New year, new look
Same introverts reading at home in our PJs
Hey friends! We’ve updated our monthly newsletter format, but it’s still Laura & Guinevere behind the scenes, bringing you our ramblings on books, SBC updates, and publishing news, along with introvert rants and occasional giveaways. We’ll be adding new subscriber features in the coming months as we figure out these new digs, so stay tuned. Drop us a line at email@example.com if you have any questions. Hope you enjoy!
Happy New Year! Just kidding.
Is it too early to ask for a redo on 2022? Because we’re one month in and Baby New Year is trashing the place like Keith Moon on a bender. Omicron drove the Lincoln Continental into the hotel pool, and that pandemic stench is not scrubbing out.
If there’s anything we’ve learned from dystopian novels, it’s that every good apocalypse has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Inciting incident: Climate change causes a plague! Rising action: Plague causes zombies! Climax: Zombie hoards! Falling action: Scientists find a cure, zombies are defeated. Resolution: Turns out that by killing half the planet, zombies cured climate change. THE END.
If Covid were a novel, it would be a steaming pile of garbage. Not even David Foster Wallace would abide the postmodern irony of “my body, my choice” being coopted not only by gun-toting Republican man-children throwing temper tantrums in Target, but also by vagina egg–packing acupuncturists demanding their kids should be allowed to go to school unmasked and unvaxxed. No one would publish that. No one would buy it.
In an average year, I aim to read 52 books. Last year I logged 76, nearly 50% more than usual. I don’t feel a sense of accomplishment or satisfaction that I was able to carve out more time for doing what I love. Because for much of the year, I wasn’t reading for pleasure. I was fumbling for an escape. Scrambling for a foothold. Desperately searching for someone smarter than me to offer some insight into what the fuck is happening here? I turned to books for answers.
Spoiler alert: I didn’t find any.
It’s a hard lesson for readers, but the pandemic has taught us that there is no narrative arc to life. There’s no omniscient narrator. No one has answers because no one has been here before. Every day, every one of us is living through Anne Lamott’s “shitty first draft.” But there will be no revisions. This is it. We’re just doing our best to hold it together and not lose the plot.
In 2012, we started Silent Book Club as an escape. We wanted to share a love of reading with friends without the constraints of a traditional book club. We wanted to create a quiet protest against the age of digital distraction and the insidious creep of social media. We didn’t set out to build a global community of readers, but this year we’ll mark our 10th anniversary with 300 chapters in 42 countries. That’s something worth celebrating.
Silent Book Club is a women-owned business. We are antiracist and pro-democracy. We believe in science and masks and selfless acts to protect people who are more vulnerable and less privileged than we are. We support independent bookstores and BIPOC authors. Our chapters have slalomed from in-person to Zoom and Meet and back again. But we’re still here.
We’ve let go of any expectations and plans for next week or next month or next year. We don’t have answers for these crazy times. But this community makes us happy. So here’s to another year of reading with friends. Hang in there. Be kind. And stay safe.
Guinevere & Laura
Bookclubs is a free app that helps book clubs and individual readers get organized and inspired with free tools like polls, digital shelves, community book reviews and discussion boards, reading recommendations, and more! Start your own club or join a public club at Bookclubs.com.
Book-related links and other stuff we’ve been reading online
Read safe: Where to find an online Silent Book Club meetup SBC Blog
Why Amanda Gorman almost didn’t read at the inauguration The New York Times
Teaching literature means teaching empathy LitHub
Dear conservatives, stop fucking banning books in schools Axios
U.K. Book sales in 2021 were the highest in a decade The Guardian UK
Always wanted to write? Here’s some advice from George Saunders The Guardian
10 Books to help you understand inequality—and possible solutions LA Times
Libro.fm’s 2022 Listening Challenge Libro.fm
The top indie bookstores in Melbourne @SilentMelbourne
Quit social media to guard the margins in your day The New York Times
Writers to watch in Spring 2022 Publishers Weekly
Follow Silent Book Club on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook
Books we loved this month
Olga Dies Dreaming, by Xochitl Gonzalez
A Swim in the Pond in the Rain, by George Saunders
Under the Whispering Door, TJ Klune
The School for Good Mothers, Jessamine Chan (Currently reading, will keep you posted)
What are you reading? Join our discussion thread
Find the SBC chapter for you
Tap the map to find a local chapter or a virtual meetup