The crowded room is completely silent except for the flipping of pages and the clink of glasses. People sit hunched over books, tucked into corners while completely focused on their reading. Readers are packed into every available seat in The Sorrento's Fireside Room where Seattleites come on the first Wednesday of the month to partake in the monthly Silent Book Reading Party starting at 6 p.m. (word has it that people start showing up as early at 4:30 p.m. so come early for a seat!).
Last week I decided to check out what all the fuss as about and headed down to The Sorrento. I arrived a bit too late for a good seat but was able to quickly see why readers flock to these parties. As a Work at Home parent, I rarely get to experience silence and lately I've been obsessed with reading. I'm working on my Seattle Public Library Black Out Summer Bingo Card so silence is golden in my house. It means I can get more reading done! I also wanted an opportunity to see what other people are reading as I'm having troubles deciding on books for a few of my bingo squares ("Out of My Comfort Zone" and "Local Author", if you must know).
I settled in with my book and was quickly offered a "Silent Reading Order Form" with a happy hour menu packed full of delicious treats and refreshing drinks. The Sorrento has made all the accommodations to keep the Fireside Room as quiet as possible on their monthly Silent Book Reading Party nights. Having to keep silent and being there with the purpose of reading meant that I quickly became involved in my book (My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout). In fact, I read more than half my book while at the Silent Book Club Party and then went home and stayed up way too late to finish it. When I first entered, I spotted a friend and briefly greeted her before finding my seat. It was her first time at the party but there was already excitement in her eyes.
The clientele at the party was mixed, from a senior using a walker to a younger guy with spiky brown hair, all were engrossed in their books. People were busy reading everything from the newspaper to thick books and current best sellers like Shrill and The Girls.
The Silent Book Reading Party originated in Seattle, a city of readers, but has quickly grown to other communities around the country. Invented by Stranger editor-in-chief Christopher Frizzelle, the parties have quickly picked up steam with chapters of the Silent Book Club popping up all over Facebook. The best part of this book club is that there is no assigned reading. All that is required is that one reads, silently. Sharing book reviews, partaking of wine or coffee is optional but the reading, it is required.
Will I be back? You bet! Silence is a blessing in my life and silent reading is golden time. I also need a few more nibbles on the Artisan Cheese Plate along with a nice glass of Malbec. Next month's Silent Book Reading Party will be Wednesday, August 3rd starting at 6 p.m.but get there early to snag a great seat!