Books, I find, demand not just to be read, but also to be talked about. They are keen for us to agree and disagree with their contents. They invite us to engage and complement their ideas, and thus enrich the greater dialogue that they are a part of.
Each book is a community. At least, it has the potential to be one. At its fullest realization, fellow readers gather to engage each other in conversations in book clubs, forums, or casual hangouts.
Finding communities in our modern lives, however, is not always easy (see Tribe: Home in Community). But how awesome it is to find one with kindred minds and spirits.
A Craving for Community
My reading has been quite consistent over the past few years, as my Goodreads account can testify. But as the knowledge and information piles one on another, book after book much without an outlet, my craving for a book community has peaked. I need to talk about what I’ve read!
Reading is great, but to have a conversation that goes along with it is superb. Conversations let you digest the books more deeply, exchange ideas and point of views, and probe more interesting questions. Thoughts become more complex. Differences in perspective emerge, and nothing sharpens and refines your views than sitting face to face with others who can challenge your thoughts.
Driven by this craving, I finally sought out my tribe. These are the 3 things I’m doing to talk about books these days.
3 Things I’m Doing to Talk about Books
I’ve been seeing the Facebooks ads for The Next Big Idea Club that feature Adam Grant or Malcolm Gladwell for a few months. Spot on targeting there. What’s a bookworm to do but to click away.
The Next Big Idea Club is an online book club for nonfiction lovers, curated by Adam Grant, Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, and Daniel Pink. I mean, their nonfiction credibility is through the roof. If there’s any book club to join, this is the one. After all, I own each of the four’s books.
How it works: The curators pick the best nonfiction works of the year for the club to read together, one book a month. It’s a subscription service, so you can either get the quarterly mailing of the hardcover books, ebooks, or just the bonus materials. The bonus materials are author interviews by the curators, video lectures, and a closed Facebook group for discussions. There are also live Q&A sessions with the authors. For every subscription, book donations to students in under-resourced communities are made.
It’s all top notch. People post really thoughtful reflections and questions on the Facebook group. And the books are brand-new releases. We’re currently reading The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle.
If you’re a nonfiction lover, definitely check it out.
This meetup in Boulder is awesome. What could be better than talking about books in a coffee shop for 1.5 hours? Everyone seems to be so pleased with finding the group and having an outlet to geek out about business books.
Our next meetup will be on Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant (who is mentioned three times already in this post). If you’re in the Boulder area, come join us!
It tickles me that I have to start a podcast to get to talk about books to long-time friends. So millennial. But these interviews are fantastic because it’s difficult to have an extended, focused conversation about books and reading when 1) they live far away, and 2) kids may interrupt in-person conversations.
There are self-motivated learners everywhere. Famous people get a lot of podcast airtime, but really, gems of insights are always nearby from people we interact everyday. I want to uncover these gems, somehow.
If you enjoy listening to conversations about books, check out my Reading Interview Series!
I actually have not decided whether to keep going indefinitely, or make this a finite project. I told myself to try 6 episodes first and then decide. If you have feedback or comments, please let me know!
How do you find ways to talk about what you read?