Why you should start a book club with your sibling

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I’m a strong advocate for reading as a hobby. I’ve always been an avid reader. In fact, I was one of those kids in school who actually looked forward to the assigned books. As a parent, I began reading to my children shortly after their births. As soon as they could sit up on my lap, I started sharing books with them, usually the soft cover kind or the ones with pages that had things they could touch and feel. Sometimes, I wouldn’t even read the text but would simply play “find the picture” with the illustrations. “Can you find a yellow bird in a tree?” “Where’s the puppy?” All my kids were enthralled with story time throughout their childhoods.

Even as they entered their pre-teen years, we would have family read-alouds just about every evening of the week. Flash forward to now. I’m 57 and still an avid reader. My sister shares my passion for a good story, and that’s why we started our 2-person book club! By the end of the post, you might want to start a book club, too!

How I got the idea for a ‘start a book club’ post

start a book club, woman in brown dress, short blonde hair, sitting on blanket, holding book, flowers nearby, autumn trees in background

It was my sister’s suggestion to write a post on this topic for The Hot Mess Press. “Great idea!” I replied. “I think I’ll do that!” And, so — here I am. There are many things I admire about my sister. She’s always been a fashionista where my own skills sorely lack. Upon retirement, she had 3 goals: to buy a new car, become a certified yoga instructor and to travel. She did all three within the first year. The special knack she’s always had for making simple things really fun is another thing I admire about my sister.

When she first suggested (not long after our mother passed away in January, 2022) that we both get the same book to read, I excitedly accepted the invitation. After our first few reads, we fell into our own little routine where we take turns choosing the next book. It’s not a set rule or anything, and if one of us is having trouble thinking of our next novel, we just pass our turn to the other. It’s a nice, easy routine, and it’s so much fun!

A few good reasons to start a book club with your sibling

start a book club, young man, dark hair, smiling and scrolling on tablet

Long ago, most siblings lived near each other after they were grown and on their own. If not within a block or two, then, at least, within driving distance. Today, many families have been spread out across the country, and it’s not uncommon for siblings to live in different states from one another. (My sister has lived in Texas for more than 20 years, whereas I live in southern Pennsylvania.) Starting a sibling book club is a great idea for the following reasons:

  • It’s an easy way to share an activity with a sibling who lives far away, although you can still start a book club if you’re next door neighbors, too.
  • Starting a book club with a sibling is a fun way to establish and nurture a connection with your loved one.
  • The books you read serve as prompts for conversation, even if correspondence is limited to text messaging.
  • You and your sibling might have vastly different political perspectives or worldviews (as is the case with my sister and me), but reading books together gives you something in common that you can enjoy.
  • It’s fun to keep a running list of the books you read when you start a sibling book club. (My sister and I are currently reading our seventh book!)

To start a book club with your sibling, it doesn’t have to be anything complex. Just choose a title and start reading. If you really like to dig deep into a book for discussion, you might consider “getting together” on ZOOM or another virtual chatting platform once per month, or, however often you like, to talk about your book. Then again, sometimes it’s fun to keep things simple and just send a note here or there that keeps the connection going. “What do you think of the mysterious woman who entered the scene in the third chapter?” or “Who is your favorite character, so far?”

Carrying on a legacy or creating one of your own

young woman, hair upswept, showing cell phone to elderly woman, gray hair, sitting on bench

As mentioned earlier, our mother passed away in January. My sister’s idea to start a book club together was more than just fun; it was a balm to my grieving heart. Our mother was an avid reader. While we would often pass the same book between the three of us, we didn’t really read them simultaneously. Our little 2-person book club has helped me move on in life without my mother, all the while cherishing our memories of the many great stories we shared when she was with us.

We just recently finished a book, written by an author our mother loved when I was in my late teens and early twenties. This added an extra element of fun in our book club because we read the whole thing with our Mum in mind. We knew which parts she would have loved the most. And, sharing a book by one of her favorite authors strengthened the bond we share as sisters. Our mini book club carries on our mother’s legacy as an avid reader.

Reading has many health benefits

start a book club, graphic of human head, brain

Perhaps you’ve gotten away from reading as a hobby and have procrastinated in getting started again. If you start a book club with a sibling, it might just be the incentive you need to rejuvenate your own love of reading! The following list includes several of many health benefits that avid readers are known to share:

  • Reading fiction helps disengage the mind from reality, which is a great way to reduce stress.
  • Studies show the fiction readers are often more empathetic than non-readers.
  • Avid readers seem to get better sleep than non-readers.
  • Reading helps improve critical thinking skills.
  • Data suggests that reading fiction boosts IQ.

Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh determined that reading improves the health of white matter in the brain. In addition to fiction, it’s also good to read non-fiction books, as well. Reading can definitely cause eye strain, however, so you’ll want to make sure you have good lighting, wear glasses if you need them and rest your eyes, every few hours. If you want to start a book club with your sibling and aren’t sure what books to choose, I’m going to end this post with the list of titles that my sister and I have read so far in our 2-person book club! Happy reading!

We highly recommend the following books for your sibling book club:

  • The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent
  • The Wolves of Andover (a prequel of the previous title)
  • The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani
  • Heaven Adjacent by Catherine Ryan Hyde
  • The Silver Star by Jeanette Walls
  • The Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt
  • The Innocent Man by John Grisham

A note about the final title in that list: While all the other recommendations are works of fiction, “The Innocent Man” is non-fiction; in fact, it’s Grisham’s first-ever non-fiction title. It is about murders that took place in the 1980s and several people who were wrongfully convicted. It is intense and includes graphic details of the crimes, so reader beware. (It’s a really good book, though.) If you start a book club with your sibling, we’d love to hear about it! Feel free to come back to this post on our Hot Mess Press Facebook page, and leave a comment!


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