Reasons we started a Digital Book Club
Today is World Book Day. A day where Gangster Grannies, Matildas, Harry Potters and the odd misinformed Batman, flood through the school gates all over the UK. It’s the one day a year that kids, and some adults, celebrate the wonderful world of literature.
But why don’t we celebrate books every day throughout the year? Is it because the latest Netflix documentary is more interesting? Or because social media is taking over our lives? Or is it because after a long day at work, we can only get through one page before zonking off to the land of nod?
For the content team in Digital, it was a mix of all those things, and it’s why we started the Digital Book Club in October 2018. When you work with words every day, it takes a lot of discipline to go home and read for pleasure. So we created a community to encourage us to stick with it.
Plus, as Stephen King said in his book On Writing: “If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” And as copywriters in an everchanging digital world, we want as many tools in our toolbox as possible.
So that’s how Book Club began. However, it’s not just about making us better writers.
Reading is good for your mental health
Sometimes the best way to switch off from your own busy world, is to enter another.
A 2009 study at the University of Sussex found that reading a book for as little as six minutes can reduce stress levels by more than 60%. It relaxes your body by lowering your heart rate and eases tension in your muscles.
If you suffer from overwhelming feelings of anxiety and you’re unable to switch off, then reading could help you get through the day. Getting lost in a story, even if it’s only for half an hour, can take you out of your own head. The constant racing thoughts and insecurities can be muted when all you can think about are intricate plots and what the characters are going to do next.
Book Club is social
One of the best things about Book Club is getting to know different people across the department, who you wouldn’t typically cross paths with or chat to regularly.
I’ve found since it began, that lots of people have common anxieties around joining; ‘I’m not smart enough’, ‘I’m a slow reader’ and ‘I won’t like the books you read’ are all common excuses for not joining.
But in reality, you don’t have to have an English degree to read. And you don’t need to be a fast reader. Plus, a different member picks the book for each meeting, so chances are you will like at least one book – even if it’s only the one you picked out yourself!
Book Club isn’t about proving how smart you are or analysing the top ten metaphors in chapter three. It’s about getting together and chatting about what we liked and what we didn’t like, what worked and what needs work, and which characters were the best drawn out.
“If you don’t like reading, you haven’t found the right book.”
J.K Rowling said that. And it’s true. There’s a book out there for everyone. Just don’t give up looking.