Book Clubs—Not Just for Students

Feb 04, 2019 | Posted by Jennifer


Did you know that February is National Library Lovers’ Month? We hope you enjoy this post written by our blog curator, Jennifer Mauser, as she shares her experiences of getting plugged into a classics book club.

Reading a good book is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Perhaps the only thing that elevates the joy of reading a good book is sharing that same book with a group of friends who have also read it. Enter, book clubs! In the past we have shared different posts about the value of book clubs among students. Jill Pike shared her experiences of participating with her children in a library-sponsored competition in the piece, “Reminiscing: The Battle of the Books.” And Danielle Olander shared her journey in creating a book club for her daughter and her friends in “It’s a Hit! One Mom’s Quest to Make Reading Literature Fun.” But the fun of book clubs shouldn’t be relegated only to our students. Book clubs offer friendship, community, and great literature for people of all ages, including adults!

For the past few years, I have enjoyed participating in a book club that was started by a friend. She came up to me one day and shared that she had it in her heart to read classic literature, but that she felt she needed to do it in a community. She wanted to encounter classics that she had missed in high school and college and knew that by having a group of women join her on the journey, she would be more likely to stay the course and finish the novels. Her vision for the group was that it would focus on one classic novel a month that was available in the public domain. That would make the club accessible for everyone financially and would assure that we would all stick to the classics.

Meeting at a local restaurant for the launch of our club, our little group happily ordered hot beverages and yummy sweets and gathered around to talk about our new venture. Meeting this way also had the added bonus of not burdening anyone with the responsibility of cleaning for a crowd! We decided to dive in with the classic novel A Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. From there we determined we would rotate among the members, each selecting a novel that we would all read and then gather in the following month to discuss.

This little monthly meeting has been a bright spot in my calendar. I always look forward to gathering with these special ladies to discuss books, life, and work. I have read several novels I would never have encountered without my group, and I have grown in my friendships with the group members. Of perhaps even greater import, my children have seen me reading for my book club. This modeling has shown them that learning should never stop and that there is a great deal of value to be gained by continuing to read and learn and grow.

Our book club continues to meet every month. Yesterday texts were flying as the next person tasked to choose our novel was waffling between Shirley by Charlotte Brontë and Agnes Grey, written by her sister Anne Brontë. Frankly, either novel will work for me, as I have discovered that every book we’ve read has engaged me on some level. I’m just excited to get started!

Have you considered joining or starting a book club? I encourage you to do it! Not only will you grow in your literacy and vocabulary, you will model a life-long pursuit of learning and critical thinking for your students—all while building friendships and a sense of community. It’s a win all around!

Our book club has enjoyed many books. Some have been quite long, so we’ve broken them down over two or three months so that the reading load isn’t too great. Here’s a list of some of the titles we have tackled so far. Keep in mind that you should preview all books before you decide to share these with students. This list was curated for their older “educator” audience.

The History of Mr. Polly by H. G. Wells

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

The Little White Bird by J. M. Barrie

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore

1984* by George Orwell

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Yes, book clubs are fun for people of all ages. I’m excited for our next meeting, and I just got the word as I was writing this post—Agnes Grey it is! Time to get reading!


* 1984 is the lone book on the list that isn’t in the public domain.


Jennifer Mauser has always loved reading and writing and received a B.A. in English from the University of Kansas in 1991. Once she and her husband had children, they decided to homeschool, and she put all her training to use in the home. In addition to homeschooling her children, Jennifer teaches IEW classes out of her home, coaches budding writers via email, and tutors students who struggle with dyslexia.

Live Chat with IEW