If you, like me, are a big reader and an introvert who likes being around people but tires quickly of the need to keep chatting, a silent book club sounds like the best kind of party imaginable. Basically, it consists of getting a group of people together to companionably, quietly, read whatever they want. It’s an idea that began with a writer in San Francisco who wanted to block out time to read, with friends, and organized a monthly get-together at a local coffee shop. The idea spread to dozens of cities around the world. On a typical evening, people order drinks and, perhaps, snacks, briefly discuss their book – and then spend an hour and a half just reading together.
Vicki Zeigler, who started a silent book club in Toronto, told the CBC recently that she didn’t like regular book clubs because they required everybody to read the same book and spend the two hours discussing it – when she wanted to read whatever she liked, and skip the long conversations. A silent book club lets her read what she wants and still spend time with others. “I just love reading and I love reading with other people — no matter what they’re reading — hanging out and quiet companionship,” Ziegler said to the CBC.
Nova Scotia is not among the more than 100 silent book clubs listed on its website, but in fact, Good Robot Brewing Company in Halifax has been holding silent reading gatherings – “imbibraries — for the past few years. “Two hours. Your book. Your beer,” it says on its description. The rules are no mobile phones, wifi or small talk – just two hours of reading, followed, by those who want it, socializing. Even introverts say that the silent reading hours create a kind of kinship that makes the socializing welcome. As one Good Robot reader told Chris Muise, a writer at the Halifax Media Coop, “it’s a sense of community, and you don’t even talk to each other.” But then, a love of reading can create rapport, even without conversation.
CBC on the spread of Silent Book Clubs: Silent book clubs allow book lovers to read alone, but together
The Silent Book Club blog (and how to start your own) https://silentbook.club
Good Robot’s Imbibrary: SILENT READING AT THE IMBIBRARY