Book Clubs: Worth It or Overrated?

by Janna

We’ve all heard of a book club, been invited to one, or been a book club member. They can be a fun and easy way to make new friends and read new books, but they can also feel stressful and demanding. So why am I in two?!

I joined both book clubs in 2016. The first is a formal book club called The Girly Book Club. This book club was founded by Erin Woodward, a native Canadian, when she was working abroad in London. She wanted to make friends and wasn’t super satisfied with the other book clubs she tried so she created her own! A few years and a couple countries later, the Girly Book Club has members in over 10 cities worldwide. I love this book club because I don’t have to worry about picking out the book, we meet in the same place every month (at a bar in downtown Minneapolis), and I get to meet new ladies at each meeting.

Then in May, I joined a book club with a friend from my hometown and a few of her college friends. This book club is vastly different from The Girly Book Club, but that’s why I love both! This book club, which we’re working on naming, is much more informal and I have a direct impact on which book we read. We also are more flexible on when we meet, sometimes reading only half the book before meeting up again and we always make sure everyone can attend.

I would encourage you to do some research before deciding to join any book club to make sure you have the best experience possible. I’ve also included a short list to help you determine if a book club is for you.

Yes, Join!

I am in a reading rut and want to find some new reads outside my comfort zone. In a book club, you’ll inevitably read something you would have never picked up yourself. I would have never picked up Gillian Flynn’s The Grownup and it’s been one of my favorite short reads this year.

I want to make new friends and acquaintances. I’ve met so many new people and forged multiple friendships since joining. I actually met Joli, LQ’s creator, through The Girly Book Club! I will say that these friendships don’t happen overnight. It took a few months until I felt comfortable saying “We should be Facebook friends!” or “Can I get your number?,” but it was so worth it.

I find it difficult to pick out what book I want to read next. I am highly indecisive in all areas of my life so picking a new book to read can feel annoyingly overwhelming. I love that I just have to find this month’s book at the library instead of scouring the shelves.

I love discussing books with anyone and everyone. Have you ever popped into a random conversation with seemingly strangers just because you heard a mention of a book you love/hate/just read? Or have you forced books into the hands of family and friends in hopes they’ll read it so you can have a conversation about that crazy ending? If so, then a book club might be the perfect place for you.

Meh, Maybe Skip.

Reading from a designated list isn’t my thing. If you’re a person who doesn’t like to be told what to do…then reading a book you’re “supposed” to read might feel hindering. And if you know what you like, then why change what’s not broken?

Having to read on a deadline is too much pressure. I’ll admit, being part of two book clubs has occasionally been stressful. Sometimes it feels like too much having to read two books a month on a deadline. If you’re someone who reads pretty slowly and don’t want to be left out of the conversation, a book club might not be the right fit.

I have a huge to-be-read list and don’t have time to add another book each month to the mix. Sometimes you want to read what you want to read and nothing will interfere with your TBR list. And that’s fine! You do you.

I’m super busy and might not be able to attend each month. Everyone has a busy schedule, whether it’s work, school, having a social life, or being a parent. No one will be able to attend every month, but if you’re so busy you’re going to skip multiple meetings in a row, a book club might not be the right choice.

Any and all types of book clubs exist for whatever your interests, social preferences, and schedule allow. I’ve had a great experience joining a book club, but maybe it’s just not your thing. Do whatever your book-loving-heart desires!

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