Bonding over books

If anything can make reading better, it’s getting together with other readers to share thoughts about a book and see the story through new eyes.

Here are three reasons book clubs are the best way to take your book-joy to the next level.

Community

A TALK Book Discussion

Connect with other readers who offer different perspectives on life and books.

“Book discussion gives an opportunity to socialize with others with similar interests and different backgrounds,” said Shelby Schellenger, Graphic Novel Panel leader.

You know when you come to book club you’re meeting on common ground—a love of reading.

“You never know where the conversation will go and the discussion opens your mind to new ideas or ways of thinking,” said Gwen Wilson, member of the Bean There, Read That book club since it started in 2012.

For some people, the friendships are the best part of clubs. Librarian Lissa Staley has led discussions at the library since 2003. Her book club Classics Made Modern meets early to catch up with each other and show off pictures of grandkids before the club meeting begins.

“We call it ‘secret social time,’ although everyone is welcome,” Staley said. “Some folks meet for lunch first and spend the entire afternoon at the library, building connections well beyond the book.”

Dr. Sara Tucker agrees. She has facilitated discussions around Topeka for decades and has seen relationships grow. Tucker leads TALK (Talk About Literature in Kansas) four times a year.

“Books become a vehicle for getting to know a diverse bunch of interesting, intelligent book-reading people,” Tucker said.

Read more & read different 

Book clubs motivate you to keep reading so you can join the conversation and share your perspective. Clubs encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone.

“I like that book club forces me to read stuff I’d never pick up otherwise,” said Michelle Morris co-leader of Bean There Read That. “I’ve found several titles I truly enjoyed.”

Own it or make it your own

Your library offers a club for pretty much every taste from humanities to graphic novels. We even have groups for discussing articles. Some groups meet at the library and some meet at Topeka businesses.

If these aren’t your cup of tea (or coffee) you can start your own group. Our Book Group in a Bag collection offers more than 200 titles for book clubs. Each bag includes 10 copies of the book and a binder full of resources and discussion guides. 

If you need book club advice, just ask a librarian to help you get started.

Miranda Ericsson

Miranda loves to talk lit! Her favorite reads are poetry, literary fiction, and speculative science fiction, and she's passionate about promoting great literature written by Kansas authors. She works with library programs that support and engage writers in our community, so ask her for more information about the Local Writers Workshop, Great Writers Right Here author fair, and Community Novel Project. Miranda is also a member of the library's Genealogy Team and Fiction Team, facilitates TALK book discussions, and co-leads the Bean There, Read That book discussion group.