Reading is often thought of as a solitary act, and no wonder. I love reading alone; it’s my favorite past time and introverted escape. It’s enjoyable and easy: all I need is a book, a quiet-ish moment, and a place to sit down. Although if the book is good enough I’ll stand up for it.
Reading is something I can do by myself, but a good book also brings people together. Book people are my favorite people, and when I finish a book, I want to talk about it with my fellow readers!
I love connecting over books, and have found so many bookish kindred spirits this way—people I feel a kinship with because we’re like-minded about reading and share the common experience of the text. A good book is a springboard to a good conversation, because “What did you think about that book?” is a surprisingly personal question.
Reading with others helps make a book spring to life for me. When I approach a book, I do it with my own history, my own understanding; when you approach a book you do the same. When we read together, we both enjoy a richer, fuller experience, because I can borrow your personal experience, and you can borrow mine. This wider understanding heightens the experience.
Reading with friends has helped me appreciate books I don’t love—especially when my friends do. Bookish friends show me the shortcomings of books I loved. It might hurt, but it nevertheless makes me a better reader. They show me what I’m missing when I read a book. And they make me love the good parts even more.
I love the back-and-forth with fellow readers on my podcast. I love hearing your take on the books I’m reading—and the books I want to read—here on the blog. And coming next week, we’re launching an online book club that will make that back-and-forth much easier. We’ll still enjoy the benefits of reading along (choose your own snacks! wear your pajamas! take a nap in the middle of chapter 4!) and we’ll add the benefits of reading in community.
Reading is a solitary act, but there’s so much to be gained from reading together. I’m so looking forward to reading deeper with you, starting October 12.
Update: The MMD Book Club is open!! Come on over!
Talk to me about reading alone, and reading together. How have books forged personal connections in your life? How has reading a book in community brought that title alive for you? Tell us all about it in comments.