Reading is generally seen as a solitary activity. And it makes perfect sense, as it requires a great deal of introspection, requires a quiet and relaxing environment for the best results, and we generally do it without the company of others. That being said, we are social creatures though, so we generally need and enjoy the company of others.
Reading is no different, and reading clubs or book clubs have been around for centuries. But what are the benefits of a book club and why should you join one?
Being part of a group feels right, and meeting like-minded people usually strikes the right chord for most of us. That is why, regardless of the hobby we think about, we will generally find clubs and groups of people who meet and discuss the topics that interest them.
In order to understand perfectly how you can benefit from joining a book club, the first obvious thing you should do is make sure you know what a book club is.
What is a book club?
By its very definition, a book club is a group of readers who meet on a regular basis to discuss the books they have been reading. Generally, the club reader decides on the reading list they will all go through and each book should be read in a particular time frame (before the next meeting) so that all members can engage in conversations about that specific book.
Depending on the book club, the frequency of the meetings can differ, but they are generally scheduled on a weekly or bi-monthly basis. You have the choice to join a real-life book club, where the meetings are done in person, by physically going to a particular location and meeting your fellow book club members, or you can join an online book club, where all the action takes place on social media platforms through online meetings.
Why join a book club? Regardless of your preference, there is quite a lot for you to gain from joining a book club and taking part in the meetings.
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What are the benefits of joining a book club?
Joining a book club may not be that high on your to-do list at the moment, but if you’re wondering whether you should do it, the answer is a resounding yes. There are many ways you can benefit from joining a book club and unless you already tried it and didn’t like it, you should definitely give it a shot. Here’s why.
1. You will read more and more diversely
Chances are that you are going to read quite a lot more than you currently do. That’s because you are going to be pressured to keep up with the reading requirements from your book club in order to remain a member. Most book clubs have their meetings scheduled weekly or once every two weeks, and you need to read a certain book between these meetings. That’s because the books that were assigned during the previous meeting are extensively discussed during the next.
Specific book club questions will be asked, the topics are going to spark interesting conversations, and you are very likely to have a great time.
But that’s not all. Not only will you get to read more, you will also diversify the titles. You will have no power over the titles on the official reading list, which is going to force you to read books you sometimes wouldn’t have chosen for yourself. This is likely to lead to some pretty surprising findings. You may learn that you actually enjoy reading different genres you never thought you’d like, authors that never sparked an interest, or simply books that you always considered to be outside of your comfort zone.
2. You will make friends
Meeting people with the same interests as you is going to be a great experience, regardless of whether you do it physically in person, or online. Surrounding ourselves with like-minded people generally improves and strengthens our beliefs. You will get a fulfilling feeling by knowing that you belong to a group, as the social aspect of any activity generally improves it tenfold.
Even though many of us enjoy the solitary aspect of reading and find comfort in spending time alone, in a quiet environment, there is a stronger force that constantly pulls us towards socializing and being part of communities. Being part of a community of people who share your beliefs and interests is going to give you a boost and is going to push you to become a better, more accomplished reader.
Peer pressure is not always a bad thing. While the term is often associated with mistakes we tend to do under the influence of friends in our young ages, peer pressure can also boost our performances if we surround ourselves with the right people.
3. Expands your views and broadens your perspective
The conversations you are going to be a part of during your book club meetings are sometimes going to be quite intense and revealing. You will soon discover that not everyone understands the same thing from a book and that their views can differ significantly from your own.
Hearing what everyone else has to say about the book you’ve all read can be quite revealing. You can discover that your opinions are shared by others or that others see things completely differently. Keeping an open mind and trying to understand how everyone else perceived the message of the book is going to help you expand your views.
You can even become a more understanding and empathetic person. You will need to learn to hear everyone out, try to understand why they think the way they do, wait your turn to give them your opinion, and this whole process is going to force you to do a lot more thinking than reading usually involves when done alone.
4. It works well as a stress-relief tool
The fact that reading is a great way to relieve stress should come as no surprise to any of us. But what you probably didn’t know is that one of the benefits of a book club is that it actually helps you relax even more. The way it works is quite simple. For stress to be relieved, the most important thing to do is to figure out ways to eliminate stressors or keep our minds off of them.
