We read to know we are not alone. ~ C.S. Lewis
May is Mental Health Month!!
Book Clubs were invented in 1600’s by women aboard a ship on their way to Massachusetts Bay Colony. The first ever woman to earn a living by writing started out in a book club where they read each other’s work. Book clubs have historically been a way that women use their voices without actually speaking up. Built to house conversation around chosen books in a specific niche, they gave women around the globe security. It’s culturally normal to mock women and their book clubs. As I write three or four scenes from different movies or shows flicker into focus. Picturesque scenes of women sitting in a living room in a circle. Snacks in the middle, and a man walks in to cluck and tease them for their “hen pecking” or something equally degrading. What people watching quietly never say is that the joke is on them, or whoever finds the joke funny, because that “hen pecking” has given people power amongst themselves for centuries. The word “people” should be emphasized here, as book clubs are not just gender-specific to women. Our beloved Benjamin Franklin was also a proud member of a book club. People of all gender identies (including non-binary), deserve a place like this. Everyone should be able to process their shit. We all have it.
I am not going to try to sell you on the many benefits of reading, though I did list a couple in the benefits section. If you hate reading books, there’s nothing I can say in this post that will magically turn your pumpkin into a nightstand with a lamp, nor your mouse into a hot cup of tea, or coffee, or Bang Energy, whatever. You either like to read and want to do it, or you don’t. I’m here for the people interested in book clubs in general, or for people interested in reading about mental health, or even here for the dark fuckers who want to read all the dark shit that we will inevitably drudge up. *We won’t entertain people who don’t maintain confidentiality within our book club. We are all about curiosity, but not ok with people out to hurt others.
A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one. ~ George R.R. Martin
Book Clubs have their Costs & Benefits for sure.
Connections with like minded people. Make new friends.
You hear about books you might not otherwise pick up.
Practice being open-minded.
Decisions are hard, and book clubs help alleviate the need for them.
Reading improves your brain function and memory.
Builds your vocabulary.
Rounds you culturally.
Reading can help with insomnia, depression, anxiety, and a slew of other mental illnesses.
You don’t get to choose the books you read.
Set with a schedule, there’s a lot of pressure to get done. What if you get busy and can’t read the section in time? What if you forget? What if you struggle with commitment?
If you don’t get along with members, it can dull the experience.
Is the person leading the book club qualified?
Finding the perfect book club is hard. This is due, in part, to limits. In a traditional book club, its difficult to reasonably facilitate discussion about a book with more than 15 people (and that’s on the largest side). The good book clubs fill up fast!
Potential cost of books.
Villain Esteem has to be different, of course. We don’t play by the rules (we do play by the laws).
In our book club you can expect:
Led primarily by a Licensed Mental Health Counselor.
We shook things up a bit and decided to do an all online book club. Because it’s online, people can access the information from anywhere at any time.
With added access, our book club isn’t limited to time zones, and individual schedules.
Because everything is posted and accessible, people can pick and choose what books they want to read as the “library” grows over time.
There aren’t meeting times to forget, or deadlines to miss, so you get all the mental effects of reduced stress from reading, without tacking stress on top.
Villain Esteem has begun partnering with publishers, and we do get complimentary books sometimes. We are happy to send those out while supplies last for just the cost of shipping.
Other times, we have access to discounts that allow you to purchase books at a cheaper cost. We will always provide a link through amazon in addition to any access we may offer.
There’s nothing to lose. As long as you’re ok with keeping what’s said in the group, in the group, you’re welcome to join our Merry Band of Mental Health Advocates in our book club.
A cover is not a book. So go on, and open it up! ~ Mary Poppins
*Subject to change without notice.
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