Building Better Book Clubs: Five Reasons To Join a Book Club

February 9, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

is a series of posts focused on all things book club related: discussions, listicles, how to’s and more!


Book clubs have given me so much in the last few years. As you saw in my first post in this series, I love them. They provide me with so much and I could honestly rave on and on about their merits. But, I’ll spare you.

Instead– here are 5 reasons you should join a book club.

1 – You have a wonderful excuse to take time for yourself.

Whether you are participating in person or remotely, a book club is a great excuse to make time for yourself. Grab a cup of tea, settle in, and take some time to read. After all! This is for book club. Schedule time on your calendar for book club and don’t let others take it over. Get away from the kids, or the mess, or the chores or whatever– take some time for you. After all, your book club should be an escape. To me, they are always the highlights of my month.

2- You will read things you never would have picked up.

…And you can force people to read your favorite books! I mean… uh…

But seriously, I have picked up books I never would have considered reading. When I started this journey, I read almost exclusively fantasy and historical fiction. Now I read books in almost every genre, and I love them. Authors I’ve never heard of are some of my favorites. I found a passion for YA, for essays (ESSAYS?!), and for audiobooks. Now I am open to reading whatever someone puts in front of me, as long as they are open to my critique. That said…

3 – Some books are begging to be discussed and dissected.

There is nothing better than a good book debate. The great thing is that everyone has different opinions.  Thanks to these discussions, I’ve learned to see the world in a different way. conversations might start about the book, but they will eventually venture into related themes in the world. I’ve heard stories of people’s lives and learned more about the human condition through these discussions than any where else.

Plus, books evoke emotional responses from people. You want to share you love for that ‘ship, or your disgust at those dumb decisions or why that character was portrayed that way. Books parallel our lives and we relate to them. In fact, I have one book club I host where someone cries almost every time because we are discussing some seriously painful things. I am a better person for these discussions.

4 – You will learn to read critically.

I’m not saying that you will suddenly become a literary savant and spout of deep analyses of what the book club just read. Maybe? I mean that you’ll be paying attention to what you read. You’ll find themes are easier to see, you will better understand what make “good” writing, and you’ll learn what you love. This is an easily transferable skill. Suddenly, you’ll be more eloquent in your work emails and presentations.  You’ll find themes and writing techniques popping out in the news articles you are reading. Heck- you might even start searching for different news sources! Why? Because of book club.

5 – You will make new friends.

This, in my opinion, is one of the best things about book clubs. In the past year, I have developed and expanded friendships in ways I never expected. I honestly think that people want to spend more time with me because they know I am willing to share my opinions and listen to theirs.

Book clubs foster strong relationships. There is food, lively discussion, and respect. You learn to debate and to listen to everyone’s opinion in their turn. The respect provided through book club discussion fosters friendships. These conversations will let you get to know your book club members better and better– they will be become people you can rely on. In fact, my book club friends are some of the best friends I’ve ever had. Whether they were my friends before the book club was formed or not, they are amazing people. I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

 


What do you think?

  • What are other reasons you have joined book clubs?
  • What do you get out of being a part of a book club?
  • Do you disagree with any of my opinions?

27 Comments

  • ChicNerdReads February 9, 2017 at 9:39 am

    I absolutely loved this!! I’ve always wanted to be a part of a book club but time isn’t really by my side and the book club I do want to join, their hours for meet up conflict with my work schedule *cries*
    But I can see how all these points come about when being in a book club. Because not only do you get your point of view of a book, but you also see others point of view of a book and I find that fascinating!

    • Jackie B February 14, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      It’s the worst when you want to go to a book club meeting but something less interesting conflicts. That happens more often than I’d like. But, I feel honored that I have so many book clubs in my life. 🙂

      One of my favorite things about book clubs is hearing the opinions of others. Particularly when I don’t agree with them! I’ve found my personal ratings have changed after book club discussions, too. It’s amazing.

