Last Updated on August 18, 2023 by Louisa
Reading is often considered a solitary activity; you read alone and often in a quiet or relaxing space.
But you might be interested to learn that there are some key benefits to sharing your reading experience with others; such as in a book club.
One of the major benefits of a book club is being able to learn about the book your reading in a new way.
As you read, you are completely immersed in the amazing world you find yourself in, taking in all the thoughts, feelings, and emotions – but someone might have a different experience to you.
Book clubs allow you to delve deeper, discover new connections, and strengthen your understanding and love for the book.
But there’s more. In this guide, I’ve listed all the key benefits of a book club and why they are an important part of the book culture even in today’s heavily digital world.
When you join a book club, there’s going to be a wide variety of members that all have different backgrounds, opinions, experiences, and reading habits.
By sharing with others, you can gain many intellectual benefits.
1. You may learn something new from the book
One of the main benefits of book clubs is that everyone gets their turn to speak, whether that’s about the book in question, or a relatable experience or situation.
In hearing other people discuss their thoughts and feelings about a book, or ask thought-provoking book club questions, you may just pick up on something that you didn’t notice.
Or see the book, character or plot in a new light.
Sharing your thoughts and listening to others is a great way to get a differing perspective on what you’ve read, strengthening your understanding of the text, and building a deeper relationship with the story.
Also, when you’ve got a lot of people all coming together to analyze as you do at a book club, this exposes you to a whole heap of new ideas about why the author might have killed the character off, or why they chose to end the chapter in the way they did.
2. Strengthens your emotional intelligence
Sharing also allows you to understand feelings in a new light. By listening to others, and sharing your emotions about a book in a book club, it can get quite personal.
When things get personal, such as comparing a story to our own experienced, it promotes a wider conversation to be had with the group.
3. It teaches you to understand others
Through the sharing process, you’ll find yourself learning a lot about the people you attend with, and how your view on something might be completely different from that of the person sitting opposite you.
When you’re in a group situation like this, with a large number of different brains all conversing and analyzing the same book, it’s important to keep an open mind and understand that not everyone shares your opinion.
This massively helps to broaden your perspective and can even lead you to become a much more understanding person.
4. It allows you to think more critically
This exposure to new ideas and a broadening sense of perspective only helps to improve your critical thinking skills.
When you read, your mind automatically forms its own path of opinion, and with the book club’s ability to challenge even your own opinion because of your subjection to other people’s thoughts and judgments.
Over time you’ll certainly notice an improvement in your ability to understand a variety of ideas and form a clear opinion, not just about books, but about circumstances in your life.
It’s not just intellectually that book clubs have their benefits – they also are a super social activity too.
5. You feel part of a community
You’ll meet new people that all share that same love for books that you also have which is great for those who feel a lost sense of community.
Having that same interest in something immediately makes it easier to form a strong connection, and after just a few sessions you’ll already feel much closer to them.
This connection that you’ll have with the other members will give you a huge sense of community.
If you have moved from your hometown and have not yet settled into the new place, then this is a great way to find a sense of belonging.
6. Improves confidence
You’ll feel great knowing that you’re an integral part of the book club, leading you to become more confident and more able to speak your mind freely.
If you’re someone who is normally quite shy, by opening up in a community space, sharing your love for something with other likeminded people, you will start to find opening up becomes easier.
It may be as trivial as being confident enough to order in a restaurant by yourself, to standing up for yourself in the face of adversity – by practicing opening up, you will feel more confident to do it in other situations.
On the contrary, if you don’t involve yourself and don’t open yourself up to potential vulnerabilities when it comes to speaking out loud in front of the group, you won’t get as much from the book club and ultimately, it’ll taint your experience.
6. Make new friends
The better somebody knows you, the more comfortable they feel around you, and as a result, members might even organize something outside of the book club meetings.
This could be a film screening of a book adaptation for example, or simply just a coffee or a meal.
Yes, you get to meet new people in a book club, but it’s more than that – those people could well become your new friends.
You have the space to speak openly about something you are passionate about with likeminded people which can lead to long-lasting friendships.
7. Improves social skills
With that being said, it’s okay to be nervous or shy, and as book clubs are such a social experience you’ll be encouraged to come out of your shell and interact, likely without you even noticing.
Through this, you’ll improve important social skills like communicating with others and listening.
The ability to sit and listen to other people’s thoughts and opinions and then take those same thoughts and apply them to the way you interpret situations within the book for example.
