I'm sure for many people, the thought of a book club conjures up the image of suburban mother's drinking wine and gossiping while The Alchemist sits on the coffee table. In fact until recently I had never stopped to consider that I might join a book club. When you're young you have these strange delusions that you and your interesting friends will spend all of your time discussing books and movies and culture. In these imaginings, my friends and I are also somehow living in the Paris, smoking cigarettes, and dressed with effortless, eclectic chic-ness. And yet, four years after moving to England and three years after graduating university, it was becoming harder and harder to ignore the fact that my circle of friends was shrinking...and we were also failing to have high-minded literary discussions very often. Of course this is not something hold against my friends. We have perfectly engaging and entertaining conversations. My boyfriend and I host dinner parties regularly and are always very proud of the level of witty, intelligent, and charming discourse we are able to foster among our guests (the great thing about hosting dinner parties is that even if we play no part in a conversation, we can still take some credit for inviting each guest and making the seating arrangement).
But even with the most well-read of my friends do I rarely have prolonged, intensive discussions about a particular book. Various books or literary topics come up in conversation but ebb away with the natural flow of our talk. I didn't have any friends to share in my truly obsessive bookish-ness. I didn't have a friend to text when reading a particularly amazing scene in a book, someone I could go with to see every new book-to-movie adaptation.
And so I decided to join a book club. A chance to make some new friends, specifically bookish friends, and an opportunity to devote time every month to talking about books. I chose to join one of Forever Young Adult's book clubs. As I've found the online YA community has been so fun and welcoming I expected a real life off shoot would be the same (and the expectation was, of course, met). Also, my enjoyment of YA is something I don't get a chance to share with the other readers in my life, who are more likely to join me in discussions about contemporary literary fiction and classic literature. The group I've found is a great match and I look forward to our meetings every month. It's so refreshing to read a book and have an in-depth talk with other readers without the pressure found in an academic setting. And yet the discussions can be just as fascinating as those found in my department's seminars. In fact, I'm saving up a post on our last book club read because I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's thoughts at our next meeting.
And so for now this post will serve as my enthusiastic PSA. My message to everyone:
Join a book club!