“A book is not only a friend, it makes friends for you. When you have possessed a book with mind and spirit, you are enriched. But when you pass it on you are enriched threefold.” — Henry Miller, The Books In My Life (1969)
Online book clubs are a place where book lovers can connect online to meet, chat and share news and views about books.
This month in the Literacy Forum we are reading Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. It was 9 months on the Canadian bestseller list. Head to your local library, bookstore, or Costco and borrow/buy this book and join the discussion!
Eve’s Lit Picks is a virtual gathering of avid readers that discusses new topics and books.
You might think that reading groups are simply an arena for book worms to indulge in their favourite passion or for you to have enjoyable argument about your favourite story or characters with like-minded individuals…but book clubs actually offer more lifelong benefits than you realize:
- Everyone knows that reading expands your horizons and book clubs help to do this at an even greater level, with the in-depth discussions and assimilation of different viewpoints all contributing to increasing your knowledge and appreciation of the world around you.
- Joining a reading group can also help to extend your reading, as you’ll be tempted to try different types of books that you might not otherwise have chosen by yourself. Many people can become accustomed to the comfort of reading in a favorite genre and may not realize how much they might actually enjoy an altogether different type of book, until they are persuaded to try by other members of the reading group.
- Despite not having a formalized classroom structure, reading groups are actually a fantastic place to promote learning. Discussing books helps to reinforce things in your mind and enable you to retain information better.
- Book clubs enable you to appreciate otherwise “dry” topics within the context of an involving story – for example, reading books set in certain periods allow you to learn more about history, without the dread of boring facts and dates.
- Book clubs can also be great ways to travel and appreciate other cultures – not only through the books themselves but also through any members with different backgrounds. And discussing these differences helps everyone to understand them by placing them within a larger context.
- Participating in reading group discussions does wonders for your communication skills, teaching you to listen to different points of view and different ways of expression, as well as “discuss and disagree” without resorting to emotional arguments.
- Book clubs are a great way to start practicing expressing your opinions to an audience or summarizing information and presenting it in a coherent and engaging way.
- Book clubs can help you appreciate books that you had rejected in your childhood or within the confines of your school curriculum, as the imminent discussion motivates you to read with more purpose and attention.
- For those with writing aspirations, book clubs can be a wonderful breeding ground for ideas as well as provide the motivation for you to pen your own literary masterpiece. Listening to other people’s assessment of a book and their discussion of likes and dislikes about plot, character and style, can help enormously in your quest to become a better, more successful writer.
- If you are prone to depression, a reading group can keep you engaged with others.
- Stimulating your brain cells may help to protect against or delay memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, studies suggest.