Book clubs are great at helping you block out stressful thoughts. Meeting like-minded people who share the same interests as you and joining in heated conversations about the latest book you all read is almost guaranteed to help you get a well-deserved break from your day-to-day life. For one hour every week, everything that is going to matter is discussing books with the other members of the club.
5. Makes you a more organized reader
Having to keep up with the reading list imposed by your book club is going to force you to become a better organized reader. There will be less slacking around in your reading habits. Knowing that not finishing a book will most likely mean missing out on the next meeting is going to be a great motivator for you to find ways to improve your reading speed and general performance.
Having a deadline for every book you read is a great way to start taking reading more seriously and will help you be more efficient with your time management.
6. Snacks are not bad either
Last but not least, yeah, there are snacks. The meetings are generally pretty well-organized and the host is usually very keen to make everyone have a good time. Imagine an evening out at a friend’s house, only the main conversation topic is going to be what you last read.
You’re going to have interesting conversations, meet new people, have some snacks and drinks, and generally have a great time.
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How to make the best of your book club experience?
Now that you know what the benefits of a book club are and why you should join one, let’s explore a couple of ways you can ensure that you always have a great time at your meetings. Making the best of your book club experience depends a lot on you and how you choose to act as a member.
1. Use Basmo
Reading tracking apps like Basmo can be your ultimate reading buddy and a great way to ensure that you make the best of your book club membership. These tiny little wizards are easy-to-use apps for your smartphone that can help you boost your reading habits and performance considerably. If you are a struggling book club member, here’s how you can benefit from using Basmo.
Basmo is going to help you structure your reading habits and improve your performance. Part of being part of a book club is reading the books you are supposed to, in the timeframe that is set between meetings. That is not always easy, but the good news is that Basmo can help increase your reading efficiency.
Basmo helps you create a reading schedule to ensure that you don’t let a day pass by without doing some reading. The scheduler is easily configurable and can be personalized to meet your every need. You can use the scheduling feature to put your book clubs in the calendar as well, so you don’t forget about any of them and the app is also going to remind you every time you have a scheduled activity coming up.
Basmo helps you meet your goals. Having clear reading goals is a great way to ensure that you stay on track. Our app encourages you to set daily goals for the time you spend reading and also big-picture goals for the number of books you read throughout a year.
Basmo allows you to take notes. Reading with a book club meeting in mind can be somewhat different from the reading you generally do. You need to remember more from what you read and you need to sometimes jot down the important information that you know is going to be discussed in your next meeting.
With Basmo, taking notes while reading is incredibly easy: every time a reading session is launched, the note taking feature becomes available and you can simply start typing. The notes can be easily formatted and organized, and they remain saved within the particular book you are reading.
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2. Ask the right questions
To fully enjoy the benefits of a book club, you need to be an active member. That means going to all the meetings, reading all the books, and constantly being part of the conversation. This doesn’t only increase your chances of actually becoming friends with your book club colleagues, but it also stimulates you intellectually.
Learn to ask the right questions, start conversations, always share your opinions and be mindful of others. They also need to be heard and acknowledged. Being an active member is going to help you enjoy your time every time you go to a meeting and knowing that you are going to actively discuss the books you are reading is also going to push you to read more carefully and you are going to be more in touch with your thoughts and feelings as you read.
3. Keep an open mind
Nobody likes a stubborn person who always thinks they’re right. It may not seem like you misinterpreted the message of a book, but it is important to let others share their opinions and see their point of view even if it differs from your own perspective. Being part of a book club requires quite a lot of mindfulness and respect for what the other club members are thinking.
You are not the only one in the room with thoughts on the book. Wait your turn, share your opinion, but respect what the others are saying as well. You may discover new perspectives, valid points of view, and you will certainly enjoy a sparked conversation.
The benefits of a book club go way beyond what you might expect from your weekly meetings. Being part of a readers’ community can change the way you read, it can help you become more efficient and organized, and can change your views about the books you are reading. Use Basmo to make sure you are always on top of your game and enjoy what our app can do for your reading habits and performance.
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