Welcome to #30mins30days in September! Every day we will suggest an activity which you can do right here in Falkirk to get you active, whether mentally or physically. Please let us know what activities you are trying by joining in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #30mins30days. We look forward to seeing which activities prove popular and to see who is trying something new!
DAY 21: Join a Reading Group
You might think that reading groups are simply an arena for book worms to indulge in their favourite passion or for you to have enjoyable argument about your favourite story or characters with like-minded individuals, but book clubs actually offer more lifelong benefits than you realise:
- Everyone knows that reading expands your horizons and book clubs help to do this at an even greater level, with the in-depth discussions and assimilations of different viewpoints all contributing to increasing your knowledge and appreciation of the world around you.
- Joining a reading group can also help to extend your reading, as you'll be tempted to try different types of books that you might not otherwise have chosen by yourself. Many people can become accustomed to the comfort of reading in a favourite genre and may not realise how much they might actually enjoy an altogether different type of book, until they are persuaded to try by other members of the reading group.
- Despite not having a formalised classroom structure, reading groups are actually a fantastic place to promote learning. Discussing books helps to reinforce things in your mind and enable you to retain information better. In addition, the informal learning environment means that there is less fear of "failing" or humiliation before classmates, whilst the urge to participate means that people will be more motivated to read the book and gain the information.
- Each new book allows you the opportunity to "start afresh" and "do better" - whether it is with more participation, improved leadership of discussions, more commitment to reading or simply better retention of the information learnt.
- Book clubs enable you to appreciate otherwise "dry" topics within the context of an involving story - for example, reading books set in certain periods allow you to learn more about history, without the dread of boring facts and dates.
- Book clubs can also be great ways to travel and appreciate other cultures - not only through the books themselves but also through any members with different backgrounds. And discussing these differences helps everyone to understand them by placing them within a larger context.
- Participating in reading group discussions does wonders for your communication skills, teaching you to listen to different points of view and different ways of expression, as well as "discuss and disagree" without resorting to emotional arguments. It teaches you to be both honest and yet tactful, which is a difficult but extremely valuable skill. It provides great experience for use in other arenas, such as work and business - and even family events - so that you learn to express yourself appropriately and accept disagreements without taking it personally.
- For those shy of public speaking, book clubs are a great way to start practising expressing your opinions to an audience or summarising information and presenting it in a coherent and engaging way.
- Reading groups with a rotating roster of leaders means that everyone has a chance to practise their leadership skills and the management of a group of people, with different backgrounds and opinions.
- Book clubs can help you appreciate books that you had rejected in your childhood or within the confines of your school curriculum, as the imminent discussion motivates you to read with more purpose and attention. In particular, having to present a book to the group helps you to crystallise and categorise the information so that it can be conveyed easily and efficiently.
- For those with writing aspirations, book clubs can be a wonderful breeding ground for ideas as well as provide the motivation for you to pen your own literary masterpiece. Listening to other people's assessment of a book and their discussion of likes and dislikes about plot, character and style, can help enormously in your quest to become a better, more successful writer.
- Last but not least, book clubs are great social forums and provide many opportunities to meet and befriend new people from all walks of life, as well as providing an enjoyable and meaningful addition to your social calendar.
We have many book groups available through our libraries – have a look at our listings!
Monday, 21st September 2015