Are you in a book club? Jennifer Donovan is here today sharing how and why you should start a book club with your friends.
An old article from the Huffington Post is making the rounds in my Facebook feed. Why Women Need Their Girlfriends by Kari Kampakis reinforces the importance of women’s friendships, specifically into their 40s and 50s.
I am in this stage of life now, and I have needed friendships for many of the issues mentioned in the article — illness and death of a parent, caregiving for a grandparent, divorce — not to mention the every day challenges of raising teenagers. But if we spend so much time focused on our kids or our work that we neglect our friendships, we are robbing ourselves of that support, encouragement, and fun that friends can offer.
As a young mom, I made sure I was surrounded by others in the same stage of life. Though many of the friendships were casual, just the contact with other women and other kids was life-affirming. As the kids got older, they got busier, and it became harder to get together.
So what’s a woman to do? How do we meet new friends or make time for those we have or take casual relationships deeper? I have an answer for all three:
Start a book club
A book club is an easy way to invite women into your life. I’m sure there are women who you enjoy chatting with and wish you could go deeper. Think about the moms you gravitate towards at your child’s games, women from the office or from the committees at school, or even your neighbors. See who might be interested in getting together once a month to discuss a book. Here’s a secret that many book club members know:
It’s not always about the book.
You may have friends who are serious readers, and if that interests you, make sure you let them know that reading and discussing will be a priority. But if you are looking for a good reason to get together and enjoy some good food and drink, a book club can be a good start.
It can be whatever you want it to be
- You can get together with women in your own stage of life like other moms from school or swim team or band, or have a multi-generational group of women from your neighborhood or work in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and up (There are many benefits of those kinds of friendships as well).
- You can meet over lunch while the kids are at school or on your lunch break at work, on a Saturday morning, or a weekday evening.
- You can meet in someone’s home or at a restaurant or coffee shop.
Decide on a common goal for the club
- Do you want to read classics, or literary fiction that challenges your mind, or easy chick lit?
- Do you want to meet every month or every few months?
- Do you really care if you discuss the books? It’s okay if that is a secondary pursuit, but you should all agree. If you want a serious discussion, make sure to find others who are looking for that too.
Why a book club?
- It’s an appointment for face time with your friends, and it’s easy to invite newcomers.
- Most people want to read more, and it’s good motivation to get your nose in a book.
- Books — especially contemporary fiction or memoir — can open up all sorts of conversations about marriage, families of origin, child-rearing. This opens the door to going deeper with the women in your life.