I can hardly imagine my life without books and, in general, without the written - wherever it might be, on paper or on computer - words. I like to read and I like to share as often as possible my ideas through words. As I am a passionate book worm and a dedicated writer of book reviews - of any kinds although I must recognize I didn't try yet poetry - the idea of being part of a book club was as natural as possible.
In this respect, I have various experiences. First, I created my own book club, but over a couple of months, the majority of members lost their interest - even the list of books was democratically chosen, trying to accommodate different tastes and preoccupations. The choices were, in their overwhelming majority, literature and less than 300 pages, allowing the members to have a relaxed time. One book per month was, in my opinion, a modest participation to the world of ideas. But, as I said, it didn't worked so since then, I preferred to be an active participant to other people's book clubs.
When you are living as an expat, being part of an English book club is becoming an interesting social experience. Through the discussions and the various dialogue you have in-between meetings, as for example, sharing information about coming lectures and conferences relevant to the list of writers you have on your reading menu, offer various opportunities for a healthy social life.
On the other hand, the simple fact of preparing for the reading, allows you a window of opportunity to put your brain at work beyond the usual hard working schedule. You don't need to be an academic for reading and the passion for books is going beyond social and professional categories. At the end of the day, it helps you a lot to improve your perspective of life, vocabulary and nevertheless, general culture.
In the same time, a good discussion, managed skilfully, give you the chance of an organized and mind-rewarding lecture. You learn how to read - following the narrative and the characters - what to appreciate - the coherence and the style - and even to dare to make comparisons with books touching upon similar subjects already discussed. Because reading it is not only about finishing a certain number of pages, but most importantly, about being able to make your own evaluations and appreciations, going well beyond the simple "I like it" or "I don't like it" type of conclusions.