Book clubs for the homeless
The men drinking coffee at the round wooden table are dressed casually in sweat shirts, jeans, and sneakers. Some of their faces are lined beyond their years. But as they deftly flip through paperbacks assessing literary merit, there is no sign their lives are anything but normal.
In a short time, they say, the book club has proved its power to reach homeless people and build their confidence. Emboldened by its success, Ron Tibbetts, a Beacon Hill church deacon and longtime homeless outreach worker, has launched plans to replicate it. His new nonprofit group, the Oasis Coalition, aims to establish dozens of small social groups citywide, filling the gaps left by large, institutional programs that offer the homeless food and shelter but little or no personal connection.
The story of the book club, now in its 10th month, is a tale of ordinary city life upended. It began with a stunningly unlikely friendship, between two men from different worlds: Peter Resnik, a high-powered lawyer on his way to work, and Rob, a homeless man guarding a friend’s shopping cart on Boston Common. Through months of daily conversations, that began with jokes and sports talk and gradually delved deeper, they found a common interest: literature. And when they saw the bridge that they had built, they recognized its potential for others.
For two lively hours every Tuesday morning, in a church meeting room with old oil portraits, they are book club members first and homeless people second.
A book club for prisoners
Stateville Book Club
A book club for prisoners at the maximum security prison of Stateville who are serving actual or de facto life sentences. According to the proposal, prisoners at Stateville that are serving this type of sentences do not have access to any educational or job training programs and in essence are permanently “warehoused.” The book club will meet twice a month for two and a half hours, from September to May.
Genre Book Clubs
While some people enjoy reading in general, with no specific preference on the type of book or story, others love to return to the same type of plot, atmosphere and characters again and again and most of their reading will fall into a specific genre. Common genres and special-interest areas of fiction include:
- Crime and mystery
Why Join A Reading Group/Book Club?
A book discussion group (sometimes referred to as a ‘book club’, sometimes as a ‘reading group’) is simply a group of people who get together on a regular basis to discuss books. There are so many reasons to join a book club or start your own. They can be an excellent way to enjoy books more and challenge your mind, they can also encourage you to read more, or to read books that you might not normally choose. In short, most people join a book club, or start their own, in order to have fun, make friends, stimulate the brain cells and meet like minded people!