Bookworms are often portrayed by the media as very shy, amicable creatures. But in reality, bookworms can get pretty crazy. And there are a lot of things that make us book lovers pretty upset.
There are some feelings and experiences that are intrinsically tied to being a bookworm. Some good, some bad, some that just are.
“Introvert Happy Hour”. Three words that Guinevere de la Mare would use to describe the Silent Book Club. Bookstr had the chance to (virtually and cross-coastal) sit down with the group’s founders and get an SBC blurb.
Silent Book Club is a renowned hobby-turned-business that longtime friends Laura Gluhanich and Guinevere started back in 2012. What began as two friends carving out reading time in their busy lives, grew into an ever-expanding organization of groups of readers meeting to read together, in public, in silence. According to the founders themselves, SBC is an easy, low-friction way for people to connect with a shared passion.
The Silent Book Club has an origin story worthy of a New York Times bestselling novel. Laura and Guinevere are both incredibly busy women and in 2012, they decided to meet at a local bar in San Francisco, committing to reading at least one chapter of the books they had on the go at the time. They followed this up with gossiping and chatting, before deciding to make it a regular occurrence. Guinevere herself even harks back to the early days of SBC as “an excuse to have a glass of wine!” Whenever Laura or Guinevere posted on their social media about their meet-up, they deployed an instagram hashtag. Friends started asking to come along, and for the first year or two, it was a core group of ten or so. When a friend moved to New York, they decided to co-ordinate bi-coastal meetings, using their trusty hashtag to virtually link up.
This new chapter starting up in Brooklyn, alongside another in L.A., was “the seed that put it [Silent Book Club] into the world”. Afterwards, a Facebook group was launched, along with a website. Suddenly SBC was not just a core group of friends, but strangers started joining and the group took on a life of its own. The growth hasn’t stopped since.
image via silent book club
In February of 2019, Silent Book Club was featured on Oprah’s website – that’s right THE Oprah. Later the same year, in August, they were featured in an NPR article. This article, in particular, caused an explosion of growth. Within six weeks, they had doubled the number of active chapters. Positive press, alongside word of mouth, have benefited Silent Book Club immensely, allowing for continual growth and movement from strength to strength.
What this growth meant for Laura and Guinevere is that they now had an organization to run. Luckily, as self-professed “tech veterans”, they were no strangers to start-ups. Their familiarity with that world gave them expertise they could tap into. Most importantly, they both had experience in building communities and at the end of the day, Silent Book Club is one big reading community, connected by a shared love of books.
The community aspect is hugely important to the group’s founders, and requires active effort. Guinevere points out that the twitter community of readers (or book twitter) used to be a wonderful, nurturing, intellectual and funny space, before it was “eaten alive by marketing and all that it is now”. Silent Book Club tries to avoid the same fate, keeping the ethos of understanding and lack of judgement paramount. Judgement does sometimes come externally, though, but the people that are scornful of the groups or look down on them generally don’t come out from behind their online avatars.
A Silent Book Club, while not stringent in its execution, does follow a formula. Turn up, order (or not), take a seat, have a chat, an hour of reading, and maybe some more chat. The administrative side of operations has its own formula, too. When you join the network, you have to agree to some guidelines. Rule number one is Be Kind and that stays true online. On their Facebook page, all members answer screening questions, are monitored for spam and all posts are pre-approved. Guinevere points out that neither she or Laura have any qualms about kicking people out if they aren’t adhering or are being rude as “Facebook is not a public town square” for arguments. The group share a set of core beliefs and acceptance is one of the most important aspects. “All readers are welcome, even e-readers!” Now that’s truly inclusive.
image via pinterest
While book clubs often have a stereotype of being inherently female, the SBC has a more balanced demographic. Their London chapter is fronted by a male organizer and he is one of the longest running organizers of the group. By taking the pressure of an assigned book off, the book club is opened up to a lot of different people with different interests. Publishing and book selling or buying is often skewed towards women, but as Guinevere points out; “men read”. The SBC offers a space for anyone and everyone, so long as you come bearing a book!
The group’s founders find it rewarding to see the spread of Silent Book Club, and to see how many people it impacts. Laura and Guinevere also cite their continued connection as one of the best things to come out of their hobby-turned-business. Starting a business with a friend can destroy a relationship but theirs has flourished. Every once in a while, they even meet up just the two of them like the days of SBC yore.
Guinevere and laura | image via silent book club
Take a look at their finder here to find one nearby, and if you can’t, start your own – bring a little slice of the Silent Book Club community to your own city! One thing is for sure, the SBC is only going up, and we for one, can’t wait to see their trajectory.
Featured image via read it forward
Bookstr is community supported. If you enjoy Bookstr’s articles, quizzes, graphics and videos, please join our Patreon to support our writers and creators or donate to our Paypal and help Bookstr to keep supporting the book loving community.
Become a Patron!
We’re all book nerds here, so I’m sure I’m in good company. The only thing I love more than a good meme is a good bookstore. Why not combine the two? If you, like me, can’t control yourself in a bookstore, these memes are for you.
The best invite
Image via Meme
Yes. Yes I do. Also I have zero chill. Any self control I may usually use is just gone. Maybe I’m the only one, but if I even pass a bookstore in the street I have to be gently steered away, or sometimes physically dragged. The pure glee on her face really says it all. And those are good friends right there.
I know all I need to
Image via An Intentional Life
All books are queens, and you know it. Sure, I can spend eight plus hours just looking around, but do I need to? I already want them all. The only limit is how many books I can physically take home on the subway, and even that barrier doesn’t get a lot of respect. Sure, I’m sorry by the time I get home, but when I’m deciding, no one can stop me.
Image via MemeCenter
Sure, it’s three pm on a Tuesday, and I’m drinking bubble tea, but I think I still look mysterious and wise. The books are used. That means they’re old and dramatic, regardless of the particular facts. I may not have the mysterious potion or the rocking beard, but I’m not going to let that stop me.
I’ve put a lot of thought in, and decided
Image via Pintrest
Now you may ask, when are you going to read them? Where are they going to go in your apartment? These minor logistics aren’t my concern right now. I’ve read the backs, and I’ve decided the best book in the store is all of them. At once. Right now. No, I don’t take criticism.
Nothing can stop me accept…
Image via Meme
As long as I have blood plasma to sell, I have book money, but unfortunately most shops won’t take it directly. It’s dangerous to even go in, why did no one warn me? You did, and I ugly cried in the street until you caved? Agree to disagree. But I will be back.
Ready to investigate?
Image via Me.me
These bookstores think they’re so clever. And they are. I mean, are those even mystery books? We don’t know. We’ll likely never know. Unless someone wants to go full Sherlock Holmes and get into the truth of this. Volunteers, please send an owl posthaste.
Featured image via Pikdo