October is National Reading Group Month and an excellent time to make the public aware of the number and variety of reading groups and where they hold their meetings.
As chair of the Monmouth County Library Commission, I would like to invite newcomers to try one of the many book clubs that meet regularly and offer an exchange of ideas and debate, as well as entertainment and excitement, all within our Monmouth County Library System.
It is estimated there are more than five million book clubs and reading groups currently active around the world. More studies show group reading also encourages participants to become independent readers and advance skills necessary to develop and expand reading skills.
Reading is the best thing we can do for ourselves and each other. Group reading encourages social interaction and stimulates interest in other areas, including museums, volunteerism and different forms of recreation. Reading is relaxation, stress relief and comfort food for the brain.
The Monmouth County Library Headquarters and its branches throughout Monmouth County offer a variety of book clubs, some with special interest such as mysteries, even, as at headquarters, a Russian Book Club where an Oct. 25 discussion will be entirely in the Russian language.
Our libraries offer talks by local authors, talks on health issues, and discussions on everything in popular books from American royalty in castles to an innocent convict pardoned from death in the electric chair after 30 years of incarceration.
In celebration of the month, the library headquarters is staging a Book Club Festival on Oct. 17 with famous authors making presentations both in person and by Skype, providing an exciting and stimulating day for members of all reading groups and their guests.
I would encourage everyone to visit www.monmouthcountylib.org, visit the book festival, or stop in at the library closest to home and see what the library offers, what book clubs are available and when they are meeting. It isn’t necessary to join, but it’s fun to stop in and see whether membership in a book club would add to your quality of life.
Renee B Swartz, Chair
Monmouth County Library Commission