By Claudine Gervais
Reading is a solitary activity, but the RevolutionHer book club is bringing women together across Canada.
The free virtual book club is a way for women to reclaim time for themselves and enjoy the company, support and insight in view when women come together.
“Everything happening has set women back decades,” said Maria Locker. Her blunt assessment of the impact of the pandemic on women arrives from an informed perspective. As the founder and CEO of Mompreneurs, recently rebranded as RevolutionHer, she has worked for the past 10 years as an advocate and champion for the advancement of women and female entrepreneurs across North America.
While reading can offer an escape, it also enhances the ability to empathize with others and to become more intuitive and reflective on what we can — and can’t — change.
A study by the Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society at the University of Liverpool demonstrated that those who read for pleasure have higher levels of self-esteem and a greater ability to cope with difficult situations. Reading for pleasure was also associated with better sleeping patterns. Adults who read for just 30 minutes a week are 20% more likely to report greater life satisfaction.
The club’s pick in Atomic Habits by James Clear for the September 29 meeting reflects this. Subtitled An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, the book offers tools and strategies for transforming habits, and includes stories from Olympic gold medalists, artists and business leaders.
Ahead of it is the first book chat on September 15, the fall series kicked off with a fictional pick, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. The novel, recently made into a miniseries, is described as an exploration of the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood — and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.
The six selections for the fall series of the book club were made by a small team from RevolutionHer in collaboration with Penguin Random House. The books are available for purchase on the RevolutionHer website in limited quantities at a 15% discount off list price.
A previous version of the book club focused exclusively on business books, said Locker. The change to widen the selections was a choice made to serve the whole RevolutionHer community. By leaving the Mompreneurs name behind earlier this year, they were opening the 23,000+ membership to include all women. Locker said that many community members also stay with the organization even after they decided to leave entrepreneurship behind.
“It is a place to connect,” said Locker, and a community and support women continue to rely on no matter what direction their life may take.
The book chats are a way to find time that’s just for you, said Locker, similar to what women have told her about receiving the organization’s print magazine. The hardcopy magazine is one of the hold-it-in-your-hands offerings from RevolutionHer, along with a membership welcome box including products from women-owned companies.
“These small joys are more important than ever.”
Translating that feeling virtually is something they are attentive to, she said. Depending on how many people sign up for the book chats, more than one meeting will take place to ensure everyone has the chance to share. They will also have an experienced facilitator guiding the one-hour meetings with questions and discussion points.
Women are not one-dimensional, and their experiences shouldn’t be either, said Locker, from reading selections to the many other aspects of our lives. “It’s a place to enjoy time together and make connections.”
Previous book club selections included:
Start With Your People by Brian J. Dixon
The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington
Profit First by Mike Michalowicz
Find Your Pleasure by Cynthia Loyst