The Rise of the Silent Book Club: Where Introverts Unite (Quietly)

The Rise of the Silent Book Club: Where Introverts Unite (Quietly)

I guess I've been living under an introverted rock of late because I'd never heard of a club that is growing in popularity worldwide: The Silent Book Club (SBC). Perhaps the quietest rager you will likely ever attend, the Silent Book Club attracts bookworms of all stripes to read the written word of their choice in the company of others. Meetups happen in cities and towns globally, finding quiet nooks in bars, cafes, libraries and bookstores to read in collective quietude.

Hesitant about a long evening discussing books with strangers? Fear not. Although times across chapters vary, meetups might have a short settling-in session to buy a drink or to discuss what you're reading with another attendee, but then it's quiet time for the next hour while everyone retreats into the written word (via book or e-reader, they don't discriminate). If you are looking for a reason to chat with a perfect stranger but are not the best at conversation starters, you have an easy topic to discuss. But, if you prefer the comfort of silence and the presence of others without putting your face in a phone for 60 minutes, you can experience a social-media-free moment reminiscent of another decade.

The first Silent Book Club was started by two friends, Guinevere de la Mare and Laura Gluhanich, back in 2012 in San Francisco. Today, they have over 1000 chapters in over 50 countries led by local volunteers who were inspired to begin a silent book club of their own. In fact, if you want to start a Silent Book Club in your area, you can register for your event through the SBC website, which also offers a few helpful recommendations. You can also easily find out if there is an SBC in your area via their helpful online map (a quick glance shows there are two in Montreal, one in Nairobi, one in Sao Paulo, and well about 1000 more beyond those borders). 

There are so many reasons to love this club beyond being a book lover. If you work from home and require more people time, this offers introverts, in particular, a low-key way of meeting that need. Or, if you find yourself loving the idea of a book club but haven't found one that suits your literary interests, you get the best of both worlds by being able to choose your book and experience a short dose of social time. Others reportedly view the silent book club as an excellent opportunity to learn about books others are reading or a chance to focus on a book you've been meaning to start (or finish) without the distractions of home.

Why So Quiet?

In a world that's always moving at a pace beyond comprehension, the Silent Book Club offers a refreshing and collective slow-down. It's like a spa day or a yoga class for your brain, along with a gentle nudge to speak a word or two to your neighbor. There are no spoilers, no debates over plot twists, just you and your book (and the 5-20 strangers reading next to you). We suggest you try one in your area; we suspect this club will be in your good books.

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