I know a number of people that belong to book clubs, and while I understand the appeal to some, it’s not something that I would ever consider. I like to read when the desire strikes and for as long as my attention span lasts.
My reading choices range from poetry and short stories to non-fiction and educational or instructional books. I read to fall asleep if I’m feeling restless, while I’m waiting for an appointment, or when I need to learn or research something. I can read all day - or not read for a week. That’s why I don’t think a book club is right for me.
Here are a few pros and cons for you to consider if you’re thinking of joining a book club:
The Social Aspect – It’s always nice to meet like-minded people and have a conversation about a topic you’re both passionate about.
The Discipline – A book club keeps you accountable and encourages you into the habit of regular reading. You don’t want to be the only person in the group who has to admit they didn’t get around to reading the book!
The Variety – Book clubs can get you reading books you might never have otherwise considered.
The Insight – Analysing and discussing a book with others and hearing their opinions can bring a deeper level of understanding, and consequently a deeper appreciation for the story and for the author’s motivation, creativity and style. Rather than just reading and then moving on, you remain immersed in the story or much longer.
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The Social Aspect – As with any group, each member brings their own personality to the table, and while for the most part this can be a positive experience, you will inevitably encounter those with whom you disagree or whose opinions can dominate the conversation. You may need to practice a certain amount of tolerance.
The Discipline – If you enjoy the discipline of reading a particular book within a particular timeframe then this won’t be an issue, but you run the risk of feeling an obligation to finish the book whether it’s convenient or not. Having to persevere – especially if you’re not enjoying it – can take the joy out of a pleasurable activity.
The Variety – If you are the kind of person who has particular tastes it can be difficult to read something that is not your regular fare.
The Insight – While there are some that enjoy the process of reviewing a book and sharing theories and opinions about it, not all good reads warrant this. There are certain books that – once finished – need no analysing or discussion.
I liken it to seeing what goes on behind the scenes when making a movie – it can sometimes spoil the magic.