I’d spend all day every day devouring books if I could find a way to monetize my habit.
Even with all that, I’m *still* the one scrambling, day of book club meeting (hello undergrad flashbacks!), to finish what we’re discussing.
It’s not I don’t want to read, it’s not even I’m too busy, it’s the fact I’m always reading 5 books simultaneously and am incapable of properly dividing my time.
Invariably I get sucked into a different tome right when I should be prioritizing our club’s selection.
While I feel zero guilt over not finishing, I do feel disappointed (crap, now I have nothing to contribute) and tempted to skip (in effort to avoid spoilers–I always read even if not on time).
In summation, no matter how I wish to be otherwise, I’m a book club member disaster.
Flash backward to last weekend when a neighbor dropped by as I was settling in to read.
hiding and not answering the door letting her know I was busy, I invited her to go home, grab a book and join me.
And an idea was born:
The concept of a solitary reading club.
We were doing a solo activity, yet we were still doing it together (which reminded me of Nick Hornby’s book About A Boy and its SPAT group).
We read in companionable silence for an hour, we chatted about the books we’re reading, we compared notes on recent reads and whether we’d liked or disliked.
The S.R.C. was born.
Carla’s Rules for Solitary Reading Club.
#1. Read what you want. There’s nothing too trashy.
In the olden days I belonged to a book club filled with intelligent, highly educated women. I may be the latter, I could potentially be the former, I still wanted the club to be a place for friendship and light discussion. The chosen books were ones I’d hoped Id read someday, but not necessarily reads I wanted to make time for right then. S.R.C. will be a judgement-free zone.
#2. Talk before. Talk after. Shhhhhh! during.
I’m always searching for book recommendations. I love to vent about life and adore hearing details about yours. That said, however long the designated reading time, it’s important that time is silent and sacred. Quiet reading could be for 20 minutes? It could deliciously last an hour? It doesn’t matter! However long the duration it’s interruption-free, word-immersion time. Connecting, recommending next reads etc fits fantastically after the silence.
#3. No electronics.
I was definitely guilty of *always* having my phone by my side when the child was little and we were apart. Other than that sort of phone call emergency I want S.R.C. time to be a technology free zone. Instagram’ing of book covers. Tweeting an author. Snaps of books reviews. All of those things can be done after.
And yes. In my optimistic mind I’m also hardcore about the fact books brought to read should be paper paper paper.
(We’ll see if that actually happens.)
Hosting an event is an easy endeavor for me. I don’t define myself as baker, cook or foodie and, as a result, am entirely comfortable dashing through a gourmet market hours before and snagging everything delicious I see.
(And adding coffee.)
Ive watched, however, as foodiefriends fret over what to prepare and worry over dietary restrictions/preferences. Not in the S.R.C.! Here readers supply books, snacks and libations (if she chooses host can offer glasses & utensils)! As an added bonus the host will not be distracted from her own plot-consumption by snack serving and drinks delivering.
(I’ll *always* share my canned sparkling water, too!)
And that’s it!
Location (homes? coffee houses?), book swaps (bring faves reads to exchange), meeting frequency decision and done!
I’m really excited about the potential of this as, with school starting next week (!), I’m hoping S.R.C. will be my booster shot until something bigger comes along.
- Do you belong to a book club? If you don’t, is it for fear of not finishing the selection?
- What’s your first reaction to the idea of a Solitary Reading Club?
Angela @ happy fit mama saysAugust 15, 2016 at 4:31 am
Brilliant! I too was part of a book club and would scramble to try to finish it hours before we met. And then if I didn’t finish, I felt like I had nothing to contribute. I like this idea much better. Now to grab some friends and start our own!
Maggie saysAugust 15, 2016 at 2:04 pm
I’m always looking to give myself a break, so of course love this idea! The only part that would be hard I think, is the quiet reading time. This might trigger my inner 12 year old and make me giggle and pass notes 🙂
Carla saysAugust 16, 2016 at 4:55 am
NOTES?? Pen and paper???? Im in 🙂
Susie @ Suzlyfe saysAugust 15, 2016 at 5:13 am
I’d join but I guess that would defeat the purpose 😀 Book clubs are a great idea, but they invariably lead to people skimming, not reading, or forcing the book. Read on your own time, find your discussion, and get to reading!
Allie saysAugust 15, 2016 at 5:18 am
I absolutely love my book club and get really upset when I have to miss it. That said, I LOVE this idea!!! I may book a trip to Austin just for this :-)))
Marcia saysAugust 15, 2016 at 5:43 am
You read my mind. School starts TODAY and I was just contemplating a return to reading. Coffee? Sparkling water? Silence? Friendship? I am SO there! 😀
Bea saysAugust 15, 2016 at 5:53 am
This is a fantastic concept.
I have four friends but we all like different genres!
Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home saysAugust 15, 2016 at 6:01 am
Years ago, I was part of a book club–there were ladies who complained when we talked about the books because they hadn’t read the book yet? Hello? It’s a book club?
