From the great Greek philosophers gathering at The Socrates School in 400 BC to the modern-day Zoom calls analyzing and commenting on literary texts, the discussion has always been a key part of literature. In Socratic circles, groups of youth in Athens used to convene to analyze stimulating texts by means of asking questions, thoughtful ideas, and communal spirit. Socrates’s method of learning emphasized inquiry and lively discussion. This way of learning and discussion continues to date with the spirit of Socratic circles alive throughout the world.
The very fabric of literature has analysis and discussion embedded in it. But this doesn’t hold true only for literature students, scholars, and academics. The practice of talking about the books we read is commonplace with book clubs, literature discussion groups, and reading response groups. If you’ve ever read the same book as your friend and called them up to talk about it, you would know the feeling is inexplicably good.
To some, the idea of a book club might sound nerdy or redundant. But the right book clubs can be super fun. Spending an hour talking and laughing with like-minded people and discussing your favorite characters in a book does sound fun. In the words of P.G. Wodehouse, “There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.”
The main advantage of reading a common book with a group is that you can assemble to discuss it. This offers a great way to learn many insights from other people’s perspectives. People pay attention to different things. Different people relate to different parts of a book in their own ways and getting to know them can not only show you a different picture of a book, but it can also give you unique perspectives into many aspects of life. It can transform your reading experience.
When you read a book knowing that you would discuss it, a different style of reading arises. It shifts your focus level, and your reading acquires a more fulfilling quality. It’s like taking a holiday trip with your friends. When you travel with a group of people, you talk about things you notice at the place. While you might notice a set of things, your friend might notice other things that you miss. So discussing a book not only equips you with meaningful nuances in a book, this practice helps you develop better comprehension skills and critical thinking in general.
And that’s not all. Discussing books also presents an opportunity for you to have better social experiences with their friends, colleagues, and even people you don’t know. You get some time to discuss things deeper than small talks such as weather and sports. So you get to have quality time with people that also gives you a sense of community and belonging. Besides, lifelong new friendships are forged in the process of bonding over the same book.
After the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world, newer ways of doing things without physical contact were developed. One such development was The Chaptr, an online book club combined with a book subscription box. To join this unique rewarding experience, click here.