Secrets Revealed: Why Millennials And Gen Z Can't Get Enough Of Silent Book Clubs

Secrets Revealed: Why Millennials And Gen Z Can't Get Enough Of Silent Book Clubs

We look into this latest trend engaging younger book lovers

Sapna SarfareUpdated: Sunday, May 05, 2024, 12:39 PM IST
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When author George R.R. Martin stated — A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, avid and obsessed readers nod in agreement. And over the years, the types of books and literary trends have kept the readers engaged. Recently, the silent book club trend has been noticed all over the world. And India is no exception. The Millennials and Gen Z Indians are fascinated by this trend.

Mansi Poddar, a trauma-informed psychotherapist, reveals, “Inspired by global movements, silent book clubs offer a tranquil space for readers to connect without uttering a word. They offer companionship minus the social anxiety. For many, they offer a space to relax and read minus the doom scrolling. It has become big due to Instagram. Many people have been introduced to this idea from social media.”

Regarding the positives of such clubs, she adds, “One is not forced into reading a book and discussing it with others. Everyone does their own reading at their pace minus having to analyse. It reduces the “workload” of traditional book clubs. Plus, it works for people like us who are introverted and prefer to read our own genre vs something prescribed or chosen for us. Seeing everyone reading inspires people to focus.”

Gen Z and millennial notes

Thirty-year-old bookworm Shreya Chatterjee is part of a silent book club. “As an adult, it can be difficult to make genuine connections, let alone meeting people who prioritise reading in their busy lives. When I heard about the silent book club, I simply knew I had to participate. As an ambivert, I wanted to experience those extroverted moments among fellow book lovers.”

She acknowledges that the club has impacted her on a deeper level. "Here, I can read any book of my choice. There is no overwhelming pressure to read a particular book selected by the club. There is no assignment or required reading that I need to complete,” says Shreya. “I don’t feel obligated to participate in any discussion. It’s safe to say that a silent book club is more about being and less about doing. I can show up to read my favourite book without feeling the need to engage, knowing I will be understood.”

Twenty-one-year-old Mumbaikar Ayush Divecha found about a few such clubs after reading news articles and social media posts on them. "It intrigued me to know where I could spot one in Mumbai. Hence, I mapped a couple of clubs which are becoming popular by the day. It is a nice place to network with like-minded people and share stories with good listeners (for a change). Reading amongst nature has made reading easy for me. Earlier, I used to be someone who used to read to and from my workplace in Mumbai locals because that was the only feasible option for me.”

The reasons

Shreya talks about social media being born in their generation. They are blasted with information leaving their minds overstimulated. "Not to mention how our attention spans are suffering owing to incessant short form content consumption. As a result, I find myself getting burnt out easily. A lot of my millennial and Gen Z friends feel the same way. It’s a struggle to stay present and witness the quiet moments that once filled our childhood. Reading is that activity that can bridge this gap. It slows down the brain. We can be present, aware and naturally process better.”

According to Shreya, even 20 minutes of reading helps ease the feelings of urgency that run the world today. "However, reading is a solitary activity and we as humans thrive a lot on connections. Even the most introverted people feel alive when they find their tribe,” she admits. “This is why silent book clubs are incredible. You get to spend time with kindred spirits and it feels like a warm hug. It just makes sense to us readers.”

For Ayush, the answer is simple. “Well, I have seen that social media has helped people engage and glue to these clubs because of easy coordination and it’s a source of different connections for our generation when we step out.”

Suggestions ahead

There are many reasons why the millennials and Gen Z need to be a part of the silent book club trend. Ayush reveals, "It is a really good platform for readers who don’t want to engage and share narratives after they are done reading. Silent Book Clubs do not tie you to rules, and timings and categories, which is what a niche group of readers look forward to. It is getting very popular, so you either take the train now or you take it eventually.”

“All of us millennials or those from the Gen Z generation who recognise that reading is an inseparable part of their identity must consider joining a silent book club,” Shreya mentions. “The club has no rules. You can choose to not engage in a conversation and snuggle up with a cup of coffee and your coziest of blankets for a relaxing reading session. You can also interact if you are feeling chatty. It’s completely up to you. Once the session is over, you can leave without facilitating a book discussion. Also, it’s completely free.”

Shreya wants every millennial or Gen Z reader to permit themselves to slow down from worldly demands and pressures and allow themselves to be part of something they love. They can do it on their terms and also give them a reading buddy for a lifetime. She has found one and calls that feeling ‘as good as cracking open a new book’.

“I suggest silent book clubs to people who want to read their own genre and don’t like too much discussion around a book and who like to be independent readers vs group readers. I find it helps book-lovers to find a time and space to devote to a very nourishing hobby and practice. It works for socially anxious people,” Mansi signs off.

Being part of a silent book club can be a start for book reading for novices and to a greater love for books among bookworms.

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