A book club is a group of people who meet to discuss a book or books that they have read and express their opinions about the book/s. Each one has an opinion on a book; the gathering helps to understand each member’s likes, dislikes, etc. Members of the club meet frequently in libraries, book stalls, cafe’s or member’s homes. These days there are online forums also for discussing books. There are many business organizations which encourage employees to read more, therefore, allowing them to have book club and discussions. Progressive educational institutions make library reading compulsory for encouraging their students to hold book discussions regularly. As a teacher of management studies, I frequently give my students book review assignments.
In my opinion and experience people who are passionate readers live longer. One research conducted in UK proved that people who were transitioning from the workforce to retirement and enjoyed reading and discussed books with others stayed healthy and enjoyed longer life. The researchers explained that social relationships are critical for managing the transition to retirement successfully. In fact, the benefits of these groups were found to be more encouraging than doing regular physical exercise. Book clubs allow combining an activity like reading with friendship which has multiple benefits because it not only lowers stress and increases social connections, but, it also allows book discussion which promotes the growth of new brain cells. Yes, please do not ignore the benefits. Book clubs give companionship and intellectual stimulation; thinking quickly during book club discussions stimulates the brain cells.
You meet interesting people at book clubs. Some good books of which we have not heard of get discussed. You read things that you wouldn’t otherwise read. You best friends may not be great readers. So in the club you come across people who read up some interesting book and discuss. Sometimes it is sheer fun just to chat. All book clubs – no matter how serious, involve some chit chat. And that’s how it should be. It’s nice to have mix of men and women in the club. Books bring you closer to people. A similarity in ideas and thinking drives you closer to some people. We thrive on friendships as we grow older. And book clubs are a great excuse to make and keep friends. When you join a club, for the sake of discussion, it gives you a push to finish reading few books.
We all have heard from schools days that books are mental food for the brain. Yet many of us struggle with sitting down and actually finishing them regardless of our best intent. Because of some ardent readers in the club, it puts enough pressure on us to finish reading few books.
You gain new perspectives. Sometimes the pieces you read in literature clubs are books you would just ignore on the bookshelf. By being introduced to new genres and styles, you see the perspectives of different people and different cultures. And the more perspective you gain, the more you grow.
In case you want to start a book club, the ideal size of a book club is between eight to fifteen members. Restrict membership to fifteen. Because each member must speak, in a larger group people, who don’t speak, get ignored. A great way to gather a diverse group is to invite three to four people and ask each of them to invite their two to three friends. Discuss with everyone their genre preference and decide upon the first book option, the permanent meeting location and time, how the book club will run, and the goals for the club.
If you haven’t yet joined a book club, please do it immediately. It has wonderful effects. A good story gets better if you have someone to share it with. And it could be better than sharing it with a group of people who have read it, too. Therefore, starting your own book club or joining an ongoing club is a good endeavour.