5 Kinds of Book Clubs
You’ve probably read studies that tell you reading books makes you live longer, and that people who read fiction are more empathetic. Reading, simply put, is good for you. If you’re reading this blog, I don’t have to tell you any of this.
Those of us who read a lot know that our vocabulary expands, we think about things we wouldn’t otherwise ponder, and we are taken places we wouldn’t otherwise go. We stretch and learn, are consoled and challenged.
So how to get more reading into our lives? Have you ever thought of joining or starting a book club? Or maybe you’re already in one. These five ideas for book club themes could work well for an individual meeting, or for an overall theme for a book club.
1. Silent Book Club
I first heard of silent book clubs through the postings of Vicki Ziegler who blogs at Book Gaga. Vicki’s group meets at a cafe/bookstore/record shop and she describes the process here. Each group can adapt their own set of rules, but generally the concept is to assemble, get a beverage, introduce yourself, have a quick chat, then get down to one hour of silent reading. The idea of the silent book club is quite widespread as you can see when perusing the silent book club site.
2. Poetry Book Club
I’ve long wanted to have a poetry–only book club. There are many ways one could go about this, as outlined on Bustle:
“When you host a traditional book club, one of the first questions you have to answer is, "What kinds of books will we read?" The same rule applies for poetry book clubs, too. Before you get started, decide how you want to run your club: will you read one collection a month, and then get together to discuss it? Will you select one poem to deep-dive into each week? Will you chose a poet rather than a book each month, and exchange your favorite works with one another at the meeting? Will you choose a theme, like nature or love, and ask members to bring appropriate poems to share with the group?”
I think poets and publishers of poetry could get in on the reading guide phenomena and give this idea a boost. One of the book clubs I facilitate at the library is reading Maggie Smith’s Good Bones, and it was really helpful for me when I discovered that there was a free reading guide available.
If you don’t have enough poetry lovers in your immediate circle, you could even join an online poetry book club at The Rumpus.
3. The Any Book Book Club
This type of book club is great for those who like to choose their own books and who like to share a good read with others. If you’re the sort of person who dreads finding out what the next book selection is for your club, then the Any Book book club could be for you. Members might just talk about one book that they loved and why, but depending on how many are in the group, could talk about two or three books or maybe a single author’s work. This is a great way to find out about new books and to amplify a book or author that you admire, too.
4. The Living Women Book Club
You may have recently read the article on LitHub titled, “10 Books to Read by Living Women (Instead of These 10 by Dead Men.” Supporting living women writers is something of a priority for me, as I happen to be one, so you know my bias in this regard. But why not support a living author? Why not select a book that could use a little attention, too, instead of the big name, award winning ones. Choose some slightly obscure author from a small press. I think you’d be pleasantly surprised at what you might find.
5. The Make Something Book Club
This is a book club where while you discuss a book you also knit, or embroider, or crochet. There’s even a book you could start with, titled, Friday Night Knitting Club. Maybe you could make blankets for babies or toques for the homeless. There are a lot of knitting for charity organizations out there if you’re interested in finding out more.
What could be more relaxing than making something and talking about a book? I could see working on an embroidery that would pertain to the book at hand, or something a bit more subversive. I could also see combining the recent “paint night” trend with an art book club.