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On to Book Clubs

I’ve told you about my bridge group. Well, I also belong to a book club, with a waiting list.  We are eleven retired executive and professional women, who were  casual acquaintance, when we started the group a few years ago.  Now we are dear friends.

Not us—they are younger. We sit and talk just like this, though. We always have very interesting, energetic and open discussions.

I don’t remember the exact book, maybe it was Stoner by John Williams.  As often happens we were a bit of topic, when one woman asked—maybe thinking of her own husband–

“Why can’t men be as happy in retirement as women are?”

From across the circle, another woman quipped—

“Because they don’t have book clubs!”

Could there be some truth in this clever and earnest remark?

Benefits of Book Groups.

Regardless of the age or gender of a book club’s members, the benefits are the same. I think that bookbrowse.com summarized best these book club benefits.

      • Encourage yourself to read more especially books you might not normally choose
      • Challenge your mind through discussion and participation
      • Make friends with like-minded people
      • Have fun

I will add another benefit.  I believe that seeing you frequently reading books for enjoyment and reading together will help make  your children and grandchildren lifetime “readers”. 

Extra Benefits for Retirees

I think that joining or creating a book club really is beneficial for retirees as we forge our new lifestyles.

  • Helps make a new circle of friends.  When you retire from work and especially when you move to a new location, your old friendship gang is no more.  Book clubs can help you recreate your social life.
  • Maintains some structure to your days.  One of the problems of retirement is that you don’t have to go to work on time nor do you have to meet a deadline.  Belonging to a book group adds some “have to’s”. You must read the book and occasionally prepare the discussion by the meeting date.
  • Keeps your mind active.  I read a book for my group differently than reading a book for myself.  I find myself actively noting questions about the author, the background, the characters and my own reactions that I would never bother with in my more recreational reading.  Also, when it is my turn to lead the discussion, I have to re-use skills left behind when I retired.

How many book clubs are there?   

My Internet search looking for the answer to how many book clubs are there in just the U.S.A. or England was unsuccessful.  That happens sometimes.  Maybe I was asking the question wrong but I tend to think that no one knows the answer even vaguely.

There are hundreds of sites of book clubs or groups  on the Net.  Clubs with their own website, church groups, library groups, work groups, celebrity clubs, special interest groups, neighborhood groups.   Groups of all kinds and ages.

 Most of the groups are composed of women members. One retired librarian estimated that 40% of the women in her neighborhood belonged to a book group.  Some clubs are a mixture of men and women; however, some people feel that this type of group is not as successful as women seem to prefer different kinds of books.

Book Clubs for Men Only

A few clubs are all male groups; however, this number is increasing.  

To get a feel for an all male club that has been around since 2007, click on this website.    http://www.manbookclub.com/

They write——-

We are a group of men in Marin County, California that meets monthly to discuss books that challenge us…to leave our day jobs behind, to find meaning and enjoyment in literature, and to know each other better in the process

Notice their criteria for book selection.

1. No books by women about women (our cardinal rule)
2. Under 500 pages
3. Author has won or been nominated for a major literary award
4. Fiction or nonfiction
5. Any date of publication

The site has lots of information about the club plus a long list of book summaries.

Another club is  Great Apes Book Group.  (Remember you can click on the red to open in a tab.)

The Great Apes Book Club

This group has been in existence since 1994 and has shared over 150 books.  Their charter rule “no chicks and no chick authors”.

We’ve celebrated successes, marriages, grandchildren, and mourned losses together. To a man and reader, the Great Apes Book Group stands as a positive constant in our lives.

 This website also has an extensive list of book summaries.

Another website that gives us great insight into book clubs for men,

The Oil Barons of Texas.

Yes, they do read and discuss books

They write that men tend to congregate around sports rather than books; therefore, without book groups, life can be devoid of intellectual and emotional discussions.  This group is not only celebrating masculinity but also searching for it.

Again the site has an extensive book list.

So, let me summarize today’s posting about book clubs.

  • Belonging to a book club provides many benefits especially for retirees.
  • Men-only book clubs give men a unique opportunity to read books more preferred by men and to express their feelings in their own community.