This is not the first time I have made this argument, but there's a reason why you should start a book club, and why I keep trying to convince you that you should. In fact, I've come up with seven new reasons why you need to start gathering your own group of bibliophiles for bookish meetings, and none are wine related — this time.
Ever since I was in middle school, I've been in one type of book club or another. Whether I was reading the Babysitters Club with my childhood friends, discussing feminist nonfiction with my women-only group in college, or sipping wine and talking twist endings with my fiction-for-fun club, I've gotten a lot out of every different kind of book club I've joined. It wasn't until I started hosting a book club of my own that I realized how fun and powerful they can really be.
When you host your own book club, you're responsible for more than just reading the book and showing up to eat the cheese. You have to organize and run meetings, draft discussion questions, set up a fair way of picking your next reading selection, and make sure there's always wine to satisfy your thirsty members. But when you're organizing your own book club, you can also determine the purpose of the club, help establish its values and expectations, and even steer it towards being something more than just a gathering of book nerds. When it's your own club, it can be whatever you — and you fellow members — want it to be.
Do you think you're ready for a new challenge, but you're still not sure? Here are seven reasons why you should start a book club ASAP. Trust someone who's done it — it's well worth the work in the end.
1You'll have the opportunity to read more books.
Whether you're joining a book club or starting one of your own, the most obvious benefit is the opportunity to read more books. In addition to whatever pleasure reading you're able to make time for, whatever academic reading you're required to do, and any reading you need to check out for work, book clubs are another easy way to add more checked off books to your TBR list.
As a club founder, that sentiment becomes even more true. As a mere member of a book club, you may have found yourself guilty of skimming (or skipping) a certain selection, but as the person responsible for running the meetings and getting the discussion going, you don't have that luxury anymore. Not that you need it, but being a book club founder is just another way of being held accountable for getting through your reading list on time.
2You can make new friends — not just fictional ones, either.
Being in a book club is a great way to meet all kinds of fictional characters who will influence your life and become imaginary friends you carry with you, but it's also a great way to meet real people, too. When you start your own book club, you can invite whoever you want to join, including friends, coworkers, family, and yes, even strangers.
If you want to make new friends by starting a book club of your own, encourage people you know to invite people you don't to join up, or consider opening your group up to the public. You never know when you're going to meet your new bookish bestie.
3You can set the tone of your own club.
When you start your own book club, you're the one who gets to decide — with the help of your members, of course — what kind of book club you want to have. Are you trying to start something fun, silly, and lighthearted where the wine and discussion go hand-in-hand, or would you rather have a club of serious thinkers and literary debaters?
If you're a part of another book club, you can help determine the course of action the club takes, what books you read, and how discussions unfold. When you run a book club, however, you're steering the ship from the port out into whatever sea you want. Can you feel the power? Just don't let it go to your head.
4It will help you diversify your reading list.
Just because you start your own book club doesn't mean you're in full control. Any good organizer knows that a club is only as strong as its members, which is why you should rely on your fellow book-lovers to help you decide on your reading list.
By reaching out to your fellow book club members for group reading suggestions, you can easily find new authors you never knew you loved, and even try genres you always thought you hated. It's a fun and easy way to diversify your reading list
5You have the chance to talk books with other bibliophiles.
What's the only thing better than reading books? Talking about them with other book-lovers, of course! When you start your own book club, you're the opportunity to talk plot points, character development, syntax choice, and twist endings with people who care about literary debate as much as you do.
Speaking of which...
6It's a place to debate about something other than politics.
Chances are, your life is filled with political debate. From the news to your social media feed to your brunch date with friends, there's no avoiding politics in today's cultural climate.
If you enjoy a healthy debate but could use a break from politics — or perhaps a new lens through which to examine them — a book club is a great place to go.
7It's a more affordable way to have an active social life.
Having a social life is fun, but between brunch dates, movies, happy hour, weekend getaways, and more, it gets expensive, fast. Having fun with friends and without spending money is easy enough, however, when you have your own book club.
If you truly want, running a book club can be pretty close cost-free. You can meet at your apartment, borrow the reading selection from the library, and everyone to chip in for food and drinks. For under $10 per person, you can have an afternoon full of great conversation, good food, and plenty of laughs, and no one has to break the bank.