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Book Clubs Aren’t Just for Oprah Anymore

By Jasmin Singer — August 20, 2010

My mom belongs to a book club. So does my grandma. Chances are, your mom and grandma belong to one, too.

But book clubs aren’t just for Oprah’s picks anymore. Not that I have anything at all against books like The Lovely Bones (in fact, I quite enjoyed that).

Activist Adam Weissman from Global Justice for Animals and the Environment has a slightly different vision for his book club, called Animal Ethics Reading and Discussion Group. From the title, you get the gist. The goals of his NYC-based book club include exploring animal ethics through reading and discussion, and clarifying ideas in order to become a better spokesperson for the movement. According to Adam, upcoming selections for the book club possibly include:

The Great Ape Project: Equality Beyond Humanity * Animals, Men, and Morals * In Defense of Animals (1st Edition) * In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave * The Feminist Care Tradition in Animal Ethics: A Reader * Ethics and Animals *Animal Rights: A Symposium * Political Theory and Animal Rights * Animal Rights: The Changing Debate * Animal Ethics Reader * Beyond Animal Rights: A Feminist Caring Ethic for Animals *Animal Rights and Human Obligations (1st & 2nd Editions) * On the Fifth Day: Animal Rights and Human Ethics * and more! [Read their full book list.]

I’ve heard of book clubs like this one existing elsewhere, and I think they’re just ducky. What better way to hone your own thinking, learn about other points of view in a safe space, and have a community of peers with whom you can explore ideas and talking points.

And for those of you reading this who might be involved with a non-AR book club (Mom, are you listening?), why not suggest an animal rights themed book for your group? The goal there would obviously be to expose new people to animal issues, and during the discussion portion, you would have the chance to clearly and communicatively advocate on behalf of animals. Sounds like a win-win.

Alternatively, because of the Internet, another option would be to start a virtual AR book club. The book can be discussed in a chat room during a particular time-frame, or — as a less-structured model — perhaps even in an online forum.

And if you’re not interested in purchasing the book, need I remind you that most libraries will happily supply you with all your AR-reading needs. I cannot lie — I like free books.

Photo: Used with permission via Creative Commons.

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