Reading: Solitary or Social?

Reading is a solitary pastime. We sit alone, in silence, our mind in another world and ‘do not disturb’ exuding from our concentrated expression. Reading is a hobby not easily shared with others.


Reading is becoming an increasingly sociable activity. Books connect people, both online, in the virtual world and in real, face-to-face society. Don’t miss out by reading in a bubble, try some of the following:

  • Join a traditional book group. Most groups read one book a month and meet to discuss their opinions (depending on the group there may be coffee, wine or cake …) I’ve mentioned before that I run a book group at my local library and the library or bookshop is a good place to start if you’re looking for a group. Alternatively, start your own. A friend of mine formed a group with her neighbours and they take it in turns to host the meeting.
  • Join a Shared Reading group. I’ve written before about these groups connected to The Reader charity. There is no ‘homework’ reading. It is all aloud during the (usually weekly) meeting.

    Book Fest Sutton Coldfield Library

    Bookfest Sutton Coldfield Library

  • A couple of weeks ago I was a volunteer at Bookfest in my local library. It was a festival of children’s books with lots of author events and activities. I was one of three people on the front desk answering questions and directing people to events. It was fun to be with like-minded book lovers making an event happen that would be too expensive to stage without volunteers.
  • Search out a Facebook group that discusses books. A few to get you going:
    Imogen Clark’s Book Café – Imogen is a best-selling author
    The Book Club – a large and busy group with occasional ‘real-life’ meet ups
    Romantic Fiction Book Club – run by the Romantic Novelists’ Association
    If you can recommend any others, please add them in the comments at the bottom of this post.
  • Review your favourite books online. This could be on Amazon, Good Reads or NetGalley (where you can request advance e-book copies of new novels to review). Or start your own book blog and get social in the virtual world, interacting with readers and writers.
  • Start a book exchange at work, church or wherever groups of people meet. See if you can encourage non-readers to try a novel. What greater gift can you give someone than the love of books?

Reading and the love of books can be as solitary or as social as you choose. Whichever way you do it – happy reading!

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  1. #1 by Lynn Forth on March 13, 2020 - 5:39 pm

    I agree, Sally. If I love a book I can’t wait to discuss it … so I have run 2 book clubs for many years now …(used to be three but that got too much even for me)

    • #2 by Sally Jenkins on March 14, 2020 - 7:51 pm

      And they do say reading lots makes us a better writer, Lynn …

  2. #3 by Helen Yendall on March 13, 2020 - 5:40 pm

    Interesting post, Sally. On long car journeys up to Scotland, my OH and I have started listening to an audiobook (many of these are 12 or more hours long, so that keeps us going all the way there and back!). It’s like ‘reading’ a book at the same time as someone else, as we pause the audiobook after every few chapters and discuss what’s happened – what we think is coming next, the characters we like or don’t like and so on. Great fun and a whole new ‘reading’ experience! I can recommend it.

    • #4 by Sally Jenkins on March 14, 2020 - 7:53 pm

      What a great way to share a book, Helen! (And to pass a boring journey …)

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