      • ChicNerdReads February 14, 2017 at 12:29 pm

        Yes!!! I think hearing out other differentiating opinions is plus

  • Samantha February 9, 2017 at 11:34 am

    I’m loving these posts! Keep them coming 😀
    I definitely agree on #2. I can’t always get a hold of the books chosen by the book club(s) I’m in, but when I do, they’re usually books I’ve never heard of or considered reading. I try my best to give it a few pages read. We’re not obligated to finish, but we’re welcome to join the discussion, which is a relief.
    I’ve joined some book clubs because I’m interested in certain genres, etc. and want some reading recs. So even though I can’t always get a hold of the book or take part in the discussion (like for twitter book clubs), I now have a growing list of recommended reads.

    • Jackie B February 14, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      Thanks, Samantha! That means a lot to me. 🙂
      Man, isn’t it frustrating when you can’t get a hold of a book for book club? I try not to buy books unless I absolutely have to, but even then… That said, my TBR will never stop growing! I can’t keep up, but I like it that way.
      Like you said, it’s a great way to expand your genres. I have definitely found amazing new authors and passions for genres I never though I’d like that way. Any books in particular you are glad you found through a book club?

  • Diana February 9, 2017 at 11:42 am

    I love this series and I agree with you on all the 5 points.Especially on number 2 and number 5.My bookclub was formed online but we soon met and friendships were formed.Last year in April,one of the members,Viv,died in a road accident and going through that sort of made us even closer though I wish I had known Viv longer and not just a year .Great post!

    • Jackie B February 14, 2017 at 1:25 pm

      Oh, Diana, I am so sorry to hear about your friend! How heartbreaking. I know that my book club friends are some of the people who are the most important to me in the whole world. I can’t imagine what that would be like. I’m glad you all made the jump from online to in person and are now cementing those friendships. I hope they last you a lifetime!

  • Brendon February 9, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Yes, I love this post! All the reasons you laid out are spot on. I wish I had more of a commitment to a book club but it’s hard for me to commit to a book someone else picks haha.

    How do you cope with reading a book that just is not for you?!

    • Jackie B February 14, 2017 at 1:31 pm

      I find that it’s easy for me to commit to most of the books I’m asked to read. They might not be my absolute favorite book of all time, but they are rarely bad. I like pushing myself to read outside my comfort zone when it comes to genre and writing style. That said, there have been times where I DNF’d the book. I’m actively in six book clubs, so it’s not a huge deal to me if I skip a meeting here or there. Sometimes, I will DNF and go to still chat about what people liked or didn’t like. Occasionally I’ll really push myself to finish a book which I know will be controversial so I can more clearly debate the reason why I disliked it so much.

      I guess it’s a bit of a game I play with myself.

  • Books, Vertigo and Tea February 9, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    All of these are the very reasons that I continue to tell myself I really should just try joining a book club. I mean look how many friends I have already made just by being a part of the book community. And I most certainly love participating in a great book discussion.

    But alas, as I have mentioned.. I struggle with any form of group or buddy reading. I just do not work like that. I feel pressured and too obligated. It then becomes a chore. I think you said you will be addressing that with this fabulous feature in the near future 😉

    And if this comment goes through.. then yay <3

    • Jackie B February 14, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      Yup– it’s on the to-write about list. I have surprised myself with how many ideas I have for future posts. I don’t feel like I’m all that creative when it comes to my posts, but I’m feeling inspired now, I guess.

      Great book discussion can come in all forms, you know. We definitely don’t want reading to become a chore for you! It’s important to find the balance which works best for you. And if that means book clubbing in a non-conventional way, then so be it. 🙂

  • LizScanlon February 10, 2017 at 5:10 am

    Love this post! This is brilliant…
    I have been thinking of organising a local book club or a writing group (amateurish of course) just to have something to do myself. This is a good list and if you don’t mind I may reference it in the future in a quick local ad I may put out to scope out interest from people to start a club?
    I haven’t been in any book clubs myself yet but I think I’d love it for exactly the reasons you pointed out 🙂

    • Jackie B February 14, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Ohmygosh! I’d be honored. 🙂 I have a future post lined up about starting a book club, but let me know in the meantime if there is anything you want to know. I’ve done this three times now and it’s always a ton of fun. I really enjoy organizing them. It’s an incredibly fulfilling experience for me.

      No book clubs in your life to this point? Well, we had best fix that. 🙂 That said, book blogging can often be a variation on book clubbing. While you aren’t always reading the same book, we are discussing them. And sometimes you do find someone who has read the same book!

