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Why women join book clubs

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New York: Women may well use their book club membership to increase popularity among potential suitors, says a study.

The researchers compared women’s book clubs in the US and Ireland to find how the women in each country used the role of reading in romantic relationships.

“American women utilised their status as readers and book club members to increase their popularity in the dating field and said they would never date or marry a non-reader,” said Christy Craig, doctoral candidate in sociology at University of Kansas in the US.

“Irish women did not find this as relevant, and many said they joined book clubs because their significant others did not spend much time reading,” Craig said.

For the study, Craig attended 36 book club meeting and interviewed 53 women from ages 19 to 80.

Separate from the finding about how women view book clubs and the role of romantic relationships, both US and Irish women utilised reading to develop a sense of self, to foster social and cultural capital and to construct their own sexual identities.

“Conversations at book club meetings served to reinforce women’s sense of self as well as provided a place for women to negotiate their sexuality, particularly through conversations about what kinds of women were being portrayed in books read by the group,” Craig said.

The findings were scheduled to be presented at the 110th annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA) in Chicago, Illinois.