[Note from Frolic: We are SO excited to welcome our friends Mocha Girls Read to Frolic! Every month they will be sharing what books they are talking about in their book club. If you want to join/learn more visit them here.]
Book clubs have their own unique draw for different reasons, and every book club is not for every avid reader. The moment I knew I needed to look for a book club was when my best girlfriends would agree to read a book and discuss it, and then the discussion would turn into a lecture by me enumerating the metaphors and themes of said books. They were willing to humor me, God bless them, but they were not “into it,” and I finally had to admit that to myself. (Insert chuckle) It’s OK. Really. It forced me to branch out.
My top three reasons that book clubs are important starts with intellectual stimulation. Plain and simple. When we leave the hallowed halls of high school and college, we seldom take the time to ponder the deeper meaning of life, the way a story is woven, or the poetic beauty and lyrical quality of certain authors. Most of all, we do not always have a way to express how books have altered our way of thinking or the questions that arise as a result of peeking into the lives of people we would never meet in a lifetime. Perspective. We gain a wider world view. And that’s a lot of information to digest, especially if you are not discussing it with anyone. In that way, book clubs provide mental stimulation, and some might say cheap therapy.
The second reason book clubs are important is that they provide a way for women and men who have similar interests to explore new topics together. This this true of genre book clubs as well as those that cover a wide variety of titles. A book club, for example, turned me onto Octavia Butler and science fiction written by African American authors I might otherwise have ignored. Some clubs read books by authors of specific ethnic origins, and this is a good thing because it helps bring those authors to the attention of a larger audience. While every author can’t be named to Oprah’s Book Club list, many new and budding authors can benefit from the attention book clubs bring.
Finally, just as other groups are good ways to network and meet other professionals or likeminded people in your city, state, or community, book clubs serve the same purpose. One of the most exciting things about starting a new chapter of Mocha Girls Read has been to see women coming together for a shared interest and being able to bond and make friends. Many are new to the city, while others are looking for new friends or a way to expand their circles. And here, in the world of book clubs, readers find new friends, and a comfy place to land. It takes a special kind to let you feed your inner geek and talk ad nauseum about a phrase in a paragraph… or the way the author describes the sun setting on the lake. To some it’s minutiae, to book clubbers, it’s icing on the cake. And the wine… don’t forget the wine.
Joy Simone for Mocha Girls Read
Ms. Simone is a journalist, professor, blogger and poet. She has authored two books of short stories, The Wedding Plan and Faithful & Other Stories and is currently working on her debut novel, Beauty. Joy has a passion for history and literature and enjoys teaching. She helped launch the book club Mocha Girls Read, Philly chapter, in 2018.
You can follow her on Facebook @ajoysimone.