Silence is golden for one book club

Durham - Silent Book Club
Members of the Silent Book Club in Durham read silently together. Photo: Robert Clark, North State Journal

DURHAM — Silence can be golden, and one book club that has multiple chapters across the state agrees.

Members of the Silent Book Club (SBC) meet up monthly in various spaces like microbrew pubs or coffee houses and have often been characterized as a “cocktail hour for introverts.”

Meetings usually open with a no-pressure social session where members can mingle and talk about what they’re reading before settling in for a relaxing session of silent reading. And there’s also no assigned reading list. Participants can read whatever they want.

Durham - Silent Book Club
Durham Silent Book Club welcome table. Photo: Robert Clark, North State Journal

No tech interruptions are allowed during SBC. All electronic devices and phones must be put down or shut off. The clubs are mainly adults, but the age range varies depending on the club and location of the meetings.

North Carolina is home to at least 10 SBC’s across the state, spanning from Asheville to Greenville. In central North Carolina, there are two SBC clubs, one in Raleigh and one in Durham.

“I attended and was immediately hooked. I’ve been going for almost two years now,” said Rebecca Fortune, who hosts both the Raleigh and Durham SBC’s.

The Durham SBC is held on the second Tuesday each month at the popular hard cider taproom Bull City Ciderworks. The average attendance of the SBC in Durham runs 50 to 60 people with a peak of 90 attendees in 2019.

Fortune said she inherited the Durham location meetings after the original host was unable to continue running them. She said that the Raleigh club is newer and has yet to find a steady place to meet. Right now, the Raleigh attendance has had around 10 members on average showing up.

“Bad Cat Coffee is really interested in doing a Silent Book Club, so we trying to partner with them to help add to the Raleigh event listings,” said Fortune.

Both the Durham and Raleigh SBC’s have a Facebook presence that announces dates and times of upcoming meetings as well as book suggestions and literary news. Raleigh can be found by searching for @SBCRaleigh and Durham by searching for @SilentBookClubDurham.

Durham - Silent Book Club
Members of the Durham Silent Book Club mingle before reading. Photo: Robert Clark, North State Journal

To the west of Durham, Maria Perdomo helped start a chapter of the SBC in Greensboro after learning about it from National Public Radio.

“I love reading and really enjoy sharing that love with other people but I’ve never joined a book club because I don’t like feeling pressure to finish a book in its entirety or having to go at the pace of others,” Perdomo told NSJ.

Perdomo and her friend, Eddison Wilkinson, act as co-hosts each month for the club at the Scuppernong bookstore.

“I started the Greensboro SBC chapter to meet new people in town and create a safe space where we can share the books we like or don’t like and be comfortable enough to share a little bit about ourselves too, through literature,” Perdomo said.

According to Perdomo, the Greensboro SBC has been able to create a small community of silent readers and at their last meeting an attendee said, “reading is a way to broaden your view from the comfort of an armchair.”

I can’t wait to see where this armchair takes our community,” said Perdomo.

For those in the Greensboro area interested in joining, the group has a Facebook page with more information which can be found by searching for @SilentBookClubGSO.

The SBC has continuously added chapters all around the world after its initial co-founding in 2015 by three friends, Guinevere de la Mare, Laura Gluhanich, and Kristin Appenbrink. Gluhanich and de le Mare began hatching the idea of a book club that could be a stress-free reading escape back in 2012.

In 2019, the SBC got a boost in interest after Oprah’s “O” magazine did a story on book clubs and now more than 170 SBC’s meet worldwide.

For more information or to find an SBC near you, visit: https://silentbook.club/

About A.P. Dillon 134 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_