Book Clubs are for moms and nerds and nerd-moms and — well, anyone really! However, I do suppose one might need a mild interest in reading to make the effort of trying to juggle reading a book while wrangling small humans as well as possibly working part or full-time on top of the myriad of otherwise expected contributions to family life. Personally, I have a book problem. Bookstores routinely cost more for me than a trip to Target to “grab one thing.”
If I’m being entirely honest, I think Book Club was my response to the constant, “Oh yeah, we should get together!” that inevitably leads nowhere as well as my inability to convince myself to go to large mom gatherings where I don’t know anyone. As an introvert, I find myself cringing at the idea of “playdates” with multiple unknown moms and children in a single-family dwelling.
As the story goes, a close acquaintance started a book club and I joined, only to find out that the meetings were difficult for me to make, but I continued to read along anyway. I mean, they were picking some great books. Fast forward, I was pregnant, in my final semester of grad school, and my brain for some unexplainable reason said to me, “You definitely need something else to do; let’s organize a monthly book club!” Good one, brain.
I found the best way to do this was to force my sister and best friend (both readers, I’m not super mean) to join, and then to throw out an invite on Facebook along the lines of “Hey BOOK CLUB!” Of course, there are many far more organized approaches, and if you look at recommendations, the aim is to have 7-10 people at each meeting. Usually, we number 3-4 dependent on the month (though I’d love to grow a bit).
Surprisingly, after my vague invitation, there were quite a few bites. So, about a year and a half ago we met for the first of several flexible, low attendance meetings (with snacks!). It’s fun, it’s laid-back, we cancel when stuff comes up, no drama. When it comes to books, we always pick the next book prior to the meeting, but are aiming to have 3 months chosen at a time. The person who chooses the book rotates, and hosts, which has worked well. The host schedule is 6+ months ahead, leaving plenty of time for trading. I think the most important thing is setting expectations, making them reasonable, and being open to new reading experiences. We’ve read some “bad” books for sure!
My favorite things about Book Club:
- The conversation is provided, because you can always talk about the book. It eliminates the pressure to make small talk, or to force myself to circulate. We tend to wander off-topic though, especially on busy months when no one is done with the book. 🙂
- The conversation is adult, if not always lightly intellectual. While we do intermittently make smart observations and discuss deeper issues, we also allow the basic visceral response “I didn’t like it,” and we leave time to chat about schools and kids and work, etc.
- It doesn’t require a lot of effort, no Pinterest, or themes. All we need is a room and some last-minute snacks. For January, we’re wine walking together. NBD.
I love Book Club. If you’re aiming to make more room in your life for reading, it’s surprisingly simple to start your own — or join us if you’re free third Saturdays from 3-5 p.m.!