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Silent Reading Parties Are Now Officially a Thing

3133484407_80f2f940f7_bReaders sometimes like to gather in small groups and discuss books, but lately some of the groups have found a better use for their time: gathering just to read the books rather than talk about them.

The Phoenix New Times has only this week noticed a trend which dates back at least six years and has been covered by LA MagazineThe New Yorker, SFGate, USA Today, and Newsweek.

It was only a matter of time before sitting and reading a book got “branded”; turned into a trend involving a crowd and a coffee drink; conceptualized as something other than a private pastime.

Silent reading parties are now all the rage, and they’ve made their way to Phoenix. Changing Hands Bookstore has announced something called the Introverts Happy Hour, which launches on September 26. Next month, the Second Wednesday Silent Reading Club will première at downtown’s Grand Central Coffee Company. And entrepreneur Joey Robert Parks is hosting the city’s inaugural public reading party later this month at the newly redone Hilton Garden Inn.

The original idea is credited to Christopher Frizzelle, the editor-in-chief at a Seattle weekly newspaper called The Stranger, according to Parks, a Phoenix-based ghostwriter. Frizzelle’s concept was borrowed by another alt publication editor, San Francisco’s Dan Stone, who runs that city’s Radio Silence magazine. As tends to happen, the trend really took off in New York, where pubs and cafes began hosting happy hour events that asked patrons to show up with a book they might like to sit and quietly read to themselves while imbibing.

It sounds like something cooked up in the Saturday Night Live writer’s room, but silent reading parties are a real thing. “I love to read and I love to bring like-minded people together,” says Parks, “so I thought it would be fun to host something similar in Phoenix.”

I do not know why the PNT chose to mock this activity; silent book clubs are now so common that there is a site dedicated to tracking them and keeping participants informed of gatherings.

There is an upcoming meeting in DC in a couple weeks, for example, as well as a dozen other meetings in Manhattan, Kansas, NYC, Sacramento, Jacksonville, San Francisco, and other cities.

Coincidentally, Book Riot has posted a guide to throwing your own silent reading party.

Yes, silent book clubs (or, silent reading parties) are indeed that common. I have yet to attend one, though, and I am not sure I know anyone who has.

Have you joined a silent book club?

image by cremeglace

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RK September 24, 2016 um 6:56 am

Interesting. I hadn’t heard of these before. I would probably attend one if there was one near me to check it out.

Michelle September 24, 2016 um 10:21 am

Reading in a place where everyone else is silently reading is like reading at home with one important difference — everyone else silently reading. That won’t happen for me because no one else in my family loves reading as much as I do. So sitting quietly somewhere where I can ignore everything else I have to do for a while, don’t have interruptions every few minutes from someone wanting something and just focus on enjoying a book and a cup of coffee — it sounds heavenly.

Jan September 24, 2016 um 3:36 pm

I would love to do that! Nothing near where I live, but…maybe someday.

Frodlieikr September 24, 2016 um 11:11 pm

I would think this was what already should be happening at the public library, my local has a reading area where you quietly sit or lounge and read quietly, Book clubs on the other hand tend to happen in places you can discuss (the book being previously or currently read) and share thoughts, food and drink so happen in coffee shops, lounge bars or peoples homes…

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