Could a Book Club Enhance Your Life?

book club

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A few years ago, I attended my high school reunion, where I reconnected with a number of long lost friends. It turned out that some of them had not only stayed in touch, but had formed a book club with some other friends they’d met after high school, which they invited me to join. I declined, partly because it didn’t fit into my life at the time, but mainly because it had no appeal to me. I’d never been to a book club, but I’d always imagined it to be something like English class, where they would take a perfectly good book and dissect it to death. One of my friends and I began meeting for lunch several times a year, and one topic that often popped up in conversation was the books we’d each been reading. Eventually I decided I’d like to go check out a book club meeting, and once I did, I quickly decided to join.

I’ve listed below the benefits I’ve received from my book club membership, and am guessing at least some of them will appeal to other introverts. Others are specific to my group and my life, but I’m sharing them too.


I’ve been exposed to a much wider variety of books, and even genres, than I’d have ever chosen to read – or even heard of – myself. These are the titles we’ve read since I joined the group:

This in turn has helped me to realize the value of reading a really good book – one I can sink my teeth into and come away with new insight and not just be entertained. For example, the above reading list has broadened my knowledge about many topics that had never been on my radar, including the work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright and real live “practice babies” that were used to teach mother skills to young women in the mid-20th century. I’m no longer satisfied by novels with predictable plots and uninteresting characters, though I still enjoy the occasional diversion.


It gets me out of the house. The combination of working from home, being an introvert, and being married to someone who is even less social than I am can be isolating. Even I need to connect with the outside world every once in a while!

We meet in one another’s homes, so there’s no loud background music or other gatherings that often make it challenging to have a proper conversation in a restaurant or other public setting.

There are only six members, which for me is the optimum group size. When my husband and I go out, we like to visit with one other couple, or two at most. Any more than that, and it’s no longer an intimate gathering, but the makings of a party.

By the way, not all our group members are introverts, but the nature of the group discussions allows everyone to participate in whatever way is comfortable for them.


It gets me on the road. The members are fairly scattered geographically, so I have to drive anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes to get to a meeting. I’m not uncomfortable driving, but it’s not often that I leave my own city, and  rare that I go to an unfamiliar place, so it’s good for my confidence to do it once in a while.

I get to cook for someone other than my husband and myself. We entertain even less often than we go out, so although I love to cook, I seldom get to make recipes that won’t work in small quantities or don’t fit into our lifestyle. This gives me a chance to do this.

Due to frequent moves since leaving home, until a few years ago the only people in my life were family members and those I’d met in my current place of residence. Being reconnected to childhood friends has given me an incredible feeling of completeness.

Have you ever belonged to a book group? I’d love to hear about it, including some of the books you’ve discussed.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

The Introvert Retreat blog where this was originally published is no longer online, but if you’d like to network with other introverts, join us in The Original Introvert Retreat Group!

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Janet Barclay

I eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, cooking, watching movies, drinking tea, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Hazel Thornton on June 18, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    I have always loved to read, but had the same hesitation you did Janet, about joining a book club. I have since belonged to two different book clubs (in two different states) that had completely different personalities. One met in homes and involved food and wine and lots of visiting. The other was more like a bible study, I suppose because many of the women belong to the same church, in that we always meet at the same location, no drinking, and some of the women take notes and refer back to certain passages during the discussion. But we read much the same sorts of books (a wide variety!) and I have enjoyed both groups in different ways.

    Ironically, this next month we will be discussing my choice of books, which is
    Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,
    by Susan Cain.

    • Janet Barclay on June 18, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      “Quiet” would be an interesting choice – I’m sure it would be enlightening for extraverts as well as introverts. Maybe you’ll share some of the highlights of your discussion with us here!

  2. Hazel Thornton on August 15, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    The book club discussion was quite fun. We used some of the discussion questions provided in the back of the book, because they were good ones. And I told the story about my initial social media discussions on introversion; which led to your inviting me to write for Introvert Retreat; which led to both of us being interviewed for an Albuquerque Journal article; and how, when I finally read the book, I found that Introvert Retreat was mentioned! I figured a lot of book club members were introverted, and they mostly were, but many of them were absent that day — members who may be somewhat introverted, and were known Quiet fans, but who also are known for speaking up in a discussion, which is handy for a discussion leader. This worried me at first, but guess what? It gave me a chance to get to know the others — the, um, quieter ones — a little better! The discussion went much as expected. One member (who happens to be my aunt) offered that from an early age one of her “restorative niches” has been to escape into a book, which she can do anywhere. And the consensus was that reading Quiet was empowering, and that maybe it’s not so bad to be an introvert.

    • Janet Barclay on August 16, 2014 at 7:23 am

      Thank you for coming back to share, Hazel!

      There are only six people in my book group, and the odd time not everyone can make it, and one of the extraverted members has told me she likes having that opportunity to get to know me better, so I can relate!

  3. […] forming friendships with the other members has been a wonderful experience for me. I wrote about the many ways the book club has enhanced my life on Introvert Retreat, so I won’t get into that […]

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