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The Benefits of Joining a Book Club

Let’s just say right at the beginning, that book clubs are fashionable these days. You will see groups of avid readers at the local tea or coffee shop, or you’ll hear that your friend has to clean her house because she has her “book group” coming that night. For those of us who love reading and have always had our noses in a book, this is welcome news. But there are excellent reasons to belong to a book group and they go well beyond following the latest trendy activity. Here are some great reasons why you should consider belonging to a book club:

The Call to Read

1)  A well-organized book club meets regularly to discuss a selected book. There may or may not be a regular discussion leader depending on the particular structure of your group. Sometimes groups rotate the discussion leadership position as they rotate the home in which they meet. Other times the group meets at a central location such as a book store or library meeting room. Wherever the group gathers, there will be some sort of agenda in which the content of the book—the writing style, the characters, plot, and much more are dissected and analyzed by the readers. There will usually be varying viewpoints offered and the group can either come to consensus or agree to disagree on certain conclusions. Book discussions are a chance to step outside the usual decisions of the day and a chance to “live” in another world created by the author of the book. If you are interested in being a lifelong learner, this sort of discussion is healthy for you.

Social Aspects of a Book Club

2)  Book groups offer a sense of belonging and fulfill a desire to have regular social interactions with people of similar interest. You may also be stretched to read kinds of books you would never choose on your own. You may hear ideas that would never have entered your mind if you read the book alone. Book discussions will bring out strong opinions, encourage personal openness and may also provide a lot of laughter and camaraderie. Book groups often meet over a simple meal or wine and horsd’oeuvres—also a chance to engage one another socially.

Reading with a Purpose

3)  A third benefit of belonging to a book club is the motivation they provide to keep reading. We all know that as we age it is a good idea to keep our gray cells stimulated and nothing does that better than reading. In a group there is encouragement to go deeper than one might when reading solo. There will be questions posed in the group so you may anticipate them and pay more attention to detail as you read. You may be led to do some background reading to further extend your understanding of the material. You will be engaged in reading for deep meaning rather than just for entertainment.

Clear Communication

4)  Your communication skills will be exercised in a reading group. You’ll engage in active listening to hear what other readers are thinking. You’ll pose questions and delve into the books to find answers. You may even do some writing related to the books selected. If you take a turn at leading the group, you’ll spend some time either writing questions or going over the study questions at the end of the book to be prepared to lead an active discussion. You’ll take part in both the giving and receiving of information.

Do you have questions about how to find a book group that is just right for you? Do you wonder about the variety of book groups possible? Or would you like to gather information on how to organize your own group? Go to and find all that you need to get going on joining or beginning your own book club.