Many of us have probably been reading books by ourselves for most of our lives. Outside of the stories our caregivers read to us as a child and a handful of great American novels for high school and college literature courses, there aren’t many spaces to read with others. Unless, of course, we’re intentional about creating them.
There’s something special about reading in community. Recent studies have shown that millennials, more than any other generation, are seeking connection with other readers and joining book clubs for socialization. As a millennial myself, I’m not surprised by this research.
Last week, on November 15, 2023, Wickson Library held its first Wickson Reads Book Club. The gathering was facilitated by librarian Kristen Gere and discussed Emilia Hart’s book Weyward, a 2023 debut novel.
The structure weaves together a braided narrative of Weyward women spanning five centuries, from a 1619 witch trial to modern-day London. The book is laced with tension throughout, and I never once had to “try to get into it” as I so often do with other novels. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it.
There are many perks to joining a book club. In addition to creating a sense of belonging and social connection, it offers book lovers community, lively discussion, accountability, and inspiration to read. Books clubs may broaden our horizons in terms of subject and genre, and introduce us to new perspectives.
I love all of these benefits. And as a mom of two toddlers, I would add that an evening book club is a great way to play that “get-out-of-bedtime-free” card. (Thanks, Jim!)
My favorite aspect of the book club, however, was the space it allowed for different perspectives. Not everyone loved the book choice this month, although it did sound like everyone enjoyed it. Some thought the book negatively stereotyped all male characters. Others believed the book was too feminist.
The gift of receiving a variety of perspectives deepens when patrons discover the why behind each answer. It’s nice to hear how people arrived at their conclusions, especially if I don’t share the same ideology. Beyond that, it is nice to hear various interpretations of the text or a specific scene, and what people’s main takeaways were.
What about you? Are you interested in joining the library’s book club? The Wickson Reads Book Club meets on the third Wednesday of each month. Our next gathering will take place on December 20. We will be reading Greenglass House by Kate Milford, a New York Times Bestseller, National Book Award Nominee, and Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery. This is a middle grade holiday mystery with a surprising twist. Be sure to reserve your copy today. We look forward to connecting with you!