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Sit down, shut up, read: The new branch of silent book clubbing in Melbourne

Sit down, shut up, read: The new branch of silent book clubbing in Melbourne

Some readers might relish boozy debates about whether Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch is actually any good or the moral implications of Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap. Others just up to book club just for the cheese and bikkies.

But if you’re after a more tranquil experience to share with fellow book lovers, a new society has just the event for you. 

It’s very different from your average book club. You bring whatever book you please. You mightn’t know anyone else there. There are snacks, sure, but nibble on them quietly. Because above all, the more important rule of this meeting is that no one makes a sound.

A collective called the STFU Reading Society has started hosting ‘silent reading parties’ in Melbourne.

Readers are invited to come along, ‘shut the f*ck up’, and make some solid progress towards hitting their 2019 reading goals. The two-hour meetings are held every second Sunday of the month and begin at 11am. You must hold in any comments or gasps you might want to exclaim until the end of the meeting or, at least, until the half-time coffee break.

The first silent reading session was held in Melbourne’s Carlton Gardens in January with 8 attendees, and the meeting in February attracted 18 readers. The next meeting will be held in the Queen Victoria Gardens in March.

The organisers came across the idea in an online article about silent reading parties that were being hosted in Seattle. After successfully kicking off the STFU Reading Society in Melbourne, fans of the idea are calling for similar events to be held in other Australian cities. 

As an escape from frazzled workweeks, the appeal of attending a silent reading party is clear. Spending a healthy chunk of time reading with no sound other than the rustle of page-turns seems like the perfect way to while away a Sunday morning, and we’re predicting that the STFU Reading Society will grow quickly, and quietly, all across the country.