Books as a Social Pursuit
Books have been written for thousands of years for primarily two purposes: to instruct and to entertain. A successful book can often do both. Apart from reading books at school or for work, quality books serve a useful and meaningful function when pursued for social purposes.
Most of us remember reading books as a child. Growing up, we may have gotten caught up in reading classic treasures and trilogies, like Louisa May Alcott’s Little Womenseries, or Lord of the Rings. Of course, there is the indefatigable and eponymous Harry Potter series. Generations of children have grown up to the words of their favorite authors and characters. As adults, we might reread those beloved favorites of yesteryear, or move on to new and exciting adult-level book series in a variety of genres. From historical romance to spooky horror tales, books offer something for everyone that will stretch their imaginations and exercise their creativity. For some, reading becomes a lifelong habit. For others, it is a distant but pleasurable memory. If you are not reading lately, order a book from
Children who are read to often perform better academically than kids who are not exposed to books at an early age. Listening to parents read aloud or simply sharing a family reading time in the evenings instead of television or sometime over the weekend is a great way to explore new ideas, locations, and experiences. Talking about these cerebral travels over dinner or a treat can bring family members even closer together, especially if some or all have enjoyed the same books recently or in the past. Whether turning print pages or scrolling on a digital reading device, becoming immersed in a world of new ideas is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Sharing these page-turning journeys with family members compounds the enjoyment.
Children can be read to while still developing in the womb, and they grow accustomed to the parent’s voice even before birth. Toddlers love snuggling with parents before bedtime to look at picture books and hear sing-song rhymes spoken by moms and dads. Teens often escape to a private place such as their room or the patio for some private reading time that transports them to worlds beyond their own where none of the daily angst of their awkwardly developing lives seems to matter, at least temporarily. It’s hard to beat family reading with any other type of leisure or entertainment activity.
Book Club Group
For individual readers who want to share their newfound treasures but lack family with whom to discuss their favorite reads, joining a book club provides the emotional, intellectual, and social outlets that serve as conduits in connecting kindred spirits. A reading group may comprise like-minded souls who savor the same genre. Other groups mix it up with members of various ages, genders, ethnicities, and backgrounds who come together to share a common love of reading. Bringing together assorted perspectives and responses to the agreed-on reading selecting can be a deeply meaningful and gratifying event.
Group members might not all like the same book or genre, but they read to expand their minds and to consider new ideas. Some groups use their reading selections as the basis for a writing assignment, or even find inspiration in the selections they read and begin to write stories or books of their own. Few ideas and little time is wasted in these gatherings. Sharing smiles and snacks, along with insightful observations, book clubs and reading groups come together in quest of a deeply-felt or richly-experienced reading venue where they can get to know each other as well as the books they explore together.
Professional Book Circles
Recently, large corporations have begun to realize the resounding impact of timeless ideas and pooled creativity through the medium of books and reading in the workplace. Reading circles are forming in large and small companies where interested employees can spend time together reading and discussing a relevant book. These are not necessarily business books. Rather, the professional book circles are returning to classics old and new, fiction and nonfiction – Sophocles, Shakespeare, and Safire, for example. Managers view reading circles on the job as a way of promoting critical thinking and stimulating intellectual creativity that may well manifest in other areas of the job. Their relatively small, limited, and focused membership forges deeper connections within the organization and seems to enhance a sense of camaraderie and teamwork beyond the book meetings. It appears that many savvy business professionals are recognizing that books cannot be beaten for quality leisure time and cognitive development in the workplace.
Although it may appear to some that technology entertainment like videos, computer games, and cell phone distractions may overshadow the delights of reading a good book, many will agree that books are with us to stay. They may disappear temporarily, but they always rebound when we need them most for inspiration, recreation, and socialization. A good book is like a best friend. It is there when you need it, and unlike some social media users, it never pretends to be something it is not. You can save your place when you stop reading with a bookmark or a tap on the electronic device. You never need fear getting lost in a book – except in a good way.