The History of the Book Club

The History of the Book Club


At one time, literacy was reserved for those of the upper classes. The general public couldn’t afford books and many weren’t able to read. But the book club that people like Oprah Winfrey have popularized actually started back in the 1720s.


In the late 1800s, an exclusive group of glove-wearing, tea-drinking ladies met to discuss literature and it was an extreme honor to be gifted with a membership to this club.


Initially, men were the first to popularize reading groups, but women followed right away. They might have been socially confined by their sex but they quickly moved from sewing circles and quilting clubs to book clubs. This gave them an opportunity to be heard among their peers and to discuss matters men discussed liberally.


Literacy began to affect all in the twentieth century. Society presented more opportunities to the general population. Free libraries and mandatory schooling affected all. As a result, more people had access to reading material. Conversations cropped up at churches, book stores, schools, and libraries. Eventually this moved to the internet.


At one time, literacy was a privilege most people didn’t have. Now book clubs provide people with ways to discuss ideas and to socialize while expanding the realms of their minds.


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