How Should a Book Club Be?

Book clubs kind of suck. But we can reclaim them

Photo by Juan Gomez on Unsplash

The evolution of book clubs

Depending on what you consider a book club, you could argue that the first American book club was established before there even was a United States, back in 1634, by a group of pilgrims coming to the colonies. In this one, religious zealot Anne Hutchinson organized a group of ladies to discuss, you guessed it, that week’s boat sermon.

The Amazon industrial complex of modern-day book clubs

Maybe these last two Oprah examples can help us get to the heart of the problem with book clubs: Books as big business for big businesses. Or really, for one big business.

A modest proposal for the One-Way Book Club

I do not mean to suggest that an informed discussion of literature should be discounted—it shouldn’t! Debating the merits of a work of art is always legitimate and can, indeed, lead to a higher understanding and consciousness.

Magazine Publishing Veteran | Bylines with WaPo, WSJ, Marie Claire, Us Weekly | Founder of Shirley Books https://shirleybooks.substack.com/subscribe

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