By Kristin Zodrow, TSB Staff
Okay, I’ll admit it. I am a nerd. For this reason, it was no surprise to my friends when I invited them this summer to be in a book club with me. The surprise was actually this —how many people wanted to be a part of it. Based on four years of high school and four years of hearing many of my peers groan about required reading and that boring dude named Shakespeare, I guess my expectations for my fellow Millennials had fallen pretty low. However, it was refreshing when about eight of my friends and their friends too wanted to spend their summer conquering a list of books spanning Thoreau to Kafka to Hemingway.
While I have read on my own many —maybe too many —books in my lifetime, I have never been in a book club. People often associate this activity with older generations and, as I admittedly have done, misjudge the interest of young people in this endeavor. No one who will be in the club this summer has done something like this before. And, while we aren’t entirely voyaging out into the unknown, we really don’t know how this is supposed to work. I think what actually made us all interested was the common goal of tackling books that we know we wouldn’t if on our own. That is all you really need for a successful book club, and that is why I think anyone, no matter what generation you are in, can and should feel confident in starting a group like this.
In writing this piece, I contacted a few book club veterans to get their perspective on what, for some, has been more than a decade’s long experience. Members of ‘The Casual Club” have been meeting in McKinney for 15 years. Dedicated to keeping the meetings comfortable and casual, member Sherry Tucker said the group takes reading seriously, but does not take themselves so much so. Tucker said of the experience, “It has been wonderful to be involved in each others’ lives over the years. We dealt with death, divorce, grandchildren and unemployment. The group has certainly become more than just a book discussion group, though we remain committed to doing that.”
Another seasoned reader is librarian Crystal Hume, who started a book club five months ago to nurture what she calls a love of books. Hume simply posted on Facebook to assemble her 12- to 13-member group that has since read everything from murder mystery novels to nonfiction to Tina Fey’s Bossypants.
Whether you have been an active reader before or not, summer offers anyone more time to engage with great books and great friends. It isn’t school; there is no test or assignment, it is simply “casual” and all for a love of reading.