by Tabi Falcone
When you think of a book club meeting, I imagine you immediately think of suburban moms with sweaters over their shoulders gossiping about what the PTA president said earlier that week at back to school night. While that may be some people’s realities (no judgment here!), book clubs have become much more mainstream to all walks of life outside of the suburbs. From meeting at a farmhouse in rural Kansas to a bar in New York City, book clubs are popping up in every American demographic. There are many different reasons why joining a book club is a great idea for a modern woman.
The most common reason people join a book club is for the people in the club themselves. A book club is a low commitment social engagement that brings together women who have similar interests. Often started by women who are already engaged in a shared experience, such as attending the same church or having children in the same school, this continues to build your sense of community. You will also most likely make new friends since most members will, at some point, add new people from outside the original circle into the book club. This engagement will get you out of the house at least once a month, depending on the frequency of your meetings, and will expand your social circle. The way most book clubs are structured includes a social time at the beginning or end of the meeting (or both if you’re lucky!), which will almost always include light snacks and wine. When scheduled with enough foresight, this will be scheduled on a rotation to ensure that the members take turns evenly in hosting and providing snacks.
After we finish school many of us go through a detox process where we avoid anything that reminds us of the massive quantities of studying we put ourselves through for years, and it isn’t always easy to pick the habit back up. While we don’t necessarily want to get back into the habit of reading biology textbooks, adding back leisurely reading can significantly reduce stress levels, as books act as an escape from reality. Joining a book club forces you to prioritize reading at least one book a month, which can act as a snowball effect to reading more books.
Not only will this help you read more books, it will help you read different books that you wouldn’t necessarily choose otherwise. Most book clubs have a draft once a year where the members suggest books and at this meeting, the year’s schedule is created. Because all of the members are suggesting books, you are almost guaranteed to have books that you haven’t already read, and wouldn’t pick up on your own, added to the schedule.
With this diversity in book selections, you will also experience diversity in opinions on the books you read. Interpretations of books are very often affected by our life experiences, so by discussing with people other than yourself, you will view these books through different lenses. As different opinions on books and experiences come together, lighthearted debates often occur, which will keep your brain sharp in a time of your life where you may have gotten into a learning slump due to other responsibilities taking priority. So get yourself signed up for a book club, sit back and enjoy the rewards!