The Guardian posted an interesting article that I recommend taking a moment to read, particularly if you think of reading as a social activity (that’s what BookSexy is all about!). The author was invited to take part in a Book Swap. He and another writer were instructed to bring along a book to discuss, and eventually swap, with the audience. The creative mind behind this is Scott Pack, described as one of the mavericks of the British book trade. He hosted the first event in his hometown and according to the article it was incredibly successful at creating a lively discussion/exchange between the attendees.
Pack’s idea is that a Book Swap would be an alternative to literary festivals or author book tours. But I could easily imagine swaps taking the place of the ubiquitous book clubs that have started to become a bit stagnant in my opinion. Whereas I could see a swap being attractive to a more diverse audience – younger, hipper, both men and women – rather than niche groups interested in only the one author, genre or book that these events usually feature.
Here are a few benefits I see of a Book Swap over a traditional Book Club:
- Rather than reading a specific title, you could pick a theme for the meet-up: works by a specific author, from a specific time period, hold a poetry or art book night, bring along your favorite Pulitzer Prize winner, etc.
- Let’s face it, everyone’s free time is limited these days. The beauty of a book swap is that no one will be obligated to read a book that they are not interested in. Even if someone is having a particularly hectic month, they can still take part with a book they’d read in the past.
- The group wouldn’t be dependent on the same people showing up for every meeting. Attendance at the prior event wouldn’t be necessary, so swapping people in and out wouldn’t be disruptive
- The atmosphere would be more cocktail party and less AA meeting. The added bonus is it makes it more difficult for that one person (you know who I mean) to take over the floor and use the get together as their own personal therapy session.
Click here for a description of the original event hosted at a renovated & re-purposed fire station in Pack’s hometown. It gives a glimpse into his intentions and pointers on how to put together an invitation/advertisement to hold your own.
And because I want to give credit for a fabulous idea where credit is due, here is a link to Scott Pack’s blog.