I am a big believer in book clubs. I wasn’t always though. When Annie first suggested I create and lead my own just a little over a year ago, I was pretty intimidated by the idea. What if I couldn’t figure out what questions to ask, how to stimulate conversation? What if the group dynamic got awkward? What if I picked the “wrong” book or they hated something I loved? I’m a classic introvert with an overactive imagination so my brain easily filed through a dozen or more worst-case-scenarios as I prepared for that first meeting last January.
I’d sent out the emails, worked on recruiting new members, and even manned a table at our first Book Club Fair to introduce our concept for the Forever Young Adult group. I’d selected a fantasy novel written by a local author and timed the first meeting to fall just before hosting his signing in The Bookshelf. I’d painstakingly crafted at least ten probing questions to present to whoever decided to attend.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit I was relieved. The pressure was off, at least for another month. February I picked something a little more mainstream, a little more recognizable, and had exactly two people attend. This was the perfect start for our little group, one member being someone I’d known my whole life, and the other being a new acquaintance. We stayed small for the first few months, adding a new member every so often, and now we fill the table every month with faces, some new and some familiar, all eager to talk about the one thing we absolutely have in common: books.
Forever Young Adult Book Club has pushed me outside my comfort zone, expanded my boundaries, and enriched my life in so many ways. I’ve grown closer to old friends and made some incredible new ones. We rarely all agree on what we’ve read, but different viewpoints are the lifeblood of a book club. Sometimes we pick a dud but there’s value in reading bad books too. Conversation often rabbit trails away from the material at hand and into our personal lives and experiences, but that’s how you get to know each other and grow closer as a group.
All this to say, please find yourself a book club. I promise it’s worth it. Or create your own! It’s really not as scary as it seems.