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Second Sense - Beyond Vision Loss

Book Clubs: More than Just a New Book to Read

September 15, 2017 | 1 Comment

by Polly Abbott, CVRT

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An iPhone on top of a Book

It’s More than a Book

Several vision loss support groups in the Chicago area also host Talking Book Clubs. Many occur at local libraries and are led by professional leaders. The only difference is that the participants generally are all reading audio books through the NLS Talking Book program.

Recently, I had a conversation with the supervisor of adult and outreach services for a public library. She has been running a book club for their low vision support group for many years and she shared some of her reflections with me.

  • Many of the people participating in the book club are at a stage of life where there is much to look back at, reflect upon, and mentally sort through — life events and relationships with family and friends.
  • They have opened up and shared aspects of themselves or their life because of a sense of connection with the book and/or the discussion.
  • Over months and years of regular meetings and discussions, people get comfortable opening up and sharing. Books connect people to experiences and life events that are often a surprise. You just never know what life someone has lived!

Reaching Out and Joining In

Why not join a book discussion at your local library?

  • Books are usually chosen in advance. This gives you time to find the same book in an accessible format.
  • If you are having trouble knowing when you can take a turn to talk, let the leader know and see if you can work out a system to indicate when you wish to have a turn to share.
  • Book clubs tend to have a core group of people who show up regularly—what better way to make some new friends or enjoy some social interaction.
  • Every book club is different. If you don’t like the first one you participate in, don’t give up looking for one.
  • Give the book club a chance…it could take a few book discussions until you are comfortable with the group and they are comfortable with you.

Remote Book Clubs

If you can’t find a club near you or can’t get to one, consider virtual groups you can participate in remotely.

  • Blind Audiobook Club is a closed group you can join on Facebook.
  • Accessible World’s online book club is accessible via web conferencing. Accessible World offers a variety of subject areas including mystery, history, general and science fiction and fantasy. You can download a previous discussion to try it out. Web conferencing is provided by Talking Communities, an accessible way to join in on the conversation.
  • Speaking Volumes from Audio Journal
    This radio reading service in Massachusetts has a monthly book club you can listen to on your computer, use the Sero radio app or phone in at 508 752 0557 and join the discussion live.  Here’s the books they have selected to read over the coming months: Speaking Volumes Sept Promo Chicago.

Start Your Own

Or how about starting a book club of your own?

Lit Lovers is a wonderful online resource with everything you need to know about starting a book club, selecting books and leading a good discussion.

If you’ve never been in a book club, why not try something new this fall?

Polly is the Director of Adult Rehabilitation at Second Sense.  She has worked with dozens of low-vision support groups in Chicago, helping the leaders build stronger and more interactive groups.

1 comment on “Book Clubs: More than Just a New Book to Read”

  1. Dear Polly,
    Thank you so much for including Speaking Volumes in your blog. We are delighted that our enjoyable book group can serve the Chicago area and I hope you article will bring more in more listener book group members.
    Best regards,
    Valerie Clapham for Speaking Volumes

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