It’s no secret that I love books. There are many reasons I love books. I love a great story, I love getting swept up in a new place or culture or with new people. I love reading about relationships, growth, and unexpected adventures.
One of my favorite things about books, though, is the magic that happens when I get to talk about a book I’m reading with someone else. Whether with one friend or in a large group, discussing a book almost always makes it better.
There are three key ways I believe talking about books makes life better:
Does small talk feel awkward? Ask about a book a person is reading. Find out you have a book in common? Ask about it. Did you read a book that triggered something in you? Maybe it discussed a traumatizing event or a current event in a different way. Finding a group of people to talk about it could be an amazing conversation that leads to a new understanding or revealing of a truth about the world.
Making new friends as an adult is hard. It feels like there are few ways to connect and meaningful connections. A book club is one (rather natural) way to build camaraderie across a diverse group of people. Maybe the only thing you have in common is that you live in the same neighborhood, but gathering once a month to discuss a book you read in common is a natural way to build friendship. Of course, you have to do some work: you need to read the book and you need to show up at book club.
While it’s not the main reason I read books, I love how books can help me build compassion. There are many things I have never personally experienced in my life. However, through books, I can begin to experience some of them.
On a lighter side, I’ve never travelled to the Amazon, but through books, I’ve had a variety of experiences there. On a more serious note, I was not alive during WW2, but stories have helped me imagine what it could have been like, for a variety of types of people. Reading books, either alone or with a group, can help build our stores of compassion preparing for a time when we might have to access that compassion in our own lives or the lives of people we love.
For whatever reason you love to read, I hope you’ll consider these. And if you aren’t already talking with someone about the books that you read, I hope you’ll find someone soon.