Love them or loathe them, book clubs have taken off in the last decade at a rate not seen since Jane Austen was a gal. Why? Despite their traditionally highbrow and/or daggy reputation, there are many, many wonderful benefits of book club that are gaining widespread acknowledgement. Also, with the world in a mess, it’s no wonder people are looking to some escapism in the form of a book!
10 benefits of book club include:
1. Provides Alternate Perspectives
Unless you’re all related (even then families can have vastly different points of view on the same topic!), your book club members will likely come from different backgrounds, cultures and education. This means they’ll bring different perspectives to the book discussion. These perspectives can help you learn new things and offer alternate angles to a discussion point that you may never have considered!
The flipside is that differing perspectives can lead to disagreements and even arguments. There’s nothing like two readers going to town over a book to get everyone in the room uncomfortable! This is why it’s super important to always be kind and considerate of each other in book club.
2. Creates reading accountability
Most people who join book clubs are passionate, if not voracious, readers. However, sometimes people join a book club because they need inspiration and accountability to get back into a reading habit. Joining a book club means you’re committing to reading the nominated book in whatever the set timeframe is (month or fortnight etc) and that you’ll be able to contribute some thoughts on it in the follow up discussion. Most members feel a sense of disappointment if they don’t read the book, letting themselves and the other book club members down. So joining a book club can be a great way to force yourself to read if you need a little external motivation to do so!
3. Engages Deeper Thoughts
Another key benefit is that knowing you’ll be discussing the book with others can drive deeper engagement with the book. If you typically read quickly, reading a book for book club discussion might encourage you to slow down and take in more of the details than usual.
4. Sharpens Your Brain
Reading is so good for overall brain function and increasing memory. That benefit increases further when you add in discussion time with your book club. Your brain will be compelled to keep up and keep sharp! If you don’t have many other avenues to fully engage your brain, then book club can be a great way to keep everything working well.
5. Encourages Critical Thinking
Joining a book club can also be a great way to encourage critical thinking in yourself and in your fellow book club members. By working through and discussing the book together, you can help each other to see all aspects of a topic and consider each one carefully.
6. Engenders New Friendships
Starting a friendship with a mutual hobby or interest is a great thing to do. You’ll always have something to talk about! If you’re looking to meet new people in your neighborhood or online with shared interests, then joining a book club is a great idea, especially as it’s not age or skill dependent! For book lovers, there are few things that forge a bond as instantly as meeting someone else who loves books…so get ready to make some new friends!
7. Reading Improves Writing
Regular, varied reading, is instrumental if you wish to create great writing. By reading a variety of books, you’ll be exposed to different styles of writing and what makes writing read well – or not! Before you know it, you’ll be incorporating elements of excellent writing into your own writing projects!
8. Fosters a Love of Literature
While reading is often it’s own reward, joining a community of literature lovers can help foster a continuing love of literature in yourself and in your community. By meeting with others and sharing the love of literature, you’ll help keep your own love of reading strong and encourage each other to continue reading and loving literature!
9. Expands Your Horizons
Reading books that you don’t necessarily choose yourself will expand your knowledge about place, time, history, culture, people etc. By virtue of the fact that you may never have picked up a WWII Polish Romance novel, but are assigned to read it at bookclub, means you will inadvertently learn about Poland and relationships in that era. It’s a wonderful thing to be a little uncomfortable with a book at first then find out you’ve learnt a lot by the time you turn the last page.
10. Gives You a Break From Life
Life can be challenging. People can be judgemental. But escaping into a book – and into book club – can be a wonderful reprieve. Whether your book club meets at home over a cup of tea, or at a fancy new bar over cocktails, knowing you have a book club meeting coming up can be a great source of energy to weather the storms of daily life. Meeting with fellow book lovers helps melt the stress away as you disappear into characters and plots and places other than your own.