Many seniors deal with:
- Financial stress
- Reduced independence
- Lack of social support
- Medical ailments
- Aches and pains
Reading can offer temporary relief from worrying about these things. If your mind is absorbed in a good book, it’s a lot harder to focus on the things in your life that aren’t going well.
Book club meetings allow you to get out and see new faces other than the ones you see every day, which can provide a fresh alternative to family or caretakers that you see all the time.
Connect with the World
Like we mentioned earlier, book clubs can introduce you to people that you otherwise might not interact with. This can be a wonderful way to meet people from other cultures and generations while learning about their views of the world.
Associating with people different than yourself can foster a sense of connection and empathy which will in turn help you feel connected to the world.
The more you’re exposed to the views of others, the more your perspective will widen. And others will benefit from hearing your views and learning from your experience.
Being able to share the wisdom you’ve earned over the years can be a valuable contribution to society, which can instill a healthy feeling of pride.
Many seniors feel that the modern world is leaving them behind. The books chosen in book clubs are often contemporary books, which can help you stay connected to the quickly changing world.
Sparks Interest in Life
We’ve mentioned a few times that book clubs can improve quality of life and lessen things like depression and anxiety.
This can end up giving you a greater sense of energy and interest in life generally, not only in regards to the book club.
Reading regularly and interacting with others from all walks of life often has the effect of allowing people to feel more creative and curious, discovering new hobbies, and rediscovering old ones.
Join a book club and you might even be tempted to start writing books of your own!
What Should I Expect From a Book Club?
In short, book clubs are regular meetings where people discuss a book that they’ve all read.
Different clubs might each have their own ways of doing things, but the general concept remains the same.
What Will Be Read?
Many book clubs focus on books relating to one topic or theme, like:
- A specific genre (romance, thrillers, sci-fi)
- A Specific author or series
- Explorations of identity (race, gender, etc.)
Some clubs have an agreed-upon reading list, but others decide what to read as a group. Some groups have a different person nominate a book each time.
How Often Do Book Clubs Meet?
Most book clubs meet once a month, but some meet more or less often, depending on the length of the books they usually read.
Book clubs can meet during the day or in the evening, so be sure to pick one that works with your schedule.
Some clubs take breaks during the summer or during the winter holiday season, but others continue year-round.
Where Do They Meet?
Smaller book clubs that are started by people who already know each other often meet in private homes, sometimes rotating to a different home each meeting.
Large book clubs and those run by people who don’t necessarily know each other usually meet in:
- Coffee shops
- Senior centers
Nowadays, in-person meetings aren’t the only way to take part in a book club. There are many online book clubs available too, for those with internet access.
Who Moderates the Meetings?
The book club moderator is someone who keeps the conversation flowing. This person is also in charge of keeping the conversation respectful and on topic.
Depending on the club, there are usually discussion guidelines about communicating respectfully and making sure everyone has the chance to speak.
Some clubs have a set moderator, while others share the responsibility, rotating the role for each meeting.
Moderators will often have a list of prepared questions and talking points to help keep the conversation flowing and on track.
What is the Cost?
It’s usually free to join a book club, but possible expenses can include:
- The book: check your library or used bookstore for inexpensive or free options
- Coffee: clubs that meet at coffee shops are encouraged to buy something from the venue
- Refreshments: it’s a nice gesture to bring a snack or some drinks to meetings that are hosted in people’s homes
- Transportation: to and from the meetings
With everything considered, book clubs are one of the more inexpensive hobbies that someone can have.
How Long Should a Book Club Meeting Last?
Book club meetings can vary in length, depending mostly on how large the club is, and how in-depth the conversation is.
A general rule of thumb is to allow for about 2 hours for a book club meeting.
Some might be as short as an hour and a half, and others might pass the 2-hour mark, but most will be in that area.
Tips for Book Club Success
Follow these 4 suggestions, and your first book club experience is sure to be a success.
Read the Book
It’s hard to discuss a book that you haven’t read, so do your best to carve out time in your schedule to carefully read the assigned book.