What exactly is a silent book club? We find out at Strathnairn’s Cafe Stepping Stone.

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What can be better than a book club, where like-minded readers congregate to celebrate their literary hero of choice and engage in robust discussion on plot devices and character development?

How about a book club where you can just sit in silence and read whatever you want, safe in the knowledge that no one expects anything from you.

If, however, you decide you are up for a conversation with the person sitting next to you, then it is perfectly acceptable to lean over and ask them what they are reading. And more power to you!

Café Stepping Stone, located at Strathnairn, is running a “Silent Book Club which turns traditional book club models on their head”.

According to Vanessa Brettell, co-founder of the café, 11 avid readers attended their first event last month, and registrations are now being taken for the second club on 19 November.

The rules are fairly straightforward.

Unlike traditional book clubs, there’s no assigned reading or discussion, just a peaceful space to read your book among fellow book lovers.

Here’s how it works

At 2-2:30 pm, you arrive, settle in with a drink, and maybe share what you’re reading. Between 2:30-3:30 pm you enjoy a quiet, undisturbed reading hour.

Between 3:30-4 pm you have the option to socialise or just continue reading if you prefer!

The Silent Book Club is open to everyone, with no fees or age limits. You can engage with books a whole lot while engaging with others as much, or as little, as you like.

Vanessa said the book club would meet monthly.

“The first event went really well and was very relaxed and fun. Everyone turned up and got into reading, and afterwards, everyone was keen to share a little bit about the book they had,” she said.

“It was a very low-key event, but it was still social, and it takes the pressure off—knowing you can sit and keep reading and not socialise if you don’t feel like it but that if you are interested in meeting others and opening up about your own book, then you will have that chance.”

While Silent Book Clubs were running around Australia, Vanessa didn’t know of another one operating in Canberra.

If this is something you are keen to experience, then register at cafesteppingstone.com, bring your current read, order your favourite beverage, and enjoy some uninterrupted reading time at the Strathnairn Cafe!

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