Columns > Published on December 18th, 2015

5 Reasons Why You Should Join A Book Club

What do you want to do accomplish by the end of the year? There are only a couple of weeks left, but that is plenty of time to shake things up and make a change for the better. One of the best things I did for myself in 2015 was decide to join a book club. Ours began rather informally and spontaneously — a friend suggested that we read a recent bestseller and get together to talk about it sometime. What was pitched as a one time, fun gathering eventually became a monthly event, and it is something I look forward to every time. 

Do you need some more convincing? Here are 5 reasons why you should absolutely join a book club.

1. Fostering Friendships

This is an obvious reason, but very valid. If you are meeting up with the same people every month (or two weeks, or week? Go crazy!) you're going to get to know them better and better as time goes on. Whether you are already an established friend group looking to mix up your hang outs or a group of strangers who only have a love of reading in common, seeing this literary side of people is eye opening and exciting. Your book club will become something you can rely on, much like a strong friendship.

When you commit to a book club, be sure to bring your opinions about the book you read as well as your appetite.

2. All That Food And Drink

Sure, I'm excited to talk about our book club's latest read, but what is also wonderful about being part of a book club is the food and drink everyone brings. I am usually one of the people who rushes to the liquor store on the way and brings a bottle of red wine, but I have also been known to break out the exotically flavored hummus and crackers combo. It doesn't stop there, though. Oftentimes folks bring cheese, salads, brownies, and a wide variety of homemade snacks. Most recently our book club met during brunch time, so there were mimosas, breakfast pizza, and pancakes for all. So when you commit to a book club, be sure to bring your opinions about the book you read as well as your appetite.

3. Experiencing Books Outside Of Your Wheelhouse

Do you tend to stick to one genre when you read? I didn't think I did, until I started keeping track of what I was reading. It was all literary fiction, and way more male authors than female authors. Yikes! I shifted my own reading habits as a result, and being a part of a book club makes it even easier to be aware of what you read and try out new genres. I have been delighted by how much I enjoyed titles I would not have looked at twice otherwise. It's also fun to see what kind of books your book club pals will choose, too. It's just another way to get to know a person.

4. The Other Conversations That Happen

You'll start off talking about the book. You'll speak to what you loved, what didn't feel realistic to you, your favorite characters, and key chapters. Then, someone will bring up the day's big news story, a new restaurant in town, or their Saturday night gone wrong, and suddenly you are on a completely different conversation track. The transition from book talk to simply chatting is always fun for me. I find that a lot of it has to do with how the group responds to the book. If it sparks heated debate, you may spend much of your time discussing it, but there will always be the book that doesn't inspire a deep discussion. Well hey, that's okay! With the fostering of friendships and all that food, you have plenty to keep the group occupied.

5. You'll Be Reading Consistently

This is the big one for me. Being a part of a book club means I will be reading at least one book a month no matter what. Usually, I'll finish it early and grab something else to read in the meantime. So, while you may all meet to discuss one book, you can also talk about everything you have been reading in the meantime. Believe me, reading is a habit you want to pick up. It is easy to forget to make time for it, but if you join a book club it will become a top priority.

With the holidays lumbering toward us at full speed, it is easy to focus on all you have to do for everyone else. Don't forget about yourself, though! If you've been meaning to treat yourself to a new experience, I highly suggest joining a book club. I look forward to it every month, and I have a feeling you will, too. 

Happy reading in the new year!

About the author

Christine J. Schmidt is a writer originally from New Jersey. After receiving her BFA in Dramatic Writing from SUNY Purchase, she worked at Seattle Repertory Theatre as their artistic literary intern. She recently left Brooklyn, where she was a bookseller and events host at WORD, to reside in Los Angeles. She has previously written for New York Theatre Review, and her plays have been read and produced at theaters in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Washington. Coffee is her favorite thing.

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