Monday, 28 September 2015
Book Club Decade
This month is the ten year anniversary of the book club at Subiaco Public Library. When the book club was first started there was an immediate response from the public and we had seventeen people at the first session. Ten years later people from that first session are still coming along every sixth week to talk about our latest book and literature in general. Many other members are still coming along after seven or eight years. As facilitator this is of course very pleasing, but it also indicates that for a certain kind of person belonging to a book club is a very rewarding experience.
What is it about book clubs that is so appealing? The principle benefit of joining a book club is that it forces you out of your reading comfort zone. If you are willing to be dedicated and make the effort to read every book, rather than taking the easy way out and merely reading those with immediate appeal, then the benefits are manifold. A disciplined attitude towards reading assists getting through difficult or challenging narratives that might otherwise be abandoned. Reading with a purpose also means reading with a different perspective. You will learn a great deal and also the ability to critically assess texts is gradually developed; a skill that enables a deeper and more rewarding reading experience.
Facilitating the book club for ten years has meant that I’ve read about ninety books that I know I never would have considered reading otherwise. Some I wished I hadn’t read, but most have been of value and a certain amount have been brilliant. At the moment I’m reading Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook (1962) and I have to say that it is proving to be a difficult experience. It took me two hundred pages to finally become immersed in the book and I know that once I finish it I’ll be relieved, however I’m also being exposed to a particular world view and a writing style that I otherwise would have not experienced.
If you’ve ever considered joining a book club, or starting one of your own, then don’t hesitate. If you are willing to be dedicated and select mostly challenging literature then it will enrich your life enormously. Also if you are a single middle aged or older man looking to meet someone then join a book club. Book clubs seem to be the domain of middle aged and older women. With only about five percent of members over the ten years having been male, it’s an indication that it is a potential dating trend that for now remains mostly untapped.