Looking for a safe place to have deep conversations with friends, maybe vent a little, and share your dreams? You might want to join a book club. They’re growing in popularity—especially since the pandemic started—and those are only a few of the reasons.
Studies show that reading makes people happy. So much so that its benefits include stress reduction and the prevention of cognitive decline during the aging process. Reading also increases memory, creativity, and knowledge. It’s so relaxing that it can help lower your blood pressure.
And book clubs take all of that to the next level.
What book clubs offer
- They create a sense of community and belonging. In 2020, for example, online clubs filled a social void when the pandemic forced us apart.
- As a member, you commit to reading goals, which brings a sense of accomplishment when you finish your chapters. And that’s good for your self-esteem.
- Bonding over a story with like-minded people offers a safe place to process emotions while discussing each book. It’s likely that at least one other club member will have similar feelings as you do, which means you and your ideas are validated. Sometimes all we need to know is that we’ve been heard, right? Conversely, another member’s point of view might differ from yours, so you’ll be challenged to reconsider your point of view, motives, and assumptions.
- Online pandemic book clubs have no physical, cultural, racial, or socioeconomic boundaries, which creates opportunities for a diverse exchange of ideas because members are connected globally. Imagine sitting in Greenfield discussing a bestseller’s protagonist with someone living in India.
- Because of the inherent intimacy in the written and spoken word, book clubs offer a form of group therapy. Identifying with a circumstance or a character’s emotions or actions inevitably leads a reader to think about their own. And hearing other members’ personal stories makes the experience even deeper.
- Amid the chaos in the world, book clubs are a great mental refuge. You’ll meet every week (or month) at the same place, with the same people, and at the same time. And even when members’ opinions differ, coming together over a common goal is unifying—something we can all use a little more of these days.
If you want to join a book club now that you’ve read about all of the benefits, you don’t have far to look. The League of Women Voters in Greenfield has organized one—they’re currently reading Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. It began in March, everyone is welcome, and it’s expected to operate through 2021. Other places to look for a book club include the local library, social media, or among your friends—.
In the end, whether you create your own club with a group of friends or go online with people from around the world, you can never go wrong with a good book and an even better discussion. Happy reading!