By Kitty Felde

You might call them Book Clubs for Introverts.

Imagine a room full of readers, sharing the experience of reading, but not talking. That’s the idea behind Silent Book Clubs.

The rules are simple. There is no assigned reading, everyone brings whatever they want to read. Any format is welcome, whether it’s an ebook, audiobook (with headphones), textbooks, graphic novels, magazines, whatever. Members meet up at a local bookstore, coffee shop, library or other community space, and order food or drink (if it’s sold at the venue.) You open your book and read silently for an hour. At the end of the hour, talk about the book – or not!

The Silent Book Club was created in 2012 by Guinevere de la Mare and Laura Gluhanich, a pair of friends who carved out time to read by meeting at a neighborhood bar in San Francisco. They’d tried conventional book clubs, but the groups didn’t last.

Today, there are more than 500 chapters of the Silent Book Club in more than 50 countries. There are chapters in Arlington, Alexandria, and here in Washington. The DC chapter has been around since 2019 and meets the last Wednesday of every month, 6:30pm-8pm, at Sonny’s Pizza. Their motto is “Read alone, together!”

If your child is on the shy side, bring them with you to a Silent Book Club meetup. Your kids may not listen to you about the joys of reading, but being surrounded by a group of people, their nose in a book, silently reading, is a powerful experience. 

Bonus: both of you will come away with a list of new books to put on your “must read” list!

Kitty Felde hosts the Book Club for Kids podcast and writes The Fina Mendoza Mysteries series of books, including “Losing is Democratic: Talking to Kids About January 6th.”

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