I have a love/hate relationship with books. I enjoyed books growing up, but once they required me to read more and more books in school, I started hating it, because I did not have a choice in what I was reading, but had to read whatever they told me to read. Instead of using my own opinions in book reports, I used the summaries and opinions of people on the internet, who had actually read the book. All that to say: I used to love books, then hated them, and now am starting to fall in love with them once again. I recently picked reading books back up and I joined a book club. It has been great. It has enriched my reading experience and helped me feel part of a community.
So here are some of my reasons to join a book club and why I think you should join one too:
We as moms live busy lives. Self-care is oh so important. We already spend the majority of our time on screens (computers, iPads, phones and alike), so sometimes it is nice to put your screens away and just curl up with your favorite beverage and a nice book. Plus, you can read anytime and anywhere. You can read when your little one plays, you can read when they nap or go to sleep (this is the majority of my reading time), you can read when they take a bath, you can read on the couch, in the bed, outside, in the bathroom; you name it. Even if you read one page at a time, you can make good progress with your monthly book. Plus, it is one of the most affordable ways for entertainment! You can get most books for free from the library and if for some reason you can’t use the library, you usually pay less than $10 a month for one book a month.
- Diverse books
In my particular book club (there are many book clubs around town; the Memphis Mom Collective even has their own book club!), a different person chooses a different book each month. Some book club picks are books that you would have never personally picked or read otherwise. Each person has different likes and dislikes, and different genres they like to read. We have read everything from fiction to non-fiction. We have read mystery books, romance books, sci-fi books and more. It is also fun to pick one yourself. I have gotten to pick a book once so far, and I was able to pick one from a Dutch author that was translated into English, so I was able to bring some of my own culture into the club.
Being in a book club makes sure I read regularly. We read one book a month. That is all the volume I can handle right now, but I am loving it! I love the fact that I can count on a diverse book pick (see my point above) and that I am able to push through with it. Having a deadline of the date that the bookclub will be held definitely helps me finish the book as well. Even if I don’t finish the book before the book club date, I will usually finish it not long after, because I feel like this is part of my commitment to the group.
- A sense of community
Reading the same book with many different people creates a sense of community. Even though everybody is different, everyone all rallies around the same book. Even if you have nothing else in common and you are all completely different from each other, you have the book to share. I have been part of a book club for about a year now, and I have enjoyed getting to know different people from different backgrounds. It is fun to share opinions and even get to try different foods as we usually have a potluck in combination with our bookclub. Even during a global pandemic a book club and a sense of community was possible, as we met through Zoom. I was always looking forward to meeting with our club and getting a little bit of ‘normalcy’ during these crazy times, even if it was ‘digital socialization’.
- Intellectual discussion
The person who picked the book is the one who leads the discussion. If you were confused at all about the book, you have people who can clear it up for you. If you have strong opinions about the book, you have people you can share it with. Whatever you thought about the book, there is an open place to share it. Discussion questions really enrich the experience of the book. Because the book is not just a book anymore, it is an open-ended intellectual discussion with your book club.
So if you need some entertainment, want diversity and accountability, crave intellectual discussion, and having a sense of community is important to you, I recommend you join a bookclub!
If a bookclub is not for you, but you still want some fun books to read, here are some of my favorite titles that we have read in the bookclub in the past year:
- The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
- Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
- How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
- The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
- The Leavers by Lisa Ko