Galway Silent Book Club welcomed its first meeting over the weekend.
The organizer of Galway Silent Book Club, Abel García Cortina, sees the club as a way for avid book readers to get to “know each other and then launch into uninterrupted reading.”
Mr Cortina said he particularly liked the idea of how people are encouraged to read whatever they want.
“While browsing on Facebook, I saw an article talking about Silent Book Club. It’s interesting. Then I thought I could try to start a chapter in Galway.”
He admitted that there were many challenges in organizing an event like this, the main one was getting people to attend.
“I created a Facebook page and made an event for it adding the venue as a co-host. The numbers of the page grew organically. A lot of people marked that they were interested or attending. But in the end those numbers mean nothing, because only three other people showed at the meet-up.”
However, Mr Cortina said he didn’t think it was a failure, he believed that “word of mouth could make that number bigger”.
“At the end of the meeting day, people suggested doing it for more than once a month because they had enjoyed the experience. So it’s something I’m trying to schedule at the moment. Having more frequency could also mean bigger number, I think.”
The Silent Book Club is a community where everyone is welcome, and anyone can join just bringing favorite books.
The first club was launched in San Francisco with a couple of friends reading in companionable silence at a neighborhood bar in 2020.
All of the Silent Book Clubs were started for similar reasons.
“We started Silent Book Club because reading with friends enriches our lives and makes us happy. We love hearing about what people are reading. We think it’s important to put down our phones and be social. Real, live, breathing-the-same-air social, not hearting-you-on-Instagram social.”
Now there are more than 100 active chapters in cities of all sizes, and new chapters are being launched by volunteers every week.