Regular readers know I have written a chapter for the new book published by IVP (USA), Soul Bare – ed Cara Sexton. Today I’m hosting a giveaway exclusively for UK readers (apologies to all my international readers!) It’s a beautiful book, interweaving a variety of different stories, all demonstrating how vulnerability and authenticity can help when you are going through hard times. It features a variety of excellent Christian writers, including Seth Haines, Sarah Bessey, Holley Gerth. To enter to win one of the three copies, see below.
In my chapter for Soul Bare, I write about how a book club exposed the truth of my life in a surprising way.
So – whether you are in a book group or not – here are five reasons to love book groups:
You have real conversation about important things.
Think about it: most of our life we spend in small talk, even with friends we know well. When do we really get the chance to discuss the deeper things of life? Because of the issues that good books can throw up – moral dilemmas, racism, sexism, capitalism, social media, the nature of family – you are guaranteed meaty discussions.
You make deep friendships.
Friendships in a book club setting tend to become deeper, more quickly than average friendships – precisely because you break the ice with a shared interest (the books) and then get to know each other through the discussion (as well as the inevitable catch-up-chat at the beginning). Because you have a deadline for reading the books, you also ensure you meet up regularly.
Reading is a pleasure that too many people leave behind in childhood. Life gets busy; switching on the TV or watching Netflix seems easier. But there is nothing quite like disappearing into a book, turning the pages as you laugh out loud or cry. Knowing that you’re feeding back on a book in six weeks’ time gives you a real motivation to persevere.
You discover good books you would never have picked out yourself.
I wouldn’t have picked out The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht but it turned out to be one of the most beautiful books I’d ever read. Stoner by John Williams was a surprised to us all – we could see why it’s hailed as a new American classic. I thought I would hate The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – and in fact, I did hate it. (But I really enjoyed ranting about hating it at book club. There’s always a silver lining.)
You explore the world without trying.
Beloved by Toni Morrison was such an eye-opener for me. Before, I had never quite understood the particular character of USA’s racism – this helped me understand a little more. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini opened up the lives of women in Afghanistan in a way I would never have got from reading the news.
Soul Bare Giveaway
To celebrate book groups – and the publishing of this beautiful book I’ve had the privilege to be a part of – I’m running a giveaway (for UK entries only).
Do enter below to win your very own paperback copy of Soul Bare.
And if you also love book groups, please share this post to others who might be interested. The giveaway closes on Weds 7 September.