A book club is a group of people who meet to discuss a book or books that they have read and express their opinions, likes, dislikes, etc.
I remember being nervous that I wouldn’t be prepared enough for my first book club. I felt like I needed to read, re-read, highlight, make notes, and have my book attached to me for my first meeting. I did all of the above. I remember being frustrated because others weren’t as prepared – some hadn’t read at all, some were there for the drinks and socializing only, and others really wanted to talk about the book. I found myself somewhere in the middle.
Book clubs are all about exploring new books and asking interesting questions. They’re about listening to different points of view and how everyone interpreted metaphors or themes. Sometimes the book club is just a great excuse to get together. Book clubs are a great way to establish a sense of community. You get to spend time chatting with people who love topics or really want to take something away from the conversation around it.
Keep in mind though it may be important for you to find out what type of book club you are joining to save yourself the stress or even some extra work as I noted above, especially if you are a person who has expectations of yourself to get things checked off the list and be held accountable to reading the chapters “assigned.”
Signing up for a club gives you a dedicated reason to read and hold you accountable to actually get the reading done so you can contribute to the conversation. You can convince yourself that reading one more chapter is just as important as getting started on something else on that growing to do list. And with a little friendly pressure from members in your group, you are more likely to actually finish the books you do start reading! So, if you have always wanted to be one of those people with all sorts of knowledge and insight on a specific topic (like generations and leadership…as one example) book clubs are a fantastic way to connect the topic to your real-life experiences. The goal is not just to read the book but to really take something from it you can apply to your life in an effort to grow yourself or those around you.
Discussing the themes and sharing personal stories based on the topic can give you a new perspective and actually allows you to gain more out of books than you did before. You aren’t just reading for entertainment, but rather to learn something insightful about yourself or our society at large. Reading outside of your own interests can help you grow as a person.
The book clubs I’ve especially loved being a part of were the ones where people either read the materials or had specific life stories or experiences they were able to share to help gain further perspective and insight on the topic and keep the conversation going. Often, we didn’t even need prompts because people were excited to share how they were processing the info or posing their own questions. These book clubs seemed to be the right fit for me and had a set number of times we would meet.
Based on the book, The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters by Priya Parker, the purpose of gatherings should be clear and help with selection of who should attend. This is my reminder to you to understand the type of commitment necessary to be an engaged book club member and whether or not you are excited about the topic as this makes it much easier to read the book and engage in conversation. Once you choose to join, don’t stress about remembering all the book details. It may help to make some notes or highlight key things you want to discuss or remember but often there are prompts to lead the conversation or opportunities to engage in different ways with the book topic or others that have things they want to share or get feedback on. Think about how the readings made you feel, what you thought about, or even what questions it prompted. Show up and be fully present and open to perspectives throughout the conversation. Be sure to give feedback if your expectations aren’t aligning with the meeting conversations.
You are now challenged to join a book club and Goal Digger will be starting another one soon! Check out the events page for updates – https://yourgoaldigger.com/events/.