These San Francisco Introverts Turned the Page on the Common Book Club

Less talk, more reading.

Frustrated with the commitments and commandeering of their perspective book clubs, San Francisco friends Guinevere de la Mare and Laura Gluhanich decided to start their own. The club rules would be simple: the group agrees on a time and place, drinks are ordered, current books are shared and then a full hour of uninterrupted reading for all. No home parties, no dishes to contribute, no single person sucking the air out of the room. Just companionship and plenty of quality reading. They nicknamed it “Introvert Happy Hour.” Now they have 50,000 members online and more than 180 chapters in 20 countries.

According to SF Gate, “Their first meeting was at Wine Kitchen on Divisadero, where they sat down together, ordered drinks, and committed to reading at least one chapter before lapsing back into conversation.

It surprised them how something as unassuming as two women reading would stop people in their tracks.

“’If you look around a bar or restaurant, look at how many people are staring at their phones and not talking. That’s a cultural norm,’ said de la Mare. ‘But if you replace a screen with a book, all of a sudden it draws a lot of attention.’

“Through word of mouth, more friends found out about Silent Book Club and asked to join. In 2015, one friend moved across the country to Brooklyn and started her own chapter there.

“The two groups began bicoastal meetups using Instagram hashtags to connect, which sparked the idea to form an online community that could spread Silent Book Club’s geographical reach even farther. They launched a website as well as a Facebook group, and new chapters kept popping up steadily for years.

“’Social media and word of mouth were the primary drivers of new chapters until 2019, when we were featured in Oprah Magazine and NPR and there was a global explosion of new chapters,’ explained de la Mare.”

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