You like books. No, scratch that – you LURVVVEEEE books! Your local courier is sick of delivering those little rectangular parcels of joy to your door, you stalk your favourite authors on social media and you spend more time organising your bookshelf than you do your own kitchen ( seriously, those cupboards are not going to clean themselves, you know)
But……something feels incomplete.
You realise you have this strong, burning desire to talk about the book you have just finished reading. You want to share your opinions about that lacklustre ending or that sparkling dialogue. The problem is, your family and friends don’t exactly fit the bookish bill. I mean, your spouse has already dropped the ultimatum – it’s me or the books ( oh, is that just my relationship?) So, what do you do? Who do you speak to? Where do lonely bookworms go to express their literary infatuations?
Well, let me introduce you to the humble book club!
Book clubs are the perfect way to meet other like-minded bibliophiles and take place in a variety of venues, such as libraries, cafes, pubs, bookshops- and if you are quite fond of your comfy pyjamas, even virtually online! Need further convincing? Here are my top 5 reasons why should you join a book club.
Make new friends
Let’s start with the best reason. Book clubs are an excellent way to make friends and form connections with other people whilst divulging in a common interest. Thanks to Captain Corona and his virus vessel of doom, many of us have been struggling with feelings of loneliness and isolation. But when the world finally opens up properly for business, joining book clubs will definitely be at the top of my to-do-list. And, if you are a bit on the introverted side like me, you have nothing to fear. Once upon a time, back in ye olde days, I was ( well, I still am) the unusually quiet, geeky girl who struggled to fit in with the popular kids. Then one break time, I went to my first library-based book club and I found my bookish tribe! As I sat back, basking in the lively discussion about the themes of Noughts & Crosses, I felt like I belonged! The whole purpose of a book club is to discuss and express opinions about the chosen book of the month, so you don’t have to worry about any awkward intrusive questions; it’s a relaxing, nurturing and comfortable environment.
Discover new genres
Are you that kind of reader that sticks to one genre and one genre only? Or perhaps, you are stuck in a reading rut. Well, I’m guilty as charged. I do have my favourite, go-to genres and authors when it comes to books. Admittedly, I tend to steer clear of any type of coming of age novel; I do not have the patience for whiny brats. However, I do understand the importance of occasionally mixing up genres. Book clubs will definitely add some spice to your reading list. Typically, book club members take it in turn to select new reading material, so you will be introduced to a range of genres and authors every month. Granted, you might not enjoy every book, but isn’t that part of the adventure?
Learn how to read critically
Harking back to my days at secondary school, my favourite subject was English Literature. Many of my classmates hated it.“ This is stupid! I know how to speak English, so what’s the point?”, they would grumble in protest.
But you wouldn’t hear a peep from me.
I loved reading a certain text – a script or a novel – and discovering the deeper meanings, themes and historical context hidden beneath the words. Still to this day, I read with an eagle eye and book clubs will teach you how to read beyond the text. Through a series of thought-provoking questions, such as “ Was the narrator’s voice compelling to you?”, you will quickly master the art of critical reading and thinking. If you are new to the game, my advice would be to jot down notes whilst you read. Remember: there’s no such thing as a right or wrong answer, so don’t feel embarrassed.
Gain new perspectives
Another wonderful reason why you should join a book club is for the diversity amongst readers. Book clubs appeal to all races, generations, cultures, religions and backgrounds. You will learn so much about the world, not only through the books but through the individual viewpoints and experiences of your fellow bookworms. For example, let’s just say the book of the month is a fictional romance based in Florence. Well, maybe, a book club member who has lived in Italy or comes from an Italian background could shed some light on the authenticity of the book. Sharing different perspectives brings people together.
So freaking fun!
If we put the books to one side for a second, book clubs are a damn fun social event full of laughs, banter and sometimes…wine! Just the combination of bookish companionship, healthy debate and intellectual conversation makes for a great evening. I promise you, you will have such a ball. Once a month is not enough!