Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 193,598,075 Issue: 700 | 25th day of Gathering, Y17
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Starting Your Neopian Book Club

by puddydog


No, not THE Neopian Book Club, the one whose elite have spent literally hundreds of millions of neopoints to climb to the top of the rankings. This article is going to guide you through the infancy of starting your own book club, where you can share your bibliophilic experiences with like-minded Neopians. So why start a local book club? Let me clue you into its benefits.

The first reason for creating, or joining, a book club is that it can expose you to texts you may otherwise have overlooked. There are a plethora of genres and thousands of books to sink your teeth into (please not literally, skeith readers!), and your new fad could be just around the library shelf. Personally, I grew up on horror; some children read Baby Shoyru Book, but I preferred Haunted Mynci. It wasn’t until I joined my first book club that I branched out a bit, and found that there were other fantastic text types that had some of the same features as horror, but explored it in different ways. Behind the Rusted Door: The True Story of the Meepit Oaks Sanitorium is a prime example, as it combines historical research with true crime and horror. I couldn’t put it down, but never would have found it if not for my book club.

The next benefit of book club membership is that you have a group of people that you’re accountable to, who can keep you on track with your reading goals. If you’re a bit of a reluctant reader, having a book buddy to egg you on, or to race you to finish, can really help motivate you. This, in turn, can lead to you developing a more ingrained appreciation for the written word down the track.

A third advantage of book club membership is the socialisation that it allows you. Meeting up with other Neopians even once a week to share your thoughts and ideas about each book is a great way to get out there and make new friends. Reading is often thought of as a solitary pass-time, and it definitely can be; I know many an introvert who likes nothing better than a hot drink and a good book at night. Getting out and spending time with others can be daunting, but at least by having a book club you know that you have some common interests to get the ball rolling.

So I hear you saying, “Sure, Puddydog, you’ve convinced us that being in a book club is a great idea. But what now? How do we go about it?” Elementary, my dear Wocky! If you follow these 3 simple steps, you’ll be on your way!

1) Selection Criteria:

Before you start opening yourself up to recruiting, it’s important to consider just who you’d like to include. Will you be the kind of book club that limits itself to members over 18 or 21? Could you be a mature age book club? Or might you welcome members of all ages? This decision will help set the tone for the book club, as well as have some impact on the books that you’ll read together. Perhaps you’re a parent looking to find a way to engage your children into reading, and would like to start a parent-child book club. It really depends on what you’d like to get out of the experience, so give it some thoughts before continuing with the next step.

2) Recruiting:

You don’t need to be a top guild’s number 1 recruiter to be able to find other Neopians who’d be interested in joining a book club. There are many great viable locations where you could find potential members. Beyond your guild (in you’re in one), visiting the Writer Chat board could yield some valuable finds. Likewise, having a cup of coffee in the (poetry hall) could be as worthwhile. This is because it is very common for writers to also be prolific readers, so these creative types can not only bring a new perspective on a book, but at the same time can develop their writing skills.

Another logical place where you could do some recruiting is at Neopia’s (and Kreludor’s) various book shops. Obviously you’d want to use a bit of discretion when doing this; approaching random people in the aisles of the Faerieland Bookshop and asking if they’d like to join your club may come across as a little creepy, so use tact. You could ask the shopkeeper if you’d be permitted to put up a notice in their window or on their noticeboard. Paper the worlds with a few tearaway numbers and you can have recruits coming to you, rather than the other way around.

Whichever approach you take, be mindful of numbers. It’s probably not a sensible idea to have 3 Neopians in a book club, but at the same time you don’t want to be trying to serve tea and biscuits for 50 in your little Neohome. This, though, happens to be the perfect segue into the next step of creating your book club: rules.

3) Rules:

Whilst it may seem strict or boring to create rules for your new hobby club, they don’t need to be draconian in nature. Simple things like creating a roster of whose turn it is to provide the snacks, where your group will meet and any limitations on your book choices must be decided early on in order to create a harmonious book club. By creating your club charter early on in the venture, you can minimise miscommunications or disagreements, as everyone would be fully aware of the expectations. It’s at this stage of the book club that you can also make fun choices, such as what name you’d like your group to go by. Will you choose something traditional, like Caught Read Handed, or go for something clever like Uni-d To Read?

In the end, the whole point of the book club is to create a safe space in which to share your love of good story telling. And you know what? If you’re stuck for a first book, you could even just start with this edition of The Neopian Times. So get out there, find your kindred spirits and get involved with a new community. Who knows, you may even eventually earn yourself that Neopian Book Award afterall.

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