Have you ever heard of buddy reading? I hadn’t until a while ago, when my friend Emily told me what it was all about. The concept is very simple, but somehow I’d never tried it before: the idea is to read a book at the same pace as a friend or small group.
Reading pages or chapters at the same time as fellow bookworms sounded like great fun, so Emily and I decided to try it out. We spent the best part of an hour, I think, scouring the shelves of Waterstones until we found something that engaged us both. In the end we picked The Lie Tree, and agreed to read the first three chapters over the course of the afternoon and have our first discussion that very evening.
Knowing I’d be talking about the book soon, I made a particular effort to understand what I was reading, being more careful with names and places, and even jotting down interesting plot details that intrigued me. I felt like I was experiencing the book on a new, higher level, and had tons to talk about after just three chapters. So each night we set three chapters to read – at my reading pace, and with the distractions of a noisy house, that was about an hour a day for me.
It was the most fun I’d had with reading in a long time. I worried setting daily goals would make reading feeling like a chore, but it was quite the opposite. So enthused were we after each discussion that all we wanted to do was get our noses stuck back in the book!
Interestingly, I was able to recall the events of The Lie Tree much more vividly than I usually do with a book I’m reading for the first time. Talking about the book as we went made it feel much more real, and I feel connected to the story in a way I think I wouldn’t have if I’d been left to read it alone. I’m sure I would have still enjoyed it, but having someone to share theories with made it so much more fun!
I would love to do a buddy read again. Have you ever done buddy reading or read as part of a book group? Share your experiences!