RE­WRI­TING THE RULES OF THE BOOK CLUB

Des clubs de lec­ture qui se mettent à la page

Vocable (Anglais) - - Culture Clubs De Lecture -

L’an­née der­nière, Kim Kar­da­shian an­non­çait le lan­ce­ment de son club de lec­ture – un nou­veau pro­jet qui a sur­pris les fans de la star de té­lé­réa­li­té amé­ri­caine. Preuve aus­si, s’il en est, que les clubs de lec­ture ne sont plus ré­ser­vés aux membres du troi­sième âge. Bien­ve­nue dans les clubs de lec­ture nou­velle gé­né­ra­tion...

Eve­ry month a group of millen­nials ga­thers at a pub in Lon­don to dis­cuss what they’ve been rea­ding. The 20- and 30-So­me­things Book Club was foun­ded in 2014 on Mee­tup, an event-sha­ring site, and claims 2,000 fol­lo­wers. Par­ti­ci­pants sug­gest themes and a book is cho­sen ac­cor­din­gly: this month, on the sub­ject of ban­ned books, they have po­red over One Flew Over the Cuck- oo’s Nest. Though there are on­ly 20 spaces per event—which get snap­ped up well in ad­vance—users contri­bute to the dis­cus­sion be­fore, du­ring and af­ter on Mee­tup’s mes­sage boards, with those who at­ten­ded the mee­ting of­ten com­men­ting on the is­sues rai­sed du­ring their con­ver­sa­tion.

2. Des­pite the my­riad dis­trac­tions of Net­flix and so­cial me­dia, li­te­ra­ry chat still has a cer­tain ap­peal for young people. On­line net­works have hel­ped, not hin­de­red, boo­kish en­ga­ge­ment, with What­sApp groups and on­line han­gouts en­abling real-time dis­cus­sion bet­ween in­di­vi­duals across the globe. Those with a par­ti­cu­lar fond­ness for ro­mance fic­tion, say, or sport or bio­gra­phy, can find like-min­ded rea­ders ea­si­ly th­rough web­sites like Goo­dreads. As the dis­cus­sions take place on­line, it in­vites those who may not nor­mal­ly speak up in groups of stran­gers to of­fer their thoughts.

PU­BLIC FI­GURES

3. Ce­le­bri­ties and pu­blic fi­gures have played a si­gni­fi­cant role in this mo­dern ite­ra­tion of the book club. Af­ter 15 years of re­com­men­da­tions dis­cus­sed du­ring her prime-time te­le­vi­sion show, Oprah Win­frey’s book club now hosts on­line dis­cus­sions for the cho­sen texts. Reese Wi­thers­poon cu­rates a month­ly book club on­line to tie in with Hel­lo Sun­shine, her me­dia pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny fo­cu­sed on fe­male-dri­ven nar­ra­tives. Our Sha­red Shelf, Em­ma Wat­son’s fe­mi­nist book club, has been se­lec­ting texts for on­line de­bate since 2016. Any mem­ber can pose a ques­tion to the wi­der group, write a pu­blic re­view or sim­ply ex­press an opinion.

4. Where book clubs were once made up of long-time friends, and conve­ned at each other’s houses, if these new, loo­ser groups meet at all, they do so at res­tau­rants or bars. They have the feel of a net­wor­king event, says Ta­nya, who foun­ded and runs the New Cross Book Club. “I used to live in Is­tan­bul and was part of a book club there,” she says. “I real­ly en­joyed it, and

al­most eve­ryone was in their 30s…It’s de­fi­ni­te­ly be­co­ming a new trend.” Ra­chel, who is part of a group in Lon­don, says that from these as­sor­ted groups, ge­nuine friend­ships are struck up.

DIVERSITY OF OPI­NIONS

5. Some argue that the mo­dern book club boasts a new diversity of opinion. Steve, who has been at­ten­ding the 20- and 30- So­me­things group for two years now, says that he has en­coun­te­red a range of back­grounds wi­thin the group. “Our choice of books is ge­nui­ne­ly eclec­tic, and while we’re ai­med at youn­ger people, we have mem­bers from so ma­ny dif­ferent na­tio­na­li­ties and eth­ni­ci­ties.” Ra­chel agrees. “There’s a wide range of ca­reers...which can be dif­fi­cult to find in your other friend­ship groups.”

6. Sur­veys consis­tent­ly re­veal a thwar­ted de­sire among adults to read more, with work emails and mind­less so­cial-me­dia scrol­ling being the main thieves of time that could other­wise be spent on a good book. Yet it is pre­ci­se­ly these tools that are al­so en­abling vast num­bers of people to en­ter in­to dia­logues, dis­co­ver new wri­ters and ins­ti­gate friend­ships. The In­ter­net pro­vides a ne­ver-en­ding stream of in­for­ma­tion,

di­s­in­for­ma­tion and ru­mour. There is so­me­thing sa­tis­fying about ha­ving eve­ryone, for the length of a book-club no­vel, on the same page.

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