What it Means to be 21 and In a Book Club

Ok to preface, I kind of lied. I'm not just in a book club, I host one. This makes me a nerd and I will be the first to admit it. So for some backstory, I used to live in D.C. (yeah, I know we get it Ailee, you lived in D.C.), and when I was living in D.C., my coworker was telling me about a book club that she's in with her church, which was coincidentally a Mormon church. She kept talking about it, and I really love books so I was like hey, why don't I ask to join while I'm here. I'm not Mormon, but they were still totally fine with me tagging along for a few months. So in I went to a book club where I was the youngest by at least 25 years, and it was FUN. I loved the discussions and the books we read. It was kind of like a socratic seminar but not scary. Unfortunately, I eventually had to move back to Utah, so I found myself needing to find a book club again. 

Fast forward to May of last year. I was in Utah and I was itching to join another book club. I didn't know anyone who was holding one, because all of my friends are in their 20s and it's just not a thing we do. I searched online for book clubs, and I found a few but they consisted of like 300 people and admissions were first come first serve. I found that too stressful and complicated so I figured: why not just make one myself? I like organizing and hosting so this seemed perfect for me. I then texted a bunch of my friends asking if they were interested in joining a book club, thinking that I wouldn't get any responses. I was shocked! Everyone I reached out to was not only interested, but ecstatic at the prospect of being in a book club. Like me, everyone wanted to join a book club but felt like there weren't any in our age group. I had my answer. I then went about choosing a book and sending out invites, and thus my book club was born.

I wanted everything for my first book club to be perfect. I bought a ton of snacks for Costco, made sandwiches, and got a bunch of wine. I wanted book club to be everything I wanted and more. I didn't want it to be underwhelming, so I came up with a 3-page list of discussion questions about the book. I can now see that that was a bit extra, but I was really worried it would be awkward and that we would run out of things to talk about. I'll admit, at first it was awkward because none of us knew how to start, but when we finally got it rolling, it went great. We all had amazing insights and really tackled each question with a lot of thought. I was so happy! I knew I wasn't alone in wanting to have a wholesome book time, and I'm glad I found a bunch of people who had the same views as me.

While I really did enjoy book club, there were some setbacks to it. We are college kids, so we don't realy have a ton of time. Because of that lack of time, people may not be able to read the books for book club. There was one meeting where only 3 of us had read the book and honestly? It was kind of frustrating. I felt like what's the point of having a book club if no one is going to take it seriously enough to read it? I don't have an answer to that at the moment because I am still struggling with this. I think understanding that we are all busy is imperative to understanding why people aren't reading the book. This time around, I am giving a lot more time for people to read the books, and hopefully it'll work out.

In general, being in a book club when you're 21 is super fun. It kind of feels like at this age everything you are expected to do for one involved bars and clubs. For those of us who are more introverted, it feels like there isn't a ton of fun things to do. I want to do more things that aren't just going out and drinking, even though there's nothing wrong with that. There's no age requirement for joining a book club, so you might as well do it if you want to. I did, and I'm so happy about it. I feel like there are so many of us that are just looking for a wholesome time, but we are feeling constrained by society and its rules. Now, book club has been going on for a few months, and it's so great. We each take turns reading books that we like and discussing them. I'm learning a lot about my friends and how they think, and I feel very productive. Being young doesn't hinder you from having complex thoughts about books, and I would argue that now is the best time to join a book club. The reason for that is because college is a time where you are learning about yourself and your beliefs, which makes you more open to different opinions and world views. The older you get, the more set you get in your ways and that might hinder discussions. I feel really enlightened and inspired from book club because of all of these reasons.

Just to be clear, this article isn't to say you need to join a book club (even though you really should), but that you should do what makes you happy. You wanna join a knitting club but feel like you're too young? Do it. You wanna make a scrapbook? JUST DO IT! You should never feel like you aren't the right age to do the things you like (with legal exceptions of course). I made a book club despite my previous belief that they were only for middle-aged women, and I am so happy. A lot of people who joined my book club were people who didn't really read, and now they love it. Basically, do what makes you happy and try new things. So what does it mean to be 21 and in a book club? It means spending time with your friends, talking about books you love, and learning. A lot.

Pic Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4