If you are expecting a post about an intellectual book group and recommendations on the latest Pulitzer Prize-listed novels, then this is not it!!!
I have been part of a ‘Book Club’ for a couple of years, made up of a group of local school Mums, which started simply as an excuse to get together and to encourage ourselves to read more.
Reading books often gets put the bottom of the priority list when there is so much else to do. Spare time for reading is usually at the end of the day when most of us have trouble keeping our eyes open to finish a page, let alone a chapter!!! Either that or we are catching up on daily news, social media or the current box set. So being involved in a Book Club, moves reading a novel back up the priority scale. It encourages us to put aside the mobile device, turn off the TV and spend what little ‘down’ time we may have on getting through book in-time for the next meeting.
In fact, Book Club has made me make time for reading. I am a person that always has something I’m supposed to be doing, I’m always ‘on the go’. Taking time-out in the middle of the day or devoting an evening to read a book is something I’m still learning to do and not feel guilty about. It’s ALLOWED! With everything I’ve been through in the last few years, I now finally understand the importance of slowing down and taking time out to relax. Book Club has, surprisingly, played a role in this.
What else Book Club does is commit you to a regular meet-up with your friends – and what can be better than that??? With our busy lives, it is often hard to find, or stick to, diary dates for a good girlie catch-up. Weeks and months can easily slip by and before you know it, you haven’t caught up with your mates for yonks. And while this doesn’t usually impact a true friendship, it is much nicer to have an excuse to see your mates on a more regular basis and keep up-to-date with each other.
With my Book Club, we set regular 6-weekly meetings. Of course, there is a lot of chatter that doesn’t involve the book… and there is lots of wine (our nearest and dearest mockingly refer to it as ‘Wine Club’!!) In terms of discussing the book, this depends on the book itself and the topics it throws up for consideration. We usually rely on the standard Book Club questions nowadays at the end of a book, or find some online. The general theme of a story is enough to stimulate quite interesting conversation.
Even though the books we select may not be incredibly high-brow, the discussions they provoke can be both hilarious and heart-rending. We’ve learnt a lot about each other through Book Club. Responding to the variety of subject matter the books present, we’ve revealed personal histories we might not have usually shared and we’ve talked on a level which might have otherwise felt uncomfortable. As much as we laugh, there have been tears too as the characters and plots resonate and stir up emotions. So for a relatively new group of friends, we have gelled and developed quite a special bond.
So there is no denying the power of Book Club. Reading more often and seeing your girlfriends more often – in my view, two of life’s great pleasures; feeding both the mind and soul (but less so, our livers!!)