I’ve always had an appreciation for reading, but didn’t allow myself much time or enough focus to sit quietly and just read for a bit. I
confess that I used to have a tall stack (OK, actually STACKS) of books which I desperately longed to read…and maybe only read one full book a year, with a few pages of others sprinkled throughout. Towards the end of 2015, I worked on allowing myself to slow down, relax, and be still. I began to lounge on a comfy chair and read for minutes, sometimes even hours at a time. I came away from those experiences feeling fulfilled, calm, and optimistic. I’ve also noticed that since I’m beginning to read and write more often, my vocabulary and thought process is expanding and sharpening, which is a welcome bonus from executing an enjoyable activity.
Several special people in my life like to read and spend a portion of their leisure time doing just that. More than a few of them have mentioned that they considered joining a book club, but were discouraged from doing so because of a disinterest in the clubs’ reading selections. I think a book discussion would be tons of fun, but I also don’t want to necessarily be forced into reading a book that either doesn’t interest me on the surface or doesn’t fit into my current literary mood. Therefore I came up with a wacky idea of forming an alternative to the usual kind of book club, one which is unconventional in that each member may read a book of their own choosing! This means if there are five people in the club, it is possible that five different books will be read at any given time. Instead of discussing only one book for a few weeks, each person will have the opportunity to discuss their personal current reading selection. Every member will benefit from hearing about books they may not have heard of yet or wouldn’t necessarily choose to read. I feel that this style of discussion will allow us to hear snippets of various stories as well as the reader’s take away and opinions regarding what the text is about. Digesting this information may prompt a member to eventually read a fellow member’s selection, introduce them to newfound authors and their other works, or simply stimulate thought, curiosity, and the pleasure of absorbing another viewpoint. My hope of the Unconventional Book Club is to encourage further development of reading (duh) and vocabulary, public speaking (in a non-threatening, cozy setting, of course), understanding, and camaraderie. [Side Note: A few months ago I had a whisper of this idea and jotted down just a phrase or two. Since brainstorming and then choosing my #OneLittleWord for the New Year, I’d like to think it set my idea into motion.]
Disclaimer: I haven’t attempted a book club of any kind thus far, and I don’t know if this one will sink, float, or swim. What I do know is the more I think about it, the greater sense that it makes in my head and the enthusiasm builds. If nothing else, it will be a fun experience!
Housekeeping: In an effort to maintain a relaxed, low-stress environment, I think one book (of each member’s choice) per month is a good starting point. I know plenty of avid readers who devour several books a month; conversely there are those of us who cannot always make it work in completing one in that time frame. In this club, there will be no pressure to finish your book in a month, but you are welcome to do so (and read additional selections if you like, which you can discuss during that same month). No one will be penalized or judged for reading less or more. We will read at our own pace, without looming deadlines. This club is for entertainment purposes only. There will be no tests or grades. 🙂
OPEN CALL: Initially I’d like to keep the club local so that we can meet in person. If you are in the Phoenix area and this sounds like something that may interest you, please leave me a note below in the Comments section, or send me an email here: Jules@simplebrightlife.com or message me here.