Have Fun with a Book Club

tv is better than books?

One of the fun aspects of seeing a really good movie or television show is being able to discuss it afterward with friends or family, talking about the parts you liked, the parts you didn’t like, and maybe even debating the underlying meaning of the story or the symbolism behind it. If you enjoy reading, however, often you are deprived of this interaction. Sadly, reading is not as popular as visual entertainment, and not all people who read a book do so at the same time, as is usually true of TV or cinema, so you don’t really get that thrill of finding out what happens one evening, and then discussing it the next morning over coffee, while it’s still exciting.

Unless, of course, you’re in a book club. Book clubs provide all the feedback and discussion you could possibly want, within a group of people who are all experiencing the same story over roughly the same time frame. Usually the way it works is that everyone agrees on a book to read. Either they take turns choosing, or have some sort of voting system. Meetings occur at intervals; some clubs meet after a certain number of chapters, while others prefer to finish reading the entire book first and then convene.

Meetings can be quite lively. The great thing about books is that because so much of what happens relies on reader imagination and visualization, there are as many interpretations of any particular book as there are readers of it. This can lead to intense debates, or simply the opportunity to bounce ideas off others and maybe see the story from a point of view you hadn’t thought about. Different things stand out to different people, and sometimes there’s a subtle clue of an analogy or reference you hadn’t spotted.

Talking about all these things with others can greatly increase your enjoyment of reading. Having a rich array of opinions and viewpoints to consider can open up your appreciation of literature, as well as helping you build analysis skills, and giving you a greater arsenal of tools with which to interpret the books you read, both inside and outside the club. You may find yourself not only reading more, but being more excited and engaged when you do read, especially when you catch on to a theme or symbol you might not have noticed in your pre-book club days.

Aside from all the practical advantages, book clubs are fun. They’re a great way to get together with like-minded people and spend time doing something you all enjoy. Most book clubs meet in the home of one of the members, sometimes taking turns, and often there are snacks and drinks, or even a full meal. Sometimes after the meeting is over, the social aspects linger well into the evening. Those who are looking to relax and have fun while exercising their minds will find that book clubs are perfect for both. I know that in my social circle, “read more” is always high on the list of things to do in the new year, so if you’d like to increase your literary intake, book clubs are a great way to do it. Ask at your local library if there’s a club in your area, and if not, start one yourself!

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