I am a voracious reader–but finding time is something that is a challenge for me! I do host that monthly running book club on my blog and I get a lot of enthusiasm from folks but not a ton of participation! Seems like everyone is strapped for time.
Carla saysAugust 16, 2016 at 5:02 am
YES to your last two sentences!! In another life I was a programing director for a womens fitness club. EVERYONE WANTED THE PROGRAMS—no one really had the time to attend the programs for which they clamored.
Coco saysAugust 15, 2016 at 6:18 am
My neighborhood has a book club but they always pick serious books to read. Yours reminds me of the slumber parties we had in middle school when we would stay up all reading! I’d be in for yours but would have to beg for an electronic exception. I find it much easier to read on my iPhone these days, although I do have a new paper book I’m trying to read.
Carla saysAugust 16, 2016 at 5:01 am
ok CONFESSION—I tried the paper last night and I CAIIIINT. Which should be embarrassing but it really isnt 🙂 I can when Im awake and at a table or counter or in a chair BUT couch all snuggled down or BED? Apparently Im too kindle-app accustomed.
Pamela Lutrell saysAugust 15, 2016 at 7:35 am
Great idea! I haven’t joined a book club because I know I would be a skimmer due to such a busy schedule! Love this…
Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner saysAugust 15, 2016 at 7:42 am
What an interesting twist on a book club! I was part of one a few years back and sometimes did have trouble finishing the book on time. My club also seemed to be more focused on the wine lol. Love your idea!
Paula Kiger saysAugust 15, 2016 at 7:43 am
This is sheer genius! My concern would be that I would fall asleep — I get SO drowsy reading no matter where/when. I nodding off allowed in the SRC? If so I would be in. in. in. // And yes I do belong to a book club — it sort of spontaneously started when a group of online local friends were talking about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Turns out we don’t talk a whole bunch about the books (Lacks was an exception…). I have the least “fancy” house of them all which causes me a little bit of anxiety (and causes me to hold “my” months at restaurants) but holy heck I enjoy their lovely homes!
Carla saysAugust 16, 2016 at 5:00 am
See? and now I wanna make it my mission to REMIND YOU YOUR HOUSE IS ENOUGH. I know that. Even without having seen it. Because it is yours and filled you YOU AND LOVE. <3
messymimi saysAugust 15, 2016 at 8:02 am
This is just the kind of reading club i’d love! In fact, it’s what other book clubs aren’t, which is why i’m not part of one. Yet.
Haralee saysAugust 15, 2016 at 8:02 am
I really like this idea. I am a book club drop out. I dropped out because the book selections after a few years were not to my liking as were the members.
Being a talker, I could shut up easily after 15 minutes and then 45 minutes reading and another 15 minutes talking with ease!
MCM Mama Runs saysAugust 15, 2016 at 8:04 am
I love this. I want to be part of it. In fact, I think you and I need to start a virtual solitary book club. I’m pretty sure that would be the best thing ever until you and I can start spending summers in Madison and winters in Austin. Because I’m pretty sure that would be the perfect life.
Carla saysAugust 16, 2016 at 4:59 am
I have a guest room and a strong desire to have you and your family live in it 🙂
Nancy Fox saysAugust 15, 2016 at 8:14 am
Over the years, I have been asked to join several book clubs. Sounds like such a fun adventure but I always decline. I have so many deadlines in my life, I never want one when reading a book.
Carla saysAugust 16, 2016 at 4:58 am
YES NANCY!! It is precisely that. Your last sentence. Life has enough deadlines…
Lois Alter Mark saysAugust 15, 2016 at 8:48 am
Ha ha! Love this! I’ve belonged to a bunch of book clubs over the years and the only one I really liked was the one we paid a professional to facilitate. I’m definitely in for your SRC!
Walker Thornton saysAugust 15, 2016 at 9:05 am
Brilliant idea. I’ve been unable to find a book club that feels right for me–this might be the perfect choice.
amanda saysAugust 15, 2016 at 9:05 am
I love this concept! I love my book club, too, and wouldn’t trade that, even on the occasions I and others don’t finish the book. But this would sit well with my introverted tendencies. Quality time with book and friend–perfect!
While we’re chatting books–please go get A Man Called Ove. I love Ove and want the world to love him, too!
Carla saysAugust 16, 2016 at 4:58 am
DONE!! I cant wait to read it.
Leanne saysAugust 15, 2016 at 9:16 am
I love this Carla – I’ve been in a book club and always got tired of reading a book thru to the bitter end only to find most hadn’t bothered. It wouldn’t matter in your club so please accept my application for membership.
Adela saysAugust 15, 2016 at 9:56 am
I love my book club. Lots of times people don’t finish or even crack open the book. The company is what counts. Still, I like your idea a lot. Chat up the book a little, or just chat.
