Active Aging Presented by Public Health Seattle-King County
Reading is a great way to exercise your brain and improve your sleep. What’s more? According to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, reading may even help to prevent or delay Alzheimer’s.
Whether you’re a book lover or hoping to read more, here are five tips on how to launch your own book club.
Benefits of Starting (or Joining) a Book Club
On its own, reading may seem like a dull or solo activity—but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, there are several physical and mental health benefits associated with reading.
In one 2013 study, researchers found that people who engage in mentally stimulating activities such as reading and solving math problems earlier in life (and for the duration of their lives) are less likely to develop dementia.
Reading has also been proven to decrease blood pressure, lower heart rate, and reduce feelings of psychological distress. Beyond that, reading may even help you live longer. According to a 12-year study published in Innovation in Aging, participants who read books (opposed to other forms of media) lived approximately two years longer than those who didn’t read at all.
How to Start a Book Club
Once you figure out the purpose of your book club (whether you want to socialize, focus on a specific genre, learn something new, etc.), decide on a club name, and determine where you’ll meet (online or in-person) and how often. Then, you’ll be ready to gather your members and host your first discussion.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Word of mouth: Before Facebook, many people relied on word of mouth to get their businesses and ideas off the ground. If you’re interested in starting a book club, try reaching out to your friends first. This could mean chatting with your hairstylist or calling up an old friend—you could even mention it during your weekly fitness class or morning coffee run. When it comes to word of mouth, the opportunities are endless.
- Facebook Groups: If you’re social media savvy, Facebook Groups is a great way to create or find an existing community. To find an existing book club, simply type “book club” in the Facebook search bar. To create your own book club, navigate to the “Groups” tab and click “Create New Group.” Need a step-by-step guide? No problem. Here’s a link to Facebook’s Help page.
- Meetup: Meetup is similar to Facebook in that it helps its users make friends and share ideas. Starting a book club with Meetup is easy for every type of bibliophile—Kindle readers, fantasy bookworms, non-fiction lovers, and so on. You can also search for groups by entering your location and interests.
- Goodreads: Goodreads is one of the largest web-based places for readers to discuss their favorite reads and get book recommendations. To create a group on Goodreads, navigate to the “Community” tab, click “Groups,” and then click “Create a Group.” If you need help, here’s a quick guide on how to create a group on Goodreads.
- Booclubz: Bookclubz is a free site and mobile app designed specifically for users who want to start or join a book club. (According to Forbes, the site has added thousands of book clubs since March 1, 2020!) In addition to managing your club, Bookclubz offers messaging, scheduling, and polling, among other helpful features. To get started, click “Create Your Club” on the Bookclubz homepage. Bookclubz also offers monthly book recommendations with discussion guides, just in case you need a bit of direction or a jumping-off point.
Reading is a great way to improve your physical and mental well-being. And, if you can do it with friends, that’s even better!
Active Aging is presented by Public Health- Seattle & King County. Public Health- Seattle & King County recognizes the important and untold stories of innovation, service, and sacrifice by the Black community and supports efforts to improve equity and achieve social justice. We want everyone to get health insurance and access health care. Visit www.kingcounty.gov/health for health insurance, flu and COVID-19 testing locations.