Book clubs are a great way to connect to people in your area with similar interests while expanding your own knowledge of the literary landscape. You can dive into unexplored niche topics or get a general overview of a myriad of topics.
Book clubs promote diverse opinions and diverse topics. Since they’re less formal than a classroom atmosphere, they’re more likely to have everyone sharing instead of just the outspoken few. The discussions are more likely to be open since no one is searching for the ‘right’ answer to impress a teacher.
In this comfortable environment, avid readers can share and learn from each other. Each member will have a different take on issues and will bring a different book to the table. Book club members can experience a variety of different works. While one person might suggest a historical work of fiction, another may propose a modern non-fiction tale. Readers can get shaken out of their comfort zones and take on new challenges while being encouraged by their support system.
Even though there is a certain amount of a relaxed system in a book club, there’s also an amount of pressure. Knowing that your group is counting on you to finish your section will give you the motivation to read books that otherwise wouldn’t have appealed to you. If you have always had a goal of reading a certain book (Moby Dick, anyone?), that pressure can also help you reach it. Breaking large books down into sections will let you explore a novel you otherwise wouldn’t have undertaken.
If you decide to join a group dedicated to a single topic (i.e.: Jane Austen, 20th century writers, etc), you’ll be able to dive into a topic with a depth you likely haven’t gone to before. Five or six other people’s opinions on your favorite works will shed new light onto them and bring a deeper understanding. For works that are often covered in curriculums, you may also get educator’s opinions shared by their former students. Even better, connect with students who are attending an online university to get fresh ideas from professors.
Reading groups are also great places to socialize. You can make new friends and new business contacts by hanging around a little after the meeting ends and coming a little early. Connections like these can prove invaluable if you’re in a new city or if you’re looking for a job. A resume from someone a hiring manager knows almost always trumps a great resume from someone the manager has never seen.
For those who are typically very passionate about their views, it will help them learn how to express themselves appropriately, especially when they’re dealing with shy group members. Those shy members will also learn how to stand up for their viewpoint and will be able to brush up on their public speaking. Members should always be encouraged to share for this type of environment to exist, though.
Since you’ll never run out of books, the club will never run out of things to talk about or expand your mind with. You can explore different time periods, different cultures and different viewpoints. Reading keeps your mind sharp, and having discussions about books keeps it even sharper. It also increases your communication skills since you’re participating in lively discussions with your peers.