I heard about a book club where people get together, chat, and exchange books. They never talk about the books, just exchange them. Novel idea, too.
Carla saysAugust 16, 2016 at 4:57 am
YES! I love that notion as well. A CLUB ABOUT BOOKS—not about one specific discussed book.
Jennifer saysAugust 15, 2016 at 9:57 am
The perfect book club for me! I was always skimming the book before our book club meeting then felt guilty the entire time! Not worth it. I like that they challenged me to read outside my comfort zone, but hated it for the same reason.
Carla saysAugust 16, 2016 at 4:57 am
Reading your comment brought back to me all the skimming in the car IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE Ive done in years past 🙂 Definitely not the idea of a book club 🙂
Glenda saysAugust 15, 2016 at 11:41 am
I’ve never joined a book club, but your idea sounds novel. I’m in a writer’s club, and even find critiquing the work of others tedious. I can’t read on demand. In order for me to be fully engaged in what I’m reading, I have to have a strong wanting to do so. And if something doesn’t strike my interest in the beginning, then I’ll tune out.
Carla saysAugust 16, 2016 at 4:56 am
YES!! I love your phrasing as I bet that’s “the underneath it all” for me. A STRONG WANTING isn’t there for the books—merely mild curiosity and an eagerness for the CONNECTION the club provides!
Roz@lens3 saysAugust 15, 2016 at 12:53 pm
LOVE the solitary book club!!!!!
Erin @ Erin's Inside Job saysAugust 15, 2016 at 1:37 pm
Haha this is great! I love it and want to do it every day.
Laura Ehlers saysAugust 15, 2016 at 1:38 pm
What a fun idea! I only belonged to one book club, briefly. It was my sister the scientist’s group. They were way too intellectual for me!!
Roxanne Jones saysAugust 15, 2016 at 5:12 pm
This is a terrific idea, Carla! But like another poster said, I’m afraid I’d nod off because I tend to get sleepy when I read. So if naps could also be part of the SBC, I’m all in!
Carla saysAugust 16, 2016 at 4:55 am
Annnnnd now I want an adult nap club. Mid-day sneak away from work. Meet up somewhere secret/hidden. No words. Only Nappage 🙂
Jody - Fit at 58 saysAugust 15, 2016 at 6:38 pm
I have never belonged to a book club & for me reading & that is an escape so I really want to be alone for that! 🙂 I can laugh out loud or tear up or munch or not munch!
Rena McDaniel saysAugust 15, 2016 at 7:04 pm
I would love to join that kind of book club! I think that once it becomes a book that you “have” to read it no longer becomes fun and becomes a chore which I procrastinate on. No matter that we signed up because we wanted to!
Lucie Palka saysAugust 15, 2016 at 8:17 pm
I’ve never took part of a book club. I like to read at my own pace. I do, however, have 5 sisters and a mom who all love reading similar books. The really good ones will make the rounds!
Carla saysAugust 16, 2016 at 4:54 am
I smiled when I read your comment as THAT IS IT! I like to read at my own pace as well. Sometimes it’s faster than the club—usually it’s not 🙂
Natalie @ A Fit Philosophy saysAugust 16, 2016 at 9:22 am
I totally agree with you that books should be PAPER! I always seem to never finish books when I have them on kindle versions!
emmaclaire saysAugust 18, 2016 at 3:13 pm
Late with my comment, but I LOVE this idea! I was in a small book club that met for 18 years – can you believe it? – until 2 members moved away and we disbanded. I miss that social connection, especially since it was my only ME time through the years when the kids were young. But I don’t miss the pressure of the house being clean and the food being just right and “did I wear this outfit last month???” (I actually started writing down what I wore each meeting so I wouldn’t repeat, how weird is that?)
Our family, however, has always had Tuesday night Reading Dinner. It was a fun time to unplug while still being together. We would talk about each others’ books and pass around the picture books when the kids were young. I love that Hubby and I have continued the tradition even though Buddy and The Princess are out on their own (mostly). I find I look forward to that night so much, as a chance to immerse myself in a book, eat a yummy dinner, share sporadic quotes and just sloooowww down.
Carla saysAugust 19, 2016 at 5:06 am
OH I ADORE THAT TUESDAY NIGHT TRADITION! What a great idea and a way to (yay!) read one night and not talk and STILL not have the Hubby/you feel as though you’re not connecting.
Amber saysAugust 20, 2016 at 10:22 am
I love this idea. I always feel so pressured and stressed in book clubs! What are you reading now?
Larry dunn saysAugust 27, 2016 at 1:58 pm
great plan. i bought a lot of books but i don’t have time to read them all. i have to work hard everyday and really need to take a break in a quiet place then just reading, no talking. 🙂
thanks for sharing
Jack saysSeptember 2, 2016 at 7:13 pm
I love reading books but never thought of this. You’re great! All the rules sound very proper. I’ll share this idea with some friends to create our SRC. Many thanks for your share.