What is a silent book club? An introverted book lover's paradise, that's what

·3 min read
Silent reading time at The Mercantile Library
Silent reading time at The Mercantile Library

Even introverts need a place to socialize.

Silent book clubs, or silent reading parties, provide a venue for just that, and there are a variety of options for every book lover's taste in Cincinnati. Unlike a regular book club where everyone reads the same book, silent book clubs have no assigned reading. Everyone brings their own book of choice. Fiction and non-fiction are both welcome, and they all read together in a quiet space.

That doesn't mean there isn't any talking at all, though, said reference librarian Adam Vorobok, who organizes the Silent Book Club of the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library. After their meeting, there is an optional session to discuss what everyone is reading.

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"It puts you in touch with people you might never have met before," Vorobok said. "You might have seen them at a bookstore, but there is no way to interact with them before, and now you have a chance to interact with them."

It's also a great occasion to see what everybody is reading and connect through a love of books. The library has a strong goal of creating community, Vorobok said, and giving adults a space to connect.

The library chapter is affiliated with the nationwide Silent Book Club organization and just got back to gathering together since the pandemic. The crowd of like-minded book lovers, including authors, students, teachers and librarians comes out for the outdoor monthly program at Mount Storm Park in Clifton.

Also returning from a pandemic hiatus is the Silent Reading Party at the Mercantile Library. Held in the historic library space surrounded by book stacks, elegant furniture and art, attendees are encouraged to bring whatever book they are interested in to join for a silent reading session and some light refreshments.

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The historic Mercantile Library boasts a large collection of volumes spanning over a wide range of subjects.
The historic Mercantile Library boasts a large collection of volumes spanning over a wide range of subjects.

While the Mercantile does have memberships, the Silent Reading Party and many of the library's other events, are open to the public, said Hillary Copsey, the book advisor at the Mercantile Library.

The event is a bit of an odd one for the library's staff, she said, because they don't typically hush patrons. The library is typically open for discussions about books and other topics.

"I mean, it is a silent reading party," Copsey said. "But you know, there are whispers that happen for sure. And so there are some conversations. 'Oh, I love that book,' Or 'What did you think of that one?' "

There will also be specialty cocktails for the event from Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey. It is a party, after all.

The Silent Book Club organization will also be hosting an event with cocktails at the Graduate hotel near the University of Cincinnati's campus. Catering to more of a student crowd, the event's website explains there is no homework allowed, just reading and bonding among the crowd.

While reading silently isn't everybody's cup of tea, for many, it presents a welcoming space to share their passion for literature, as well as enjoy each other's company.

"I think connection doesn't have to be loud and noisy," Copsey said. "It can also be quiet. There's something about companionable silence."

Silent Reading at The Mercantile Library
Silent Reading at The Mercantile Library

Mercantile Library Silent Reading Party

When: June 29, 5-7 p.m.  Planned as a monthly event, information available at mercantilelibrary.com.

Where: Mercantile Library, 414 Walnut St., Downtown.

Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library Silent Book Club

When: July 9,  Aug. 13, Sept. 10, 2-3 p.m. Other times announced in "Silent Book Club!" Facebook group by Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library.

Where: Mount Storm Park, 700 Lafayette Ave., Clifton.

Silent Book Club by Graduate Cincinnati

When: July 13, 6-8 p.m., recurs the second Wednesday each month.

Where: The Graduate Cincinnati, 151 Goodman Drive, Corryville.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Silent book clubs in Cincinnati: An introverted book lover's paradise