January 5th will mark my book club's four year anniversary. Team Don’t Read Crappy Books (sorry about the name, but we have T-shirts and everything – we think we’re funny) has hit a few bumps along the way, but I can still confidently declare it a rousing success.
In my next post I’ll share some tips for keeping your book club alive, but it may just be that you need convincing to join one in the first place. With that in mind, here are my top five reasons to start or join a book club:
- TO DEVELOP FRIENDSHIPS
Book clubs offer a great way to make new friends or, as is the case for me, to stay in touch with old ones. After years of talking about it, my college friends and I finally got around to starting one in 2014 because we were finishing school, changing jobs, starting families, and spreading out throughout Utah and Salt Lake Counties. We weren’t seeing each other as often, and book club provided a structured way to get together regularly. Those ladies are my closest friends, and I think meeting every other month for book club is a significant part of that.
- TO EXPAND YOUR READING HORIZONS
It’s easy to get stuck in a personal reading rut and avoid new genres, but in a club of diverse readers, you’re sure to avoid that. There have been a few books chosen by my club members that I never would have read on my own and initially felt wary about, but they’ve ended up sparking great discussion. Book club sometimes forces me out of my reading comfort zone, and that’s a good thing.
- TO HAVE REQUIRED READING
This might sound weird (who wants homework, right?), but hear me out. As a librarian, I read constantly, but when Team Don’t Read Crappy Books was founded, I was in the midst of grad school and barely found time for recreational reading. Our club forced me to prioritize reading, and it was a delight to read for fun without feeling guilty about it.
- TO THINK ABOUT BOOKS IN A NEW WAY
Outside of school, we sometimes get out of the practice of reading critically. Knowing that an in depth discussion is coming causes me to look for themes and profound quotes and to think them through more deeply than I might when just reading casually. I love hearing my friends’ perspectives and often leave our meetings with an entirely different approach to the book than I came in with.
- TO PLAY MATCHMAKER
Books are my friends. I always wait anxiously for my chance to choose our book club read (it’s my turn again soon!) because it’s an opportunity to introduce the people I love to the stories and words and characters that mean so much to me. What could be better than that?
So, in the spirit of New Year's resolutions, why not start a book club of your own in 2018? We even have book club sets to make it easier.