ALTON - Soul Sanctuary will host their first Silent Book Club event for introverts and others who want company while reading.

From 6–8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024, people can come to Soul Sanctuary at Milton Schoolhouse, read and chat if they want. Stella Webb, owner of Soul Sanctuary, explained that the free event aims to provide companionship and encourage leisurely reading.

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“This is a whole new approach to book club,” Webb said. “It’s just more about camaraderie, more about just being around people. There’s no pressure to read the same book and have it ready by the same time.”

Silent Book Clubs are gaining popularity around the world. The groups meet regularly and attendees read their own books, at their own pace, in silence for an hour. Socialization is optional after the quiet reading hour is done.

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As a minister and spiritual practitioner through Soul Sanctuary, Webb said she has worked with a lot of people who feel increasingly isolated, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. She hopes the Silent Book Club will help mitigate those feelings by providing easy company to attendees.

“Sometimes they just need to be around other people, not so much to even talk and stuff, but just to be around other people just for presence,” Webb explained. “So this is really about offering our community a way to come together and be there, even for people who have a low social battery, those introverts. This allows people to still come together and still be around others but not feel like they have to interact if that’s not what they can do that day.”

You can read more about Silent Book Clubs on the Silent Book Club website. If the Jan. 16 event goes well, Webb said they will look into becoming an official Silent Book Club chapter and having monthly club events.

Everyone is invited to this free event. There are already over 100 people who have expressed interest on the Soul Sanctuary Silent Book Club Facebook event.

“Grab your coffee or your tea, bring your book, bring a blanket if you want to get cozy, and just sit and read your book for a while. And instead of doing it at home by yourself, come do it when there are other people around,” Webb added. “The hope here is to give people just a place to come.”

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