Today I thought I'd do a short post on book clubs and related stuff. Seeing how voracious of a reader I am, it seems kind of funny that, up until this year, I'd never been in a book club. However, I have spent some time at reader/writer-related activities, and I did recently have some adventures in book clubness. Book clubs and related booky things are actually really fun, and I do support it, so, here we go!
Like many young readers, I participated in summer reading challenges basically every summer, as well as related activities during school. Elementary school libraries are super cool, and book fair is even cooler. Anyway, I excelled at these events, being, as previous stated, a voracious reader since I was in the womb (only a minor exaggeration). I liked getting the prizes associated with the challenges, but mostly I just really wanted to beat everyone at being the most awesome reader. Which didn't actually happen, but I still was pretty impressive, eh? It's great how much they encourage reading in elementary school, and I'm lucky to have come from a family that also supports that and live in an area where academics are admired.
As a young girl I also went to library events like the American Girl camps, where you'd learn how to waltz and cook and drink tea properly, or whatever. Ignoring the part where no one talked to me, I really liked those. I was just like that back then. (Not to mention, my good imagination meant I could totally pretend my doll was real and we would be friends instead.)
As I grew older, of course, all these events stopped happening so much. Once you hit mid school, I guess they just decide you've probably figured out whether you want to read or not, and they leave you to it. I still did summer reading programs, but the entire thing became a much more private activity. I don't mind that, but there is something to be said for us book people being, you know, actually social. One of the best moments in my life was the release of the last Harry Potter book, the first (and only, thus far) time I was allowed to go to a release party. It was so much fun. Harry Potter has such a beautiful community around it, let me tell you. That release had actually a pretty big effect on my understanding of the literary world.
Still, after that, though I talked to people once in a while about books, but mostly I kept to myself. I had a couple of creative writing classes, and of course my beautiful group of online friends, but I stayed away from in-person writing groups as well because I found writers to be, you know, temperamental. Which we are. When I got to high school, I did try to join a teen program for readers at the library. It didn't go well. I was highly alarmed at all the crazy reading people and, at that point, still very sensitive to any questionable content in books, which, of course, the others were not. I remember how horrified I was at An Abundance of Katherines, which doesn't actually have that much sexual content at all. Such is the life of a sheltered child.
Then, a few years later, Ch1Con came together, and I was able to actually meet my online writer friends and rediscover how wonderful it was to have people to discuss books with. So this last summer, I joined a real actual book club for a while. It was this little thing that the women in our church do, and since I didn't know them that well, I was kind of uncomfortable, but then it turned out to be really nice. Our discussion wasn't nearly as in depth as it was with the Ch1Coners, but there was still the camaraderie there.
So here at BYU-I this year, also in order to deal with my OCD social anxiety, I decided to attend the English department events. However, because of my fibro and having very few transportation choices, I haven't had the chance yet. I intend to join the English Academic Society soon and then we'll see how that goes! In the meantime, Ch1Con has begun a monthly video podcast where we hang out and talk about bookish stuff, so that's fun! Check out our first one, from Thursday, here. (Skip the first 25 min or so to pass over the main technical difficulties. We're still learning!)
Basically, book clubs and other writerly stuff are really cool, and, if you can find the right group, it can be meaningful and enriching as well as fun. So viva la book club! And be brave, my little bookworms.
Thanks for reading guys! Tell me your thoughts about book clubs and the like, and don't forget to check in next time for a post about feminism!
Images via schools.cms.k12.nc.us, harrypotter.wikia.com, and emp.byui.edu.
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