Tuesday, 9 April 2013

5 great reasons to join a book group

Nobody could accuse me of being a party animal. I like getting dressed up, love drinking champagne but want to be home in bed by 10 and can turn into a very grumpy pumpkin if I'm not. So imagine my joy at being invited to a book club that meets during the day, over coffee and cake, where no-one is competing to prove how young at heart and groovy they are by staying out past their bedtime.

My book club read: not your average thriller

I had a great morning with my fellow book clubbers and am already looking forward to our next meet. I've been a member of book groups in London and in Sydney and this morning reminded me why joining one is such a smart thing to do:

1. It encourages you to read
This sounds like a no-brainer but life is so busy that it can be all too easy to let the joy of reading pass us by. Being a member of a book club makes it more likely you will embed this simple pleasure in your routine.

2.  You'll read books you might not otherwise have considered
This can be a disadvantage as well as an advantage. I bitterly resent the claim on my time if I feel I 'have' to finish something I'm not enjoying and might otherwise put down. On the plus side, and this happens much more often, I read something I wouldn't have chosen myself, and am all the better for it.

3. You get more out of the book
Knowing you'll be sharing your thoughts and opinions usually makes you consider them more carefully. This analysis, no matter how casual, can enhance your understanding of the book and make you appreciate it more. Listening to other people's opinions can also help you see things you hadn't noticed yourself, another plus.

4.  It's a great way to build friendships
It might be counter intuitive but joining a group where you know only one or two people can be best.  Meeting new people is always a bonus and you're likely to get more from your reading if you're sharing  ideas and views with people who have a different perspective.

5.  You understand readers better
This one is probably just for writers. Now that I'm writing fiction, I'm very keen to understand what other readers are looking for. Not just what they love but also what turns them off about a book. It might make for challenging listening but I really want to know what makes a reading audience tick.

How about you? Are you in a book group? And what do you love/hate about it?


  1. hey all great reasons, they are my reasons to be part of a book club and help me to improve my language, Thank you for your input.

    1. Thanks, Mimi, that's another great reason to join a book group. I take my hat off to anyone who can do it in a second language : )


  2. Very few men seem to join book clubs, and my feeling is that they wouldn't be particularly welcome.

    Also, don't they bring out the worst in people? I imagine a few wallflowers surrounded by loud voices saying me me me listen to me

    1. The group I joined in January usually has about a dozen people attend - across various ages - mostly female but three men, one who joined just this week in time for our latest meet. We already have a lovely vibe and a good demographic but think more people whether male or female would be welcome.
      I love that we dont all read the same book rather read something that fits our monthly them - offers us all a wonderful array of choices for *to read* lists

    2. Great idea to read books around a certain theme - should certainly create lots of discussion. And avoids that awkwardness when someone puts forward a book you don't fancy at all...

  3. You could be right, bringing men into any of the groups I've been members of would definitely have changed the dynamic. Not least I think, because most of us enjoy a bit of a gossip alongside the book chat, and that's generally something for an all-women group, sorry!

    As for loud mouths and wallflowers, I wouldn't want that to put anyone off. Book clubs are just like any other group of people, if you don't like the group you find yourself in, you can just move on until you find one you prefer.