Maybe you’re a guy. Maybe you like books. Maybe you like talking with people about books. So what's stopping you from having your own book club, a.k.a. “Literary Domination Society”? Author Nick Arvin shares his humble opinion on why men should start reading together -- and if you're lucky, make some of the greatest friends of your life.
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Book clubs are very popular. In 2015, The New York Times estimated that some five million Americans belong to one or more book clubs.
In popular culture, they have been mostly judged as a woman’s pursuit.
But, tonight, author Nick Arvin shares his Humble Opinion of why men should start reading together.
Maybe you are a guy. And maybe you are a guy who like books. Maybe you even like talking with people about books. Maybe you’re a guy who could be described as book club-curious?
But maybe, while you’re a pretty enlightened guy, you’re still a guy’s guy. And all the book clubs you know seem to be by and for women. And you’re wondering, can you have a book club for men?
Yes. It’s easy. Rule one, don’t call your book club a book club. You’re enlightened, but some guys might be a little wary. Make it easier for them by naming your club that reads books something that shows it’s for tough guy guys. Call your club, for example, the Literary Domination Society.
Rule two, take turns picking books. Each person gets their turn. Choose mostly novels, because they’re easy to have opinions about and to argue over, kind of like quarterbacks.
Rule three, you can only choose books that no one in the club has ever read before. This way, you’re all plunging into the unknown together, adventurers in a new land.
Rule four, everyone has to read the book. If someone fails to read the book, it’s OK to mock them mercilessly. Is this or is this not a Literary Domination Society?
Rule five, after discussing the book, everyone rates the book on a scale of one to 10. This forces everyone to formulate an opinion, which you can then argue about, which is fun. Think mixed martial arts, but less painful.
Rule six, keep records. Track not only how each book is rated, but also how good each person is at picking books. This makes it competitive. It’s like fantasy football, but books.
Last rule, keep doing this, meeting every month or two. Keep meeting for years and years. Have incredible conversations. Share things you have never shared with anyone else.
If you’re lucky, you will make some of the greatest friends of your life, friends who can talk about the nature of faith in the novels of Elena Ferrante, and who will also somehow become friends who can help you to retain your grip on sanity when going through an unexpected divorce, when facing the crippling anxiety of unemployment, or when you find yourself in the terrible crush of depression.
At least, that’s what happened to me in my book club — I mean, Literary Domination Society, where, by the way, I am the best at picking books. And I have the data to prove it.
Online, the “NewsHour” has its own book club in partnership with The New York Times. It’s called Now Read This.
And you can learn all about our latest pick, “What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky,” and how to join, on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour.