Can a book club make you a better person?
Reading sneaks you inside someone else’s head. Your mind inches up next to theirs. Your stomach churns as their life rolls up and down and squeals around the curves. You experience their pain, realize their wants and needs. You grow to like some characters and detest others, but always, some emotion arises out of your soul when you read a book. Even indifference inspires you. (I labor over why I couldn’t put down Gone Girl and loved The Secret History when I felt so—bleh—about the characters!)
Can a book club make you a better person, though? I say yes. Book clubs introduce you to stories and lives you might never know. Stories, which inspire empathy in you.
But don’t take my word for it. Google “can reading make you empathetic” and peruse the articles. Psychology Today’s article at https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201501/how-reading-can-change-you-in-major-way explains ways in which reading affects us.
I loved this article because it suggests reading makes us more open and empathetic, and I believe empathy softens human nature. There’s nothing better in life than sitting down with a cup of coffee (or glass of wine) and discussing a good book or life issues with empathetic people.
The Cen“Я”Us Book Club
I met some of these people—the kind I like—on a recent night out with an Erie book club. I shared coffee with The Cen“Я”Us Book Club, comprised of five women who were so much fun that I overstayed my welcome. Four out of five of this all-female book club worked for the Census together in 2015. (Hence the clever name.) When their job was done, they’d had so much fun together they wanted to remain friends.
What better way than sharing food, books, and laughter once a month?
The women, overachievers, read two of my novels for their January club meeting and asked me to attend their January meeting. We discussed the books a bit, but more importantly, we laughed our way through the entire evening talking life, people, and comradery. I had a blast. They were fun-loving, positive, and witty book addicts. I’m thinking of writing another book just so I can go back!
Thank you to Marijane, Kim, Pam, Kate, and Maureen for reminding me readers are the most compassionate, passionate, fantastic people in the world!
CJ Zahner is the author of The Suicide Gene, a psychological thriller, and Dream Wide Awake and Project Dream, two thrillers that carry a paranormal element. These last two novels were inspired by Zahner’s own experiences. See the video of her paranormal experience, a premonition of 9/11 here. Download her Beyond Reality Radio podcast here. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, BookBub, or LinkedIn. Purchase her books on Amazon. And watch for her soon to be released novel, Friends Who Move Couches.