Why You Should Start A Reading Group

It’s a bit cliché, but reading groups and book clubs can be genuinely fun! It doesn’t need to be a formal ordeal, either. Simply getting a friend or two to read and discuss books is an excellent way to add a new social outlet into your life, while also making sure you stay on top of your reading list. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Let the Books take a Back Seat

Strangely enough, your reading group probably isn’t going to flourish when your focus is 100% on reading and discussing the books. They are more of a facilitator to more nuanced and interesting discussions between you and your friends. Any posh ideas of sitting around a table of finger sandwiches can easily be overcome by meeting up at your favorite restaurant or coffee house. You’re probably going to enjoy reading the books more if the payoff is getting to spend time with your friends in a location that you all like.

All that being said, you might wonder why do the reading group anyway? First off, reading is good for you and your mind. Second, by keeping the social aspect of the reading group front and center, you are reminding yourself that your goal isn’t to accumulate a head full of interesting books, but to formulate ideas and opinions on those books, and then express those ideas with each other. It’s an opportunity to grow closer to your friends, and allow them to understand you better. So read the books, and look forward to an evening laughing about what you all thought of them.

Bibliophiles, Assemble!

You might be lucky and already be in a circle of people who love to read, in which case, it might seem weird that you haven’t put together a reading group yet. In other circles, reading for fun may not be sported as brazenly. In either situation, if you have an inkling of a desire to start or join a reading group, jump on it! Start asking among your friends. Some may be inclined to join simply to have something to do. Try and gather a 2 or 3 person group. Anymore is a lot to start with.

If you are having a hard time gathering anyone, you can always begin looking for other groups that allow people to join. Most bookstores and libraries host a variety of book clubs for people to join, so finding one if you are interested isn’t impossible. Granted, joining a group of strangers will be quite a bit different than amassing your own compatriots, but you will all be good friends in no time, no doubt!

Choosing your Books

Common interests are the best places to start. Sure, New York Times best sellers are constantly in vogue, but perhaps you are all inclined to a more niche genre? That being said, using best seller lists can help guide you all as you choose books to read. Another alternative is to allow everyone to suggest a book, and give everyone the chance to vote on whether or not the group wants to read it.

To give one more suggestion, you can all look online for the thousands of reading lists that are available, find one that looks interesting, and follow it. So long as you are all having fun, don’t worry to heavily about what books you are choosing. Pick things which are going to hold your attention and give you something to talk about. If you are all very much into sparring with politics, than give some more politically minded books a go. If you are psychological folks, there are plenty of novels which rely heavily on the reader’s knowledge of the mind. And don’t forget, no matter the genre, you can apply any mode of thinking to practically any book. So try challenging yourselves and thinking about books in new contexts.

Gather together once a month, agree on a book to read, and discover how having a group to bring your ideas to can enhance your reading experience. It gives you something to look forward to, practice actively thinking about what you’re reading while you’re reading it, and will make you want to read more.