Newsletter editor Lily here.

As I noted a few weeks ago, I’ve spent 2020 reading a lot. A LOT. And I’ve been loving every second of it.

In particular, I’ve remembered the joy I feel reading women-centric fiction, especially romance novels. And combining that with my goal over the past year to have more personal life attachments and not so many elements of my life revolving solely around my career, I decided to add something new to the rotation: I started an IRL contemporary romance book club.

I put a call out to NYCers in the digital book club Facebook group that I’m part of, hoping for maybe five or six participants. To my initial surprise, I got a whopping 20 responses. A few people even told other friends of theirs what I was doing, and they promptly asked me if they could join. So now our book club is set with a waaaay bigger crowd that I was expecting. Our first selection is Get a Life, Chloe Brown, and our first meeting is at the start of March.

I’ve been thinking about why the club gained traction so quickly, and I think it goes back to a few things. First, as Sarah has noted many times over the past several years, people crave connection and community. Despite there being 18 million people in the greater New York metropolitan area, this city can feel incredibly isolating, and traditional networking often feels transactional. Plus, it’s hard to decipher if there’s actual friend potential with people at big, overwhelming events; it’s easier to do it over a shared personal interest or hobby in a more intimate setting. Second, romance novels (as with any content where the majority of consumers are women) are treated as less than in our society; it’s comforting to find a space with people who are just as excited about them. That creates an immediate bond, even if we all come with different opinions on the same book. And third, I’m finding quickly that everybody loves a book club. And what’s not to like?

I already finished our book selection for the month. And while it wasn’t my favorite book, I’m VERY excited to discuss it with a bunch of cool women next month.

Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:

* * * *