Can we talk about book clubs? I have never joined or attended one but I was recently asked if I wanted to join one. A friend of mine was telling me she wanted to get into her local book club. Another friend offered to get her in. As they both spoke to each other next to me, it was as if they were talking in code. Reading between the lines, it seemed as if she needed a secret password or something to get in. I was intrigued.
She kindly asked me if I might be interested and I didn’t give an official reply. I just asked a few questions about when and where. I was already put off when she told me they got home at 10:30pm on a Thursday. I know, on a Thursday. Quite honestly, I like to be bed by ten o’clock for the news with a peppermint tea but I wasn’t sure whether I should confess to that. But, considering I am supposed to be an award-winning blogger and an aspiring author, it suddenly dawned on me that I had no idea what happens at a book club. Do they just sit quietly in the corner and read a chapter then drive home? Do they talk about the chapter, which I assume could be tricky if some people have read more than others? Or do they just sit around drinking wine and use the book as a coaster? I really had no clue. And my biggest fear…what if someone chooses a book from the 18th century which is over 450 pages long? I assume that just means you need more wine. I started to wonder if books clubs weren’t about books at all.
To broaden my knowledge for book clubs, I found myself searching the world-wide web for answers. Some articles suggested that some book clubs have a reputation for being largely full of slightly unwilling participants who had neglected to read the book (that would probably be me) and secondly, only used the book club as an excuse to open a bottle of wine and eat nibbles (also me).
Despite my wandering thoughts on book clubs, apparently, they are taking the world by storm and there are over 50,000 book clubs in the UK alone. I get it, we love to read and I would imagine it could be quite nice to discuss a book with friends. To open a lively debate on the subject. To share what we loved and what we didn’t. That is the true magic of books.
But can our love for paperbacks survive in a digital age? I do hope we can still live in a society where e-books and printed books can live in harmony together. Living in a digital age, this fast-paced world around us is constantly telling us to speed up. However, sometimes it feels like it is the power of books that urges us to slow down. And despite my busy work schedule and constant ping of emails and numerous group messages, I find sanctuary in the pages of paperback books (never a digital version). I love to have alone time with a book and always only from two places - either the bath or in bed. There is nothing quite like it. I have at least four or five books stacked next to my bed at any one time. There is always room for more information and more stories. It is not just me that feels that way, research has shown that reading is one of the best ways to relax. A recent study showed that it only takes six minutes of reading to slow your heart rate and ease tension in your muscles. So, reading could be more beneficial than we had given it credit for.
So, back to the book club debate. The jury is out but I am still not convinced if a book club is suited to me. Not unless you want to recommend Jilly Cooper’s Riders, because, let’s be honest, that’s a good conversation starter with wine and nibbles.
My advice for joining a book club? The best way is to read is on your own. It will always be more than just words. Reading a book is about the experience and the journey the story takes you on. And…if you are not already reading, Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming”, then goodness gracious me woman, what are you doing with your life?
The only book club I am in…is with myself.