Where do you stand on book clubs? Are you a part of one or a few?
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Featured image via Cheshire Library