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Silent Book Club & the value of reading alone, together

silent book club gathering. A group of people reading alone, together
 Photo credit: Cody Pickens for O, The Oprah Magazine

If you’ve never heard of Silent Book Club before, the idea can sound a little strange. You might be asking, isn’t the whole point of a book club the experience of shared reading? How do you have a book discussion if you aren’t even reading the same thing? And what’s the point of reading in silence around other people? Why on earth would I leave my house for this?

These are all valid questions with very simple answers. First, readers tend to enjoy the company of other readers. We like to share our thoughts on literature, hear book recommendations from others, and experience that magical moment when someone loves the same books that you do.

Beyond the desire to connect with other like-minded people, traditional book clubs tend to be a big commitment that not everyone has time for, and they can add unnecessary pressure to reading.

The Book Club Problem

I’ve been facilitating a book club for four years and while I love it, it is a lot of work. People are busy, so finding time to read the assigned book and then gather to talk about it can often be a heavy lift. And if you don’t have an effective facilitator, you end up spending 10 minutes talking about the book and 2 hours drinking wine and gossiping. Not to mention the difficulty that comes with getting people on board with reading genres that may be outside of their comfort zone. 

And what if you don’t have enough time to read each month? If you can only manage to finish a book or two a month, you may not want that book to be an assigned reading.

The truth is that running a book club is a whole thing. It’s a great thing and I have gained so much joy and value in the four years that I’ve been reading with my own book club, but what makes a good book club really good is the effort that goes into running it. Effort that quite frankly not everyone has time for.

Enter: The Silent Book Club

If you want the fun of reading with others without the pressure that comes with a typical book club, then Silent Book Club is the answer. The idea started in 2012 when two friends— Guinevere de la Mare and Laura Gluhanich— thought “wouldn’t it be great to have a book club where you could just enjoy books, friends, and drinks—without any homework?”

Silent Book Club cofounders Guinevere de la Mare and Laura Gluhanich
Silent Book Club cofounders Guinevere de la Mare and Laura Gluhanich
Photo credit:

We started Silent Book Club because reading with friends enriches our lives and makes us happy. We love hearing about what people are reading (often in their other book clubs) and we think it’s important to put down our phones and be social. Real, live, breathing-the-same-air social, not hearting-you-on-Instagram social.

Instead of the usual book club format where everyone is expected to read the same book by a certain date then feel pressure to prepare talking points and discussion questions, SBC is just about reading and connecting with like-minded people— if that’s your jam.

The beauty of SBC is that there is no commitment. No pressure. No expectation. It’s all about the joy of reading and creating a sense of community around a shared experience. You can connect with other readers if you’d like or just use the space for a quiet and cozy place to read.

Join the Community

If you are intrigued by the idea of a Silent Book Club, then join us at Groundwork Fall River on May 23rd from 5pm-7pm for our first meeting. We’ll provide some light snacks and refreshments but feel free to bring your own as well, and remember to BYOBook!

Send an email to to let us know you’re coming!