Some of my most enjoyable interactions and discourses have transpired during my participation in book clubs. Starting a book club can help to provide you with great intellectual stimulation, offer you an opportunity to have your ideas heard, discussed, challenged, and refined, provide you with a chance to fellowship with others, and much more. Although some people might think that book clubs are old-fashioned in the postmodern milieu with Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and etc., I contend that there is still nothing like getting together with a group of people face-to-face and discussing a mutually agreed upon book. In a time when there is a dearth of new ideas being offered, a lack of support for creativity, and a dearth of alternatives to the status quo being put forth, beginning a book club is one important way to recover the aforementioned things.
In Madison, Wisconsin, I have an opportunity to see so many people doing random and useless things. They could redirect the time that they are devoting to random and useless things to reading exciting and challenging books, which will allow them to enter into the world of ideas, creativity, and innovation that books can lead us to. For those looking for a creativity outlet, a book club would be a useful and productive means of channeling your energy and desire for creativity expression. You might even compliment your book club with a blog and/or website to allow the discourse that takes place in person to continue once you are no longer face-to-face with all of your book club participants. A blog or website will allow you to share your discussions with a global audience, offering the opportunity to further enrich and enliven your discussions.
Although I suggest that you conduct your book club in a face-to-face format, an online format using a blog, Twitter, and/or Facebook would still give you the chance to have rewarding discourses. I just want people to gain the value of a book club. You do not have to be a college graduate to start a book club, and you do not have to select books that are considered classics. When you are selecting the books that you want to read, you can elect to read books that reflect the interests of the participants in the book club. A book club can be a hip club; that is, your book club does not have to be constructed in the image of a bunch of nerds sitting around reading books. You can read and discuss any works that you have an interest in.
I would encourage you to give starting a new book club today a try. Although it may be called a book club, this does not mean that you have to actually read books—you could read essays and other things as well. Let me know if you need any ideas and/or advice about starting your new book club. If you don’t want to start your own book club, then be sure to join an existing one. If you are having a difficult time finding a book club, then I would be more than glad to start one with you online. Get started today!
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison