I was just starting to like that character, when the author killed him off. Now the protagonist will have to look for a new mentor for reading community , but who will he turn to—someone good or evil?

The best stories follow timeless formulas, yet are pleasingly unpredictable. Authors of fiction have unlimited creative liberty when drafting their hero’s journey. While non-fiction authors don’t share the same unchecked liberty, they have significant opportunities to determine the tone, depth of information, level of mystery, and retelling of the order of events in their story.

Unpredictability permeates all fascinating reads: main characters hurdle challenges, side characters distract, befriend, encourage, seduce, enable, poison, or deceive them, and the setting or circumstances morph as the characters navigate their obstacles with courage or fear, difficulty or ease, sincerity or humor. Unpredictability is what makes fiction and non-fiction such fun to read…and discuss.

Real Time Book Discussions

Reading is typically a solitary activity. When the three female scientists at NASA face discrimination for being African-American in Hidden Figures, the reader experiences deep frustration. When the allusive main character living in a mansion withholds details about his upbringing in The Great Gatsby, we become curious. Or when the devoted mother disappears in Where’d You Go Bernadette, it’s quite the shock. Yet readers almost always look up from their paper world to find their surroundings unchanged and have no outlet for their questions, take-aways, conspiracies, and revelations.

Put formulaically: Deep Thoughts + No Conversations = Sad Combination for Book Nerd.

And this problem has only increased since the social gathering restrictions ushered in by  COVID-19 have toppled in-person book clubs. But in online reading communities, you can geek out as much as you’d like, making your journey through a book significantly more immersive.

At The Chaptr, we read books separately yet simultaneously. This means whenever readers encounter a confusing concept, interesting twist, or emotive anecdote, they can open our book app and hash it out with fellow readers. Real time book discussions also allow for readers to share hypotheses and predictions about what may happen next in the story.

Deeper Reading, Wider Thinking

 John Coleman writes in Harvard Business Review, that being part of a reading community can help you focus your reading and widen your understanding.  The Chaptr intentionally chooses books from varying genres for this very reason. As Coleman reasons in his article, “Engaging with diverse content—fiction, history, biography, social science—can pull you out of your day-to-day routine and help you make connections between ideas from other fields that might be relevant to your work or life.”

Discussing the book takes you even further. Not only does a looming discussion encourage insightful reading, it also creates a platform for each reader to hear everyone else’s thoughts, interpretations, and connections. Imagine the thought you put into your reading automatically multiplying by however many other minds are in the discussion. Neat, right?

 

“But in online reading communities, you can geek out as much as you’d like, making your journey through a book significantly more immersive.”

 

You’re Held Accountable

Maybe, as you read this, your eyes veer over to a large stack of unread books sitting on your bedside table. They look back at you oh-so judgmentally (beneath a thin layer of dust). Or at least that’s the picture that the Pew Research’s statistics from recent years paint.

And let’s be honest, there’s little motivation to use our limited free time slowly slogging through a book we don’t particularly enjoy. However, reading communities spur commitment. And a lot can be learned from books that aren’t necessarily our cup of tea; empathy is one of those things, suggests Psychology Today. So, if you’re looking for that extra umph of motivation in your literary life, be sure to sign up for a reading community.

Conclusion

The three main benefits of joining a reading community are real-time book discussions, exposure to new ideas, and extra motivation to finish books. If you’re looking for a fun and engaging online reading community, be sure to check us out at The Chaptr!

And hey, the new year is the perfect opportunity to resolve to read more.  With that in mind, is there a book that you’re looking forward to reading in 2021?

May Gauthier

Author May Gauthier

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