Snacks. Fellowship. Good conversation.
Those are just a few perks that can come from a monthly book club. Think about it. If you’ve read the book and are actually prepared for the discussion, book clubs can be thought-provoking and even inspiring. And if it’s really good, snacks are served last.
I just don’t see how digital book clubs can provide a similar experience. There is limited emotion when typing on a computer. Yes, if you read a funny comment from online chatter, you might laugh. The same can be said if a serious or sad response to a title is shared. As an observer, you might respond.
But, here’s the kicker: No one can hear the laugh. You’re laughing by yourself in the comfort of your home as you communicate electronically. LOL.
I’m in a book club. I have a busy schedule and can’t always finish the books, but when I do, I am so happy for that third Tuesday evening to arrive.
When we read the book, “The Help” written by Kathryn Stockett last year, we revisited it at least twice after we had moved on. The book later became an award-winning movie. It addressed the controversial issue of racism in the South and the importance of having a voice and demanding to be heard. It really was a good book and a great move, at least to me.
Often films don’t capture the essence of books. That was not the case for “The Help.”
While I did enjoy the film, I liked hearing the interpretations of the book by fellow book-club members and their talk about the women they identified with the most.
There are many people who would read a book just because Oprah Winfrey recommends the title. That is a powerful thing—the ability to move people to action. Her book clubs have definitely helped the authors of the selected books.
It was no different when she hosted her leading talk show. She touches the hearts of many.
With all that influence, I was a little disappointed to read that she was taking the Oprah Book Club 2.0 digital. On June 1, Winfrey announced an interactive and multi-platform book club that uses social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Storify and GroupMe, according to the “USA Today” news article.
I know that technology is the “in” thing, but a book club is about socialization and face-to face interaction. It’s about getting to know different people or even learning something new about old friends through a shared experience.
While Oprah doesn’t come to the thousands of book clubs she might influence, gathering together can provide memorable experiences and hearty discussion. While we can chat online, I would much rather like to see the wrinkle in a fellow book club member’s forehead as she talks about a character she likes or dislikes.
While the digital world is attractive for many reasons, book clubs should remain where they are. Whether that’s meeting in someone’s home, at a local church, library or a community center, they shouldn’t disconnect from one of their best assets: bringing people together.
Yes, the online atmosphere can bring more people together, but the book clubs around the world that still use paper flyers and word-of-mouth to recruit members have also touched a large crowd. Think about it.