The Benefits of Book Clubs

Guest Blog: Adam Morris, Twinkl

Monday. Spring was in full bloom. And I was trying to think of excuses to not go to this book club. Car breakdown? Work emergency? Unwell? But I’d promised the host to show up. And I knew I’d feel guilty if I didn’t.

So that was that. I was begrudgingly walking up a hill to a beautifully ramshackle bookshop called Scarthin Books. And settled for telling myself off for not saying no in the first place instead.

Love books, not commitments

In case you’re wondering, I love books. Love books. I could list the reasons why all day long. And often did when I was teaching literacy. But book club felt like the last thing I needed. My reading list was already into double figures. Shelf space was a struggle. And novels were piling high on my bedside table.

It’s a problem every reader loves to have. Deep down. But what’s the point of buying the books I like if I don’t have time to read them? So I was determined to escape as soon as I could.

Yet three years on, and I’m still going.

Why do people make time for book clubs?

It’s no surprise that a book club is a commitment. You’re reading a book each month, then putting a day aside to talk about it.

In an age where free time is worth its weight in gold, you’d think book club is a big ask for anyone.

But are people put off? Nope! And when you look at search data, it’s clear that book clubs aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Not at least according to Google Trends anyway…

What makes a book club so great?

When you work for a publishing company like Twinkl, it doesn’t take long to come across a book club. We even have our own for kids and schools.

You’d expect book clubs to be a hard sell in schools. Especially to reluctant readers. But something magical starts to happen when you read together. I remember the same thing when I was teaching. Enthusiasm would skyrocket.

So how is it that book club convinces someone to part with what little time they have left? 

The benefits.

The benefits of book club

Book club comes with hidden bonuses. Lots of them:

1. You read books you wouldn’t normally pick up.

The first book I read at book club was ‘Diary of an Oxygen Thief.’ I’d never heard of it before in my life. And I loved it.

Contrary to popular belief, people will judge a book by its cover. Or its blurb. When everyone is suggesting books, you end up reading books you’d not have read if the choice was yours. You might not like some of them. But you might love others. And when a book surprises you like that, it can quickly earn a place among your favourites.

2. You learn how other readers think, which makes your own reading better.

Book club is a window. You get to see what other people learn from a book. The more this happens, the richer the story gets. Suddenly you’re getting inspired from a book in more ways than one because you’ve been taught how to see things from lots of perspectives.

3. Your knowledge gets a massive boost.

Let’s assume that before joining a book club, you’d read a book a month for 10 years. That’s a grand total of 120 books. Now add another 20 readers. That figure launches to 2400. All that learning is yours to tap into.

And that’s just from the books. What about all the experience people bring to the table as well? Reading is all about lifelong learning. And all that knowledge is up for grabs every time you open a book to talk about it.

4. You read more than what’s just advertised at the shop

Before starting at a book club, I didn’t know that Roald Dahl wrote adult fiction. Another perk to reading together is you come across lesser known books. Not just the ones on display at the train station.

5. You get time back to read more.

There’s solidarity in reading together. And discussing the book keeps you on track.

I thought that I’d miss out on all the books I wanted to read. But it was the opposite. I read more. Book club helps you to reprioritise. It shocked me just how much I spent time on my phone, or sat watching a TV show I’m not really following.

Few of us like a deadline, but the structure helped me get some of my time back.

The trick to a successful book club…

If you’re reading this (and still reading), you were probably thinking about a book club already. Right? Take it from someone who knows. Book clubs work wonders. For anyone. Whether they’re interested in reading or not.

The trick is to go back to basics. Just enjoy the book. Read and talk about it without the need to overplan or stick to a learning scheme.

Talking points are useful to help get the conversation going, but you have to be willing to go with the flow.

Author bio

Adam Morris works as a Content Executive for Twinkl Educational Publishers. He loves to read. His favourite book is The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. He shares the same passion for seeing that every young person gets the chance to read.

For more book recommendations, head to our Bookshop Lists below & check out our friends, Book Clubs in Schools who can help spark a love in reading in your school.


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