Baby boomers have always enjoyed reading. Our parents read bedtime stories to us when we were kids, reading was a big part of our educational curriculum and many of us still enjoy relaxing with a good book. Today, baby boomers are cultivating their love of reading through book clubs. Boomers are joining book clubs in record numbers. This boomer book club trend will likely expand as more boomers retire and join book clubs.
Book clubs are discussion groups where people gather in a relaxed environment, usually a member’s home, to discuss a book they have read. The New York Times reports five million Americans gather in a book club every few weeks in someone’s living room, a bar, a bookstore or a local library. Book clubs allow members to develop a relationship with literature and with the people who read and discuss the books.
Today’s book clubs cater to the baby boomer generation’s interest in literature and socialization. Thus, boomers join book clubs for the social and literary experience. They have discovered that being a member of a book club is fun. While the group discusses the designated book, they also socialize, gossip, consume alcohol and sample oeuvre d’hors and desserts. Food and alcohol are an integral part of the boomer book club experience.
But to boomers, it really is about the book. The book club meetings may be social, but members spend hours reading the recommended book to engage in meaningful discussions focused on the finer points of the storyline. Book club members also look to the collective group’s recommendations for guidance on which books to read because there are so many books available today in every genre.
Now, in addition to the traditional book club venue, there are now online book clubs which are increasing in popularity. According to Thereadingclub.co, book clubs have branched out into:
- the Internet;
- and even Twitter.
While a traditional book club discussion is limited to the opinions and ideas of the people at a club meeting, “a popular online book club discussion forum can have thousands of responses per thread” and this discussion remains in cyberspace for others to view and add comments.
There are a number of benefits to baby boomers joining book clubs. Many join to meet new people and expand their social circles. The gatherings offer socialization, good food and libation and lively intellectual discussions. But the book club experience also broadens the scope of the reader’s literary repertoire because they read books they would not normally choose.
Although the baby boomer book club trend is likely to soar in coming years, most boomers will stick with the traditional book club venue where they meet in a member’s home, engage in a lively discussion of a book they have read, enjoy some refreshments and maybe imbibe in a glass of wine or two. After all, these gatherings are about socialization as well as the literary experience.