  • Ann Marie February 10, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Yes, yes, yes to all each of these points! I met some of my best friends at book club I joined eight years ago. We are an eclectic bunch but we all have a few characteristics in common. We are open-minded, forthright, and always looking to learn from one another. A great book club is a safe space to express your ideas and opinions. We love a lively, respectful debate!

    • Jackie B February 14, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Ann Marie! And thank you for sharing your story. What a wonderful set of unifying characteristics! No wonder you guys have a close knit book club. It’s so important that we have a safe space to discuss ideas, bookish or non. And book clubs are a great way to start that journey.
      What sort of books does your book club read?

  • Laila@BigReadingLife February 11, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Yes, the second one is very true in my case! Nice post!

    • Jackie B February 14, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      I’m so glad! What are a few books you ended up reading thanks for book clubs which you don’t think you would have read otherwise?
      (What an awkward sentence!)

  • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom February 11, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Another fantastic post Jackie!!! I agree with each point you made. I also like my book club because I am fascinated with how two people can read the same book and walk away with such a different take-away from it. I also like getting new perspectives on things in the book that I may have missed, or may have seen differently. I look forward to my book club meeting every month 🙂

    • Jackie B February 14, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      D’aw, thanks, Amanda. Yes! I love it when people have severely disagreeing perspectives for the same book. The discussion is always quite lively. Plus, I learn so much more about the book, my friends, and myself than I ever expected to. Sometimes, I’ll even change my own opinion of a book I’ve read. What a wonderful journey.
      I’m so glad I’m not the only one looking forward to book club each month. 🙂

  • Anna @MyBookishDream February 12, 2017 at 4:22 am

    Amazing post! 🙂 I have never been part of a book club. The only time I had to discuss books is in class or when I’m buddy reading a book with someone. I should definitely join a book club, it does seem like a lot of fun and I know I would enjoy myself. I definitely would need to join an in person book club, instead of an online one (those don’t tend to work for me, I just never end up reading the books). Now I only need to find one, which is going to be interesting since I tend to read in English and live in a German speaking country…So I need to see if I can find an English one or if I’m going to have to start reading in German more. XD

    • Jackie B February 14, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      Thanks, Anna! That means a lot to me. 😀
      There are certainly pluses and minuses to both in person and online book clubs. It’s great you know yourself well enough to try and find an in person group. Perhaps you can create your own book club? It would be a great opportunity for others to practice their English literacy, too. Or, perhaps you can just start reading more German! There are probably some amazing local authors you haven’t read since they only publish in German…
      I’d love to hear more about this journey as you take it. Let me know what you find out!

  • Rebecca Karr February 14, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Obviously, I heart book club. And I loved this post and the series (and blog more generally). In this post, especially points 2, 3, and 5. I very much have a style of book and my personal reading self-selects into what I know (or at least am sort of sure) that I will like. Using book club as a chance to branch out increases my reward of reading something I otherwise wouldn’t pick up because I will have people to talk about it with and a community to contribute to. Plus it builds that community of other people who know what I like, which has led to some awesome recommendations.

    And my book club friends are my best. I honestly don’t know what my life would be like if Laura and Lexi hadn’t brought up kid lit books at that snowy day in New Haven. Other than missing something. <3

    • Jackie B February 15, 2017 at 9:32 am

      YAY! It makes me so happy to see you commenting here. Obviously, this post is mostly inspired by your ladies! I completely agree that my life would be totally different without Kids Lit book club. Heck, without any of my book clubs.

      I love your observation about the increased reward of reading. I’ve definitely found that a book I only moderately enjoyed I appreciated more after book club was done discussing. It’s so true! Also, you’re the queen of recommendations. I’m still perfecting that skill set, for sure.

  • Read Diverse Books February 15, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    I miss being in a book club! 🙁 Every since I started blogging, I placed too much focus on the online aspect of reading and community, not the off-line one! Once my work schedule becomes more manageable and less stressful, I will make it a goal to join an off-line book club again! Thanks for the reminder 🙂

    • Jackie B February 17, 2017 at 12:30 pm

      No problem, Naz! I think both in-person and online options are great, though. You can certain get all sorts of different things from both types. I hope that your work schedule becomes more manageable quickly. That can be frustrating, whether you are trying to make time for more activities or not!

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