I wrote this under the strong influence of wine because my conscience kept telling me that nobody was going to read a piece about book club. Well maybe it’s not about who reads it, but more the fact that I needed to write it, because I’m a passionate advocate of reading and connection. People should read. Children especially should read. For fun or for education, reading is the gateway drug to knowledge on a euphoric plane of something outside of us. (No, I do not condone children taking drugs.) (insert eye roll here).
People should connect on any level that best suits them. These days its mostly behind a small screen at our finger tips but for some, those that aren’t tech savvy and still enjoy the feeling of paper between their palms and people face to face, it’s all about books and connecting on a physical level. It’s all about Book Club Baby!!!!
I implore you…
Read fiction, so you don’t have to be in your own head all the time. Allow yourself the opportunity to delve into something totally relatable and laughable, or unimaginable and mysterious. Sometimes, our busiest days, days of laundry, traffic lights and phone calls, are the days we need our fiction the most.
Read non-fiction: at the very least just to learn something. Read it for an opportunity to find or enhance your level of compassion and understanding, to walk a few pages in someone else’s shoes, to be warned or to laugh so uncontrollably at the mishaps and misunderstandings of others. To travel, learn a new culture or language.
Read a memoir and find yourself coming out the other end being able to better understand or help a friend, to ask more sensitive questions or to simply relate. Even the saddest stories can make you laugh with appreciation.
Read a self-help book, (not my fave) but hey, we could all do with a little self-help, a little self-love and a little “me” time every now-and-then.
FFS read a comedy!! Force yourself to laugh if it’s the last thing you do. And you can read any of the previously mentioned genres to do that.
Don’t rip the comic books away from your children, or the books about boogas and farts; they’re reading. Don’t scoff at your mates that read romance novels: being able to orgasm just by reading, (no pictures) I applaud both the reader and the author. Don’t walk past the top ten most recommended books because out of fear you are conforming, they all do the rounds and the chances are they are actually good. But in saying that, don’t forget to wander: wander through the aisles of book stores, libraries, news agencies, second hand stores or even a friends book shelf, there is some amazing stuff hidden behind those with big colours, shiny covers and fancy advertising. The best books I’ve ever read were by word of mouth.
But I’m here to talk about book club. Do it. Join it. Create it. Reading a book is one thing but being able to take something that is usually an individual experience and turn it into an event of connection, communication, learning and enjoyment…well…what’s better than that?
We live in a world that is connecting us so deeply with technology that we’re forgetting to connect physically. And you know what, that is ok. But when it comes to good conversation, I like to do it in person; when it comes to drinking wine, I prefer social over closet (most times); and when it comes to delicious snacks, I like it when someone else makes it.
When people think of book club they think of old ladies and for some unknown reason I’ve noticed, knitting. When I found myself in a situation where I knew no one and I had no friend of a friend to connect me to other humans, I joined a book club. Book club gave/gives me a short term, achievable goal in a realistic time frame. It gives me something to look forward to once a month. It allows me to drink wine, eat snacks and indulge in good quality conversation without my toddler tugging at my arm. I can be an adult and use my brain and my personality……I can be myself.
So I urge you,buy, rent, borrow, download, swap, exchange or even write a book. Read, listen or be told a story. And then take it to book club and talk about it. Use the easily attainable book club questions for that particular book to prompt your discussion and go for it. The flow will come naturally. The uneasiness of meeting new people or discussing something outside your daily routine of a nine to five office job or wiping your child’s ass and crying into your coffee cup, will disappear within seconds of someone asking ‘So, what did you think of the book?’