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Why A Book Club?

People who know me well say I don’t read books; I eat them.  A graduation card I received from my college roommate had a cute drawing of a hairy little critter sitting up on a wall shelf, eating the books – my alter-ego! No matter how much classwork-related reading I had, I could always be found with my nose buried in a book between classes or in other moments of “spare” time. It drove my roomie crazy. No matter how often she caught me reading non-class materials (easy to do as I read a lot!) I always seemed to get my schoolwork completed.

What can I say? I’m the daughter of a “Wordsmith.” My mother loved the rhythms and melodies hidden within the English language. She delighted in the feelings those words created, and the images they painted. My mother was also the family “Grammar Nazi” who insisted on her children using proper grammar at all times – even in the middle of a heated discussion.  (We weren’t allowed to argue, only discuss!)  While in her late 70s, my mother even corrected (rightly) the grammar of the English professor at the local Penn State campus!  So in my family, reading and proper writing weren’t options.

Fortunately for me, reading wasn’t much of a chore either. More of a life-saver. We moved often enough that I attended four different high schools in as many years. (Not so great for an introvert!) One of our first tasks with each move was to get library cards. Each library had its own unique signature to its collection of materials. Each librarian had their own personal list of recommended reading. At least one benefit of moving was variety!

So, with this history of reading, and the mixed bag of literary genres I already enjoy, why join a book club?

  • Exposure:  So many books, so little time!  If the quantity of books available wasn’t intimidating enough, discovering their subjects seems impossible. Titles never seem to hint at, let alone identify, the contents within. By joining a book club, I get a limited number of wide-ranging suggested readings from the club members. Usually, the titles end up being ones I would not have picked up on my own but, gratefully, ended up enjoying.
  • Perspectives:  I never thought of that!  I have learned so much about the subjects of the books we’ve read and the possible thoughts of the authors from the comments of the other club members.  We view each book through our own unique experiences, personalities, and points of view. The discussions clarify, expand, reinforce, challenge, or even change my thoughts and opinions. I enjoy contributing to the discussions, as there is no right or wrong – only our opinions, which are respected not judged.  I also love the ideological challenges and personal growth.
  • Connections:  I’m so glad I met you!  Being an introverted “transplant” to this close-knit rural area, with no local family or friends, made making new friends difficult. Friendships originated from activities: children’s school, work, church, etc.  Each faded away after the activity ceased. Now I have twenty (and growing) new friends I might not have met otherwise. We gather over good food, discuss books and our lives, laugh often, enjoy fellowship, and eagerly look forward to the next month’s gathering. Won’t you come and be my next new friend?


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