Today, I thought I'd do a short post on bookish events like clubs and challenges. Seeing how voracious of a reader I am, it's kind of funny that, up until this year, I'd never been in a book club! However, I have spent some time on reader/writer-related activities
As a kid, I participated in reading challenges basically every summer, as well as related activities during school. Elementary school libraries are super cool, and book fair is even cooler. I did well at the challenges. I liked getting the associated prizes, 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. It's great how much they encourage reading in elementary school, and I'm lucky to have come from a family that supports that.
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 liked those. (My good imagination meant I could totally pretend my doll was real and we would be friends instead.)
As I grew older, these events stopped happening so much. Once you hit middle school, I guess they think you've probably figured out whether you want to read or not. 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 events I attended was the release of the last Harry Potter book, the only release event I've been to. It was fantastic. Harry Potter has such a beautiful fandom, and I first truly discovered the world of fandom and fanart and shipping and theorizing through it.
I had a couple of creative writing classes after that, but I mostly stayed away from in-person writing events because I found writers to be, you know, temperamental. When I got to high school, I tried out a teen program for readers at the library. It didn't go very well. I was shy and anxious and still very sensitive to any sexual content in books, which, of course, the others were not. I remember how horrified I was at An Abundance of Katherines. Such is the life of a sheltered child.
A few years later, Ch1Con came together, and I was able to meet my online writer friends and rediscover how wonderful it was to have people to discuss books with. As a result, this last summer, I joined a real actual book club for a while. It was a little thing that the women in our church do. Since I didn't know them that well, I was kind of uncomfortable, but 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.
At BYU - I this year, partly as an OCD social exposure, I plan to attend the English department events. 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 will soon begin a monthly video podcast where we hang out and talk about bookish stuff!
All in all, bookish events can be meaningful and enriching as well as fun. So viva la book club! Be brave, my little bookworms.
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