I’ve always loved reading. Books enrich our lives in many ways. They can help us unwind and recharge, provide strength and encouragement during difficult times, and provoke feelings of empathy, anger, delight, and sadness. As I’ve grown older, I lean towards reading more non-fiction, biographies and memoirs. But there’s always room for some good fiction.
Reading is a fundamentally private experience but it doesn’t have to be when you are part of a book club. I’d never been in one because the idea of everyone racing through the month to finish the same book was just plain boring.
So, when a group of people in our community broached the topic of starting a different kind of book club – I jumped at it. Even excitedly came up with the name, logo and invite for it. We are calling it ‘Curious Literary Circle’. So, we meet in our community library once a month and are free to read what we want and have the option of picking books from shared reading lists of other members. We talk and discuss the books we are reading, why we chose to pick them, review them and also swap books. We can also choose to read in silence afterwards in the library.
I do believe that with such busy lives, people have a hard time finding the time to read in peace these days especially with the onslaught of Internet TV and mobile phones. I think this time set aside for communal reading will help a great deal.
Why wouldn’t you want to benefit from regular reading? Why would you want to join a book club? These are questions I’ve asked myself often. So today I’ll share four few reasons why I think a book club is good for you!
1. You meet interesting people from different age groups.
Most of my friends are around the same age as I am. I’m pretty sure I’ll learn more from drawing upon a wider range of individuals. My current book club is composed of a bunch of women I almost never see (except occasionally on the street) and that’s precisely why I like it. It features – among others – a published author, more than a few entrepreneurs, a Social activist/Volunteer and an excellent chef. These ladies hail from all over India. So in addition to gaining their quite distinct takes on the book at hand, I also gain a window into their lives, which are so very different from my own. We even discussed some delicious sounding recipes.
2. Great For Those of Retirement Age
BMJ Open, a UK medical journal, found results that social interaction allows people to enjoy healthier lives after they retire. This is because social isolation actually increases dementia and cognitive decline after retirement. So if you are of retirement age, joining a book club may help combat those dreary diseases.
3. Some books need to be discussed.
Reading is a private pursuit but there are some books that have totally changed the way I think. These are the ones that demand a discussion. A case in point : I’ve just started to volunteer at a local domestic abuse support organisation called Bembala. So, I picked this book titled ‘No Visible Bruises’ which is a heartbreaking account on how home can be the most dangerous place for a woman. It’s an eyeopener on how patriarchy perpetuates violence against women all over the world, the psyche of an abuser and that of a victim and proposes different tested solutions to prevent the cycle of abuse. Hurt people don’t always need to hurt. I think it’s a must read and I hope more men pick it up.
4. You read things that you wouldn’t otherwise read.
Which ties to point #1, because people who are outside of my immediate circle of friends are more likely to have literary tastes that differ from my own. For example, I just listened to one of the members, Vinoda Revannasiddhaiah’s title short story from her award-winning book ‘Life In Stone’ that touched my heart. Set in 70’s Bangalore, the young Vinoda shares the story of her relationship with her great grandmother, with loads of humor and wit and tearful family sagas. But I never would have known about her or the book had it not been for our book club.
So let’s pick up those books (or the Kindle) shall we?