‘Shhhh. I’m reading’: the radical new activity in our parks

You can’t share that gruesome Game of Thrones passage until