Being in a book club is one of the better choices I’ve made in my life. Started by a friend, our book club has met monthly for nearly five years. We’ve had members move away and new friends invited to join us. We’ve read many different genres and changed our approach to running the group as time has progressed. What brings us all together is our love for books.
During that time, people I didn’t know well have become great friends who I enjoy spending time with outside of our monthly discussions. This is the top benefit of a book club besides the actual reading of books. These women—all of them—are among the first I would call if I needed, well, anything. We’ve gone from a group of readers to a family, and I think each and every member is precious.
A book club is for people of all backgrounds
Our book club casts a wide net. Some ladies still have babies while others are empty-nesters and grandmothers. We have women with PhDs and others who didn’t go to college. We come from a variety of faith and socioeconomic backgrounds. Being in a transient area, many of our members are from other parts of the country or a different country entirely. My circle has widened and grown because of this group, and I am a better person for it.
While I am a fairly loyal reader of e-books, some of our members will only read a physical book (I know, the smell of a book is magical). We have others who do best with audiobooks – I always love hearing their take on the story and how certain names or words are pronounced or what a character’s voice sounds like. Each way of reading is unique and appreciated within our group. We can all point out the different benefits of each style of reading.
Analytic discussions make us critical thinkers
Right now, our model is that each member who is willing chooses a book and leads the discussion. Our members have chosen everything from YA dystopian to chick-lit to a book about retirees committing crimes. And while we don’t always love the book of the month, we can all welcome one another’s choice of genre.
With all the diversity in our reading styles and preferred genres, being in the book club absolutely helps us all to become more critical thinkers. It opens us up to new perspectives. Last year, we read a book we ended up divided on. Some of the ladies loved it, while others (myself included) thought it was sub-par. Each side was able to defend its thoughts so the other side could see the merit of that opinion. The book had strong writing but a weak lead character. I might have never done what the character did, but someone else would have done the exact same thing. A book club can definitely open your eyes to how others live and do things.
A book club holds you accountable
I am a fairly fast reader. I can finish a book in a day, and I average about two books per week, though sometimes it’s more or less. So, I can’t read the book club book until the week before we meet, otherwise, I will have forgotten about it entirely. We have other ladies who need the entire month to read because they enjoy taking their time with books and life is busy.
Regardless, of how you read a book club creates a certain level of accountability. You know that there are a dozen women counting on you to read the book and participate in the discussion. If someone doesn’t get to the book or finish it, however, we still want them to come and join us for coffee and relaxation. The fellowship is just as important as the book itself.
The experience is worth it!
And really, that’s what it’s about. While we do actually discuss the book at hand, we will also discuss personal hardships, ask deep questions, and break off into tangents about the best way to make a meatloaf. It’s all part of the experience of a book club, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Have you ever been part of a book club? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Book Highlight: Bell of the Night by Allison Wells
Bell is numb to her life as a prostitute and to the horrible men who come her way—until an optimistic preacher named Teddy Sullivan comes to New Orleans, intent on saving the sinful souls of the South. But Bell doesn’t feel worthy of rescue, especially as she begins falling for the kindhearted preacher. Could he, or Jesus, ever really love someone like her?
Teddy is instantly drawn to the petite brunette with sad eyes and longs to rescue her. But Bell insists he rescues all her friends first. If Bell isn’t able to see that God loves her regardless of the path her life has taken, and Teddy can’t help her and her friends escape those running the brothel, both risk not only losing sight of God’s plan … but each other.
About the Writer: Allison Wells is a hot mess mom of four who has published six books both traditionally and independently. Currently, she’s working on growing her editing and book coaching business. She’s usually more interested in watching SNL reruns on YouTube than keeping up with the latest show on Netflix, but she prefers a book to those any day. Find her online at allisonwellswrites.com