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Reading in Community

We often think of reading as a solitary act—something that occurs between the reader

and the book they are holding—but in reality, reading is largely communal.

Perhaps you’ve never thought of reading this way. Fair enough! I’m willing to bet that

most people aren’t reading aloud with someone beside them a regular basis, but are

instead reading alone over a cup of coffee, sitting in a favorite chair, sneaking in a

chapter or two during their lunch break, or snuggling up with a blanket and a good book

before bed when the house is finally in order and the kids are fast asleep.

No matter how you choose to read, every time you pick up a book you join a global

community of readers who have read or are currently reading the exact same book. You

enter into a global conversation about a central text and you become part of that


There are countless ways to join the global conversation of books. Maybe you tap into

the expansive web of readers by creating a Facebook post, crafting a Goodreads

review, or commenting on your favorite book blog. Perhaps you’re well versed in the

realm of social media and you follow #Bookstagram or watch #BookTok. Whichever

method of engagement you choose, try to visualize these opportunities as meaningful

moments of connection with other readers, because that’s precisely what they are.

Beyond a global community of readers, we have the opportunity to participate in a local

community of readers. We participate in this community by frequenting the public library,

but also by having conversations with others about books. Book clubs are an

opportunity for us to be physically present with one another as we discuss books, build

our reading wish lists, connect, and learn from one another.

Ten members of our local community gathered this past week to share what they’ve

been reading at the library’s no obligation book club, “Books for Lunch,” which meets in

the Community Room of the library on the second Tuesday of every month from 12:30-

2pm. This is an opportunity to discover what other’s have been reading and share what

you’ve been reading over a brown bag lunch.

Nonfiction books were most popular this month. Corinne enjoyed The Hidden Life of

Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World by

Peter Wohlleben. Brenda read a book that Pam had previously recommended called

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by American surgeon Atul

Gawande. Sharon B. recommended Daniel Pink's new release The Power of Regret:

How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward; one of the main points of this book is that

people generally regret what they didn’t do more than what they did do. Lastly, a few

members of the group, including Judy, were enthusiastic about How to Prevent the Next

Pandemic by Bill Gates.

Jan read Mitch Albom's The Time Keeper, which she liked a lot, especially Albom’s

personification of Father Time. Susan enjoyed The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand,

an entertaining beach read.Sharon enjoyed Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah, a story of love, loss, and redemption, while Mary revisited a few of literature’s must-read classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird.Sheri read Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles, a sci-fi novel that narrates theexploration and settlement of Mars due to Earth’s eventual devastation by nuclear war, and Roz discovered the Mick Herron Slough House Series, cruising through the first 3 of a six-part thriller series: Slow Horses, Dead Lions, and Real Tigers. The series has

recurring characters, a good spy story, and clever, witty humor.

Whether you are reading alone in your favorite chair or physically present with a group

of others readers, remember that you are part of a global community where each

individual contributes to the greater whole their diversity, personal expertise, and

perspective. Reach out, get involved with your local and global community, and

immerse yourself into the vast oceans of possibilities that stem from the world of books.

Happy reading!

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