02C2A: Family Book Club

Saturday - Terraforming Mars

I know I've made references to our family book club in my blog updates, so I wanted to take a bit more time to celebrate it today.

Most of our core family unit are rather prolific readers and the notion of reading a book together has come up repeatedly over the years. One thing led to another this year and we formally opted to create a book club effort, even going as far as creating accounts on this Bookclubs website to help organize ourselves. We've agreed to meet every two weeks and each sprint is at least 100 pages of whichever title we're reading. We send out calendar reminders and everything.

Since we started the "club" this year we've read 8 books and are on schedule to finish our ninth novel within the next two weeks. We haven't stuck to any particular genre and we've read at least one book suggested by each member of the group by now, so that's a good amount of diversity. And this means everything from more serious non-fiction stuff to a lot of titles featured on various bestseller lists. The only rule is that any book submitted for the group's consideration needs to be a book that none of us have read yet - which is rather tricky since I did say we all read a lot.

It's rare that everyone has truly loved any of the books that we've covered - I think the book that had the best reception thus far was Interior Chinatown. But despite the many books we've ridiculed and torn apart in our discussions, we always enjoy the experience. One of our big learnings thus far is that the books that dominate the bestseller lists or even common book club-recommended books are rarely books that we are likely to like.

But the more important learning from all this is that it's not about the book, it's about the club. Of course, we'd like to read more books that we'll all enjoy, but what is more important is that we get to meet (even if just virtually) regularly and we spend at least an hour talking. And as is the way of any family gathering of this nature, our book club meetings are maybe 50% about the book and 50% just us catching up and sharing stories from the last few weeks. And that's what really makes book club such an important part of our routine.

Our family book club is definitely one of the better additions to our schedules for this year and I think we'll keep this up indefinitely. There will always be more books to read and thus more books for us to discuss, critique, and wonder why we invested in the time. But more importantly, it means that we have another touchpoint to help us keep in touch despite being in different countries or whatever. Even when I stay up to play board games the Friday night before, I will still make sure that I wake up for a scheduled book club meeting because I really don't want to miss it. 

I hope you all find your own ways to regularly connect with family no matter where you are in the world or how your schedules and routines change as is the way with life. It'll really make a big difference in your life - I pretty much guarantee it.