Queer Oasis: A Guide to Book Club Benefits


(Photo by Helena Lopez via Pexels)

By Whit Fuller, Arts Writer


If you’ve ever thought about starting a book club, you’re not alone. Whether you participate with friends, coworkers or through annual events, BookRiot estimates that about 5 million Americans participate in book clubs worldwide.

Book Club Basics

Reading can be a solitary activity that’s confined to quiet spaces or part of a few stolen moments in someone’s routine. However, book clubs allow for social interaction and are a way to commit to your reading. Book clubs can also provide new perspectives for readers who might only stick to one genre or aren’t ready to commit to tackling their must-reads. As someone who participates in both personal and organizational book clubs, I find that sparing time is often a hard part of the commitment — reading the book before the day of the discussion is almost always the hardest part. 

The solution of TikTok and YouTube bookworms? Reading sprints. Try setting a timer between five and 30 minutes — any longer and readers are more likely to become distracted — and read until it goes off. Doing reading sprints in a book club group chat or during an in-person event is a great way to make sure everyone is on track.

A book club has to be found or formed before the reading and livening discussions can begin. Book club flyers can be found in local businesses or libraries. If that fails, a quick Google search is an excellent jumping-off point for resources. A few local book clubs are already up and running in the University of Utah’s own backyard — and even on campus.

The LGBT Resource Center hosts an annual Queer Conversations Book Club over the summer featuring diverse reads with a wide range of queer representation. It’s completely free to sign up and participate, and this year’s books were bought directly from Salt Lake’s own queer bookstore, Under The Umbrella. The bookstore is also home to Scream Queers — an 18+ queer horror book club that meets at the store the third Saturday of each month. The club asks for a sliding scale donation to pay for the meeting room reservation, but all are welcome regardless of monetary contribution. The store also hosts the SLC Lesbians and Gay Men’s Bookclub if horror isn’t a genre you’re quite ready to explore or if a queer literary community is what you’ve been searching for.

Ready to Read?

Book clubs don’t have to be rigid groups with events, schedules or even set reading lists. Rather, they are what you make them. They should be an enriching experience for every reader involved instead of another life stressor. 

Whether you find a book club or make one, make it your own no matter what. If that looks like doing reading sprints of current reads with friends to tackle your never-ending to-be-read list, I say read on.


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