Ask me what I thought of joining a book group two years ago, and I would have cringed. Don’t get me wrong, I love discussing books I’ve read. But the idea of having an assigned book to read each month? It felt a little too much like being back in school.
Ask me what I think of joining a book group now? And I would tell you there are few better ways to spend an hour. Being in a book group is nothing like being in school, where there were right answers and wrong answers and someone judging you on the depth and accuracy of your words. Being in a book group is more like those fantastic moments you have when you run into someone who has read the same book as you and you get to gush or gripe over it. Discussing books brings added dimensions to reading that you just can’t duplicate on your own.
But how do you know if it’s right for you or not? Here are some things to think about!
- Do you have time to read or listen to one book a month?
Most book groups meet monthly, meaning you have three to five weeks to read the book, depending on the month. Most book groups have ground rules for if you didn’t finish a book or didn’t have a chance to read, so check in when you join for what that is. In my groups, you can attend, as long as you don’t mind the ending being spoiled!
- Are you ok with reading outside your comfort zone?
Whether you are in a genre specific group or a general read anything group, you have to be prepared to read outside what you might pick for yourself. This is actually one of the greatest things about being in a book group. Many times, that not quite "you" book is one you end up loving. And even if it isn’t, it’s still a great experience to expand your knowledge.
- Does small group discussion terrify you?
This is important! Not everyone loves being part of a group discussion. Maybe you feel better one on one or with a much larger group. That doesn’t mean you can’t be part of a book group, just check in with the group leader to see what size group they usually have. Book groups come in all sizes, from three to thirty members, but most seem to average 6 to 12.