Silent Book Club: A time to get away from it all

It’s a guilt-free way to block out time in your schedule to do nothing but read.

Shhhh! Silent book clubs are in session all across the United States.

According to an Aug. 12 National Public Radio report on the subject, Guinevere de la Mare co-founded the Silent Book Club organization with Laura Gluhanich in 2012 because the two were annoyed by the demanding imperatives of traditional book clubs.

In chroniclebooks.com’s “How to Start a Silent Book Club,” de la Mare offered: “It’s a guilt-free way to block out time in your schedule to do nothing but read. It’s the gift of stepping away from the computer and the god-awful news for a couple of hours to simply relax with a book.”

SBC currently recognizes 70 active chapters (no book pun intended). Rules are loose and simple:
‒ Arrive at a designated location.
‒ Share information about what is being read — or don’t.
‒ Read silently for an hour, or more.
‒ Socialize and/or discuss books — or not.
‒ Read more — or go home.

The organization touts, “Silent Book Club is about community. Everyone is welcome, and anyone can do it.”

Why would anyone want to? NPR offered these three reasons:
1. To gather around like-minded people.
2. A “low-pressure” opportunity for introverts to socialize.
3. A way to glean reading recommendations.

Most importantly, points out SBC, individuals have a reason to put down their phones, get out of their comfort zones and be social — if they want to be.

Wine, other beverages and food can but does not have to accompany the Silent Book Club gathering. Some chapters meet at bars or cafés, while others prefer quieter spots like the local library, someon’s home, or a tea or coffee shop.

And, anyone can start an official SBC chapter or an individualized one that is not associated with the SBC organization. Local chapter information and a newsletter are offered at silentbook.club.

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