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Book clubs - To be or not to be (a part of)

Updated: May 7

Book clubs! For some, this can bring joy with the sharing of reading experiences, either good or bad. For others it brings dread… Did you finish the book? Did you love the book? Or … gasp … did you hate the book…?

Either way, for as long as there have been stories, this blog author assumes there have been book clubs of a sort. Hunters gathered around the campfire, telling tales of who dealt the deathly blow to some giant mammoth (Its tusks were ‘this’ big! No … really!). When stories and books finally became more accessible to the masses a few thousand years later, book clubs were more formally established.

Where & When

Some book clubs are held in community centers, libraries and more informal settings like clubs and cafes. Depending on what your schedule is, you could likely find one in your local area during the week after work, or perhaps the weekend too. With the onset of the virus that shook the world, some book clubs were forced online. Social media platforms and video calls became a way to host monthly meet ups and continue the discussion of our beloved (or not so beloved) books.

What To Expect

So, there’ll be some reading. It may not always be a book you like. Make sure that the chosen text is something you are comfortable with, or at least be comfortable with your right to say “That’s not for me, but I’ll be open to hearing your feedback.” Some book clubs may be a little stricter on this than I, but in my opinion, your book club needs to be inclusive, not exclusive, in how they work. Some book clubs may have formal questions at the end of a book, others may host more of a general discussion. 

Are they for me?

If you found a book club but the fit wasn’t quite right, don’t despair, try another. You have a right to your opinion and reading experience. Don’t be afraid of sharing how you felt about a book. Shop around your local area and online until you find something that suits your expectations, availability and genre. And if you can’t find one that fits … start your own! You might have a niche that will fit others in the same reading boat as yourself.

In conclusion, no matter what your preferred genre, timetable or location, there could be a book club out there for you. Remember to make sure it’s a joy and not a chore, and that you can meet in a safe and supportive environment that adds to your reading experience!

If you feel called, comment below. What are some fun things you’ve experienced or learnt when sharing your favourite stories and books with others? For example, this blog author turned up as the only one in costume for my 2023 Christmas Book Club event – thankfully I won Best Costume! (For those interested I went as Hermione Granger as no wig of frizzy hair was necessary).

Happy Reading!

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