The thing about a good book is that it worms its way inside your head. Long after you’ve closed it, you’re still thinking about the book’s themes, imagining alternative endings/beginnings/plotlines/characters, mulling over what worked and what didn’t, and – worst case scenario – hearing the book’s characters coming alive as the voices in your head. Are you nodding and “mmm-hmm”-ing? How about discussing your latest read with fellow bibliophiles? And, where better to do that than at a book club?
A book club is a reading group. Usually, members of the group read a selected book/s before a (regular) book club meeting, at which they chat about, dissect, and opine about said book/s or other bookish topics. (Often, these dialogues transpire over food and wine, but this is optional, as is digressing from the topic at hand and talking about everything else that’s happened since you last saw each other.)
There are many reasons that individuals choose to join a book club, and many more that make them invaluable. Here are some of the top reasons to join – or start – a book club.
How many times have you heard “I will read more” eagerly proclaimed at the start of a new year? Like all of those well-meaning resolutions, by the time February rolls around, the enthusiasm has often dwindled. As a member of a book club you and your reading habits are accountable to others, and you are guaranteed to, at the very least, read the books required for each of the club’s get togethers.
Read What You Don’t:
We all have our favourite book genres, and, over the years, we tend to stick closer and cling tighter to their comforting formulas. Because book clubs are an amalgamation of multiple people with manifold literary tastes, you’ll often read books that you wouldn’t normally give a chance. This opens up your scope to new and varied genres, books and authors, and, even if you don’t get hooked, your bookish mind will be broadened.
Get More From Your Books:
Having the chance to discuss a book you’ve read with others is the opportunity to relive it. This time, however, you get to work through your various analyses, thoughts, likes and dislikes, and be thrown new perspectives that you may have missed, or overlooked. Not only does this added depth allow you to get so much more from the book, but it’s also a terrific way of exercising the brain and keeping its networks lively and stimulated.
Meet New Friends:
Often, it is friends or family that decide to begin a reading group, or it is a friend or family member that invites you to join their club. Chances are, though, that you won’t know everyone attending. But, over time, with recurring meetings, and regular socialising over literature, bonding will happen and these other members will become your friends (if in doubt, read a book called The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler).
Most importantly, book clubs are a wonderful outlet for fun. You already enjoy reading, or you wouldn’t be considering spending an evening every week/fortnight/month discussing that very activity. It’s a way to spend a morning/afternoon/evening out, mixing and mingling over a topic that you take pleasure in. And, as far as entertainment goes, this is a wonderfully inexpensive night out. Best of all, you get to share your passion with others, inspiring each other as you ravish and devour the words that have been woven and carved into the tales and stories that you now discuss.