by Bola Aderibigbe
If there was ever a time I felt such a pronounced and inexplicable feeling, it would be the first time I saw @TheReadClub on my twitter timeline. It is often said that Nigerians have a poor reading culture and with many glued to social media, it is expected that book-reading is going to suffer more. I have always wanted to read, or maybe needed a push to go beyond my reading limits. So when I saw the idea on Twitter it looked like a conspiracy between my thoughts, expectations, fate and the universe – a brilliant idea. I was excited and instantly fell in love. This is evident from the reactions of many that shared my excitement that this initiative has come to help many of us push to read more and then share our thoughts.
TheReadClub is improving the reading culture by employing 3 key strategies; Planning, Pressure/Engagement and Diversity
Personally, I read just about anything I lay my hands on. A book this week, none in the next 3 weeks. Another one; a long stretch, drop, pick another. No commitments – I pick up just any book that catches my fancy especially when I’m bored. At times, I don't even know what book I’m reading. The devotion isn't there. I just know I have to read something. A scattered plan. I didn't owe anyone explanations. TheReadClub has helped with planning. I now know I need to be committed to one book and read it in one week. This has also saved me from spending time on needless engagements. I look forward to finishing a book. I still get a chance to read books not in TheReadClub's plan but at least, I have a devotion to one book and this has brought order to my reading and consequently, every other part of my life.
The engagement is what I call the 'selling point.' It's like a typical book club except, it's tapping into social media. Using the power of social media to drive engagement and the pressure of participation. But the pressure here is healthy. I read the books with the knowledge that I'll discuss it and pay attention to details I'd otherwise not have paid attention to. Even if it's a genre I don't like much, I read it because I have a duty to a virtual community that I need to serve, share ideas and opinions with. This is one major reason I'm committed to my plans; the pressure of participation. Reading is an adventure you want to share. It's a world on its own. TheReadClub gives you an avenue to share this experience, this world, with other people, see the things you failed to notice yourself and ride on the waves of different experiences.
The range of books is diverse; Classics, to modern literature and just about any genre you can think of – even non-fiction. This gives a broad knowledge of literature. They also take into consideration the needs of all readers. You get to suggest your books and vote for books you want to read. The feeling of inclusiveness makes it personal. The books aren't forced on me. I get a chance to decide what I want and even if it doesn't get picked, it takes me out of my comfort zone and makes me read genres I may not have considered left to my own devices.
I'm happy to be part of this wonderful initiative. Since I joined, I have read at least 7 books; all this year. That's more than I normally would have read. I encourage everyone to be a part of this and really hope it's here to stay.
How to be part of TheReadClub
If you are looking to read more like many of us, all you have to do is
- Follow @thereadclub on twitter,
- Find and get the book to be read
- Read and join the discussion on twitter every Friday by 8pm via #TheReadClub
If you can’t get the book, all you have to do is email – firstname.lastname@example.org, they will help you with it.