Category Archives: Silent Book Club

Silent book club – another warm gathering on a cold winter morning

Our silent book club gatherings are growing … and everyone wants to take part!

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(That envious reader wannabe is Milo, amiable canine assistant at the cafe at which we gather.)

On another cold (but brilliantly sunny this time) Saturday morning, we bundled up, grabbed our books and gathered once again at local cafe Press Books Coffee Vinyl for our third silent book club meeting. Four people attended our inaugural meeting in November, and five gathered for our second meeting in December. This time, after we scrambled a bit to push together another table and grab some additional chairs, our circle was comprised of nine booklovers.

We were together for about two hours or so, and as before, I came away feeling energized and enthused, and pretty confident that fellow attendees felt the same way. The hour of silent reading was both soothing and productive, during which I finished a short story collection over which I’d been lagging and struggling a bit during the week, and also read some poetry. I so enjoyed the discussion beforehand, during which I got to know some neighbours and acquaintances a bit better and learned about the authors and subjects that fuel their individual reading passions, across a range of fiction and non-fiction.

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Here are the books the members our silent book club meeting read and/or discussed today:

Our next meeting is already scheduled for mid-February. Again, I can’t wait. The books, the discussion, the time spent in company with neighbours and devoted readers – it’s all so welcoming and infectious. As I predicted, the warmth of these gatherings is seeing me through this decidedly wintry winter.

Silent book club – getting us through those cold, dark winter days

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On a cold, brooding Saturday morning, we bundled up, grabbed our books and gathered again at local cafe Press Books Coffee Vinyl for our second silent book club meeting. Three of us returned from the inaugural meeting in November and two new members joined us. This time, we gathered at a table near the back of the book-lined room (how perfect is that?) with our books, beverages and pastries, eager to share and be warmed by good, bookish company.

We were only together for a little under two hours, but I came away feeling simultaneously calmed, rejuvenated and energized. The reading time was grand (I finished off two books I teetered on the edge of finishing all week, then started a third) and learning about fellow readers’ latest bookish interests and delights was illuminating. The gathering offered other special moments. One member who is getting back into reading asked for suggestions, and one of the books I brought along for her to sample captivated her: Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese. I was so pleased to see her leave with it tucked under her arm. Another member shared an important milestone: a very special project she has been devoted to for three years is nearing publication.

In addition to coffee, tea, treats and books, Press purveys used vinyl records, and the music that plays in the shop is often from the vinyl selection. Absorbed as I was in my reading, I did let the background music seep in enough to realize that for part of the hour, we were listening to Klaatu. Did that blast from the past add to the pleasant coziness of the occasion?

Here are the books the members our silent book club meeting read and/or discussed today:

I can’t wait until our next meeting, already scheduled for mid-January. I’m certain the warmth of these gatherings will see me through the winter.

Silent book club – looking for time to companionably read together

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How did it go?

The inspiration started here … and then it came up in conversation with some neighbourhood friends this summer after a lovely yoga-in-the-park class. We’re now starting to organize our first silent book club get-together at a neighbourhood coffee shop. We’ve scheduled it for early November, when the weather’s getting cooler and folks might be seeking cozier indoor pursuits, still coupled with an excuse to get out of the house and get out and about in the neighbourhood.

As the description at the link above reinforces, a silent book club is a completely no-pressure version of the traditional book club. The idea is that people still gather with books, and do so at a local cafe, watering hole, restaurant or the like, but …

  1. Everyone shows up with their own book or books, whatever they’re reading at the moment or want to start reading.
  2. At the start of the silent book club, you do a quick survey around the table so everyone can introduce themselves and speak briefly about what they’re reading.
  3. Once the introductions are done and refreshments are ordered and in place, everyone puts their noses in their books and reads – for an hour.
  4. When the hour is up, folks can stick around to chat about their books or whatever, or they can be on their way. No pressure!

I recently heard an item on CBC Radio about something called The Loneliness Project. In my mind, the plight of contributors to the project connected with the reference on that Silent Book Club web page to “introvert happy hour”. I certainly don’t want to downplay or oversimplify why people are lonely and how difficult it is to remedy that … but maybe little gatherings like this are a modest possibility.

I’m guessing you come away from a silent book club gathering having enjoyed some quiet fellowship and perhaps having picked up some leads on future good reads. If you hold the gathering in a neighbourhood establishment, you’re helping support your local businesses while you’re at it. Well, this is my humble hope as we anticipate our first gathering. I’ll be sure to report back.


How did it go?

Splendidly! We held our first silent book club meeting on November 4th at local cafe Press Books Coffee Vinyl. Four of us gathered with books in hand – three reading paper books, one reading on iPad and phone. We settled in by the front window with coffees and chai lattes. We not only discussed the books we were planning to read during the upcoming silent reading hour, but other books we’d read recently. We all compiled lists of recommendations and ideas. And then we got to it, engrossed in our reading for the next hour while other cafe customers wandered in and out, the cafe’s resident dog trotted about and the Tragically Hip’s Phantom Power played in the background. The hour went quickly. I felt I’d gobbled great chunks of the novel and poetry collection I brought along.

We’ve already made a date for our next silent book club meeting, in about a month. I can’t wait for what I know will feel like an oasis of calm and thought, just as it did today.

Here are the books the members our silent book club meeting read and/or discussed today:

No TV For Woodpeckers by Gary Barwin
Bella by Terri Favro, illustrated by Ron Edding
In the Cage by Kevin Hardcastle
Next Year For Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson
Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson
The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese

See also:

Sustained silent reading (Wikipedia) – thank you, Gary Barwin!