BY CHARLOTTE AHLIN
EVERYONE HAS A vague idea of what a
book club looks like: a bunch of moms wearing white jeans, drinking white wine spritzers,
discussing The Help by Kathryn Stockett.
Right? Well, you should know that most book
clubs aren’t like that (and if your book club
is like that, then you keep doing you). Book
clubs are actually an excuse to hang with
other book nerds and talk about books. While
eating snacks. What’s not to love?
If you need more convincing, here are a
few reasons book clubs are for everyone.
You can talk about books. Well, yes,
obviously. But just imagine how beautiful it
would be to sit down with people who actually want to hear your opinion on Sense and
Sensibility. Never again will you have to make
literary rants to your confused cat, because
book clubs are all about book talk.
You read books you would never read
otherwise. You might discover that you love
The Sun Also Rises, despite its total lack of
spaceships. Or you might get totally into
Ringworld, even though one of the characters
is a giant talking cat.
There are reading deadlines. What do
you miss most from high school? Probably the
reading deadlines, right? It may sound like a
pain, but deadlines are a great excuse to ignore
all other obligations. You can lock yourself in
your room and actually finish a book.
There’s food and books. You can have
tea and scones for classic English lit, apple pie
and ice cream for Great American Novels,
and kale chips and chia pudding for trendy
There’s wine and books. What’s a book
club without a glass—or three—of wine?
Everyone knows that the best way to analyze
a text is in a comfy chair with a glass of char-donnay and a plate of assorted cheeses.
You’ll find emotional support. Even
book lovers acknowledge that books can mess
you up. George R.R. Martin has taken years
off my life. Sometimes you need to talk (or
hug) it out with other brave souls who’ve been
through the same fictional tragedy. And then
open another bottle of wine.
You’ll meet other book lovers. We love
our friends, even when they like the movie
better than the book. But there’s something
special about bonding over reading, and then
talking about the socioeconomics of the
Harry Potter universe for hours on end.
You’ll participate in literary debates.
There’s nothing wrong with a spirited literary
Eating (!) is just one reason
debate, as long as no one draws blood. And
there’s no teacher to remind you that Jay
arts & entertainment
to belong to a book club
Gatsby represents the failure of the American
dream. You might even leave the evening with
a different perspective.
Take a break from reading “the classics.”
There are many great books considered classics that we may feel duty-bound to read. But
other authors deserve a turn in the spotlight,
too. And if your book club wants to read
Octavia Butler and Toni Morrison all day
long, no one’s going to stop you.
Get other people to read your favorite
books. For some reason, saying, “It’s kind of
about nothing, but it’s still really long and
complex!” never convinces anyone to read
Ulysses. But a book club is a great place to
introduce people to books you love—because
they might love them, too.
It’s fun! Reading is fun. Talking about
reading is fun. Dressing up as literary characters to talk about reading is fun (you don’t
have to do that, but you totally should). Book
clubs are just pure, bookish fun for every
reader out there. C
Charlotte Ahlin ( charlotteahlin.com) is a
writer and actor from New York City.
THE COSTCO CONNECTION
This issue’s Costco Book Club pick is
The Light Between Oceans (Item #703472,
available 8/9), by M.L. Stedman. Tom, a
lighthouse keeper, and his wife, Isabel, live
on a remote island. They’ve had a difficult
time having children, and after Isabel hears
a baby’s cries in the wind, the couple finds
a boat washed ashore carrying a dead man
and an infant. A heart-wrenching decision
subsequently affects the lives of two families. And keep an eye out for the film, which
opens next month.
Join the club!