When we’re stressed out because of the challenges of life, sometimes all someone needs is to sit down with a good book, and a glass of wine and just relax.
Whether it’s on the couch, in the garden, or on the beach, being alone with a book just allows you time to yourself to just de-stress.
There are many mental health benefits to a book club, such as…
8. Book clubs are stress relievers
Don’t think that by attending a book club, you’ll be giving up your only stress reliever.
A book club can also act as one too.
For the hour or two a week you’ll be in attendance, you’ll almost certainly forget about any troubles you have at work or in your private life, and the only thing that’ll matter is the book you are all reading together.
Whether it’s having a heated debate on whether or not the main character was wrong to have the affair, or if you are discussing the author’s style of writing – the minute you walk through the doors of wherever it is held, the social and inquisitive nature of a book club will help you to leave stress at the entrance.
9. Gives a sense of achievement
I briefly touched on the confidence book clubs can give you previously, but consistently attending and participating in one can also give you a massive sense of accomplishment.
You’ll feel great knowing that you can look forward to, and take part, in group discussions which will ultimately boost your self-esteem and your confidence.
10. Improves empathy and compassion
Empathy is an incredibly important trait to have as it means you can understand and connect with someone else through theirs, and your feelings.
A book club can help to bring this trait out in yourself, even if you don’t think of yourself as a very empathetic person.
You’ll need to sit and listen to everyone’s ideas, and then not only listen to them but try to understand why they might feel this way about a certain situation or scenario.
If you were on your own reading a book, or even if you weren’t reading but thinking about it to yourself, you don’t have any other thoughts or ideas apart from your own.
As I’ve mentioned, book clubs are great places to meet new people and have new conversations. But there are some personal benefits of a book club, too.
11. Discover new reading material
One of the best things about attending a book club is the fact it will often force you to read books in genres you might previously have never given thought to.
To pick the next book, it’ll usually be a group decision and can be through a suggestion, group choice out of three books for example, or through group rotation.
All of these methods will make sure the selection is diverse and you’ll have a chance to read a wide variety of genres.
Not only will this benefit you as a reader, but you might also discover a genre that you enjoyed that you hadn’t read before.
12. Discover new hobbies and interests
Away from books, it’s a similar situation with the wider topic of your interests and the things you like to do.
You’ll have a wide range of people at a book club who all like different things.
You might really get along with one of the members that play hockey on a Tuesday night for example and they invite you to come along.
Next thing you know, you’re an important part of the team!
The same thing can be said for music, films, and television too.
Even cooking, you might never really cook at home, and someone is telling you about this amazing recipe for a dish you like eating, so you give it a go and find you enjoy it.
Attending a book club, or any similar social club can really help to broaden your horizons and allow you to discover new interests and hobbies you might otherwise have not given a try.
There are also practical benefits that come with attending a book club.
13. Increases productivity
When people find themselves in a regular routine, it dramatically increases their productivity.
You feel more active, more involved in things, and are more likely to do things that you otherwise wouldn’t if you were choosing to be just a little bit lazy in general.
14. Helps ensure you don’t hit a reading slump
Attending a book club is no different, and if you continuously attend week in and week out, then you’ll naturally stay committed to reading and stay out of a reading slump.
Book clubs help you to stay committed to reading in other ways too, like switching up the genres regularly.
If you’re prone to only reading romance novels for example, you’ll likely get pretty bored of the genre eventually which will mean you’re less likely to pick up the book.
This means your interest in reading is never wavered.
15. Helps you commit to deadlines
If you’re a busy person then it can be quite hard to find time for everything in your day, but usually, if you’ve got a book club meeting scheduled, you’ll likely attend as you won’t want to let yourself down, and the group.
This installs commitment in you and helps you learn to stick to deadlines. These deadlines can be transferred to other parts of your life, too.
If your book club sets the group a three-week deadline to finish the book, you’ll feel extra motivated to read the book and eventually, you’ll get into the habit of reading quickly and efficiently.
Book clubs are so much more than just reading and analyzing a book within a group.
They’re perfect opportunities to improve important skills for everyday life, like the ability to properly listen to someone and take on board what they’re saying, or having more empathy towards situations.
They also help you to form new friendships and discover new hobbies.
In short, they’re an amazing place to attend regularly because not only will you grow as a person, but you’ll keep focused, stay productive and meet some great people along the way.
Related post: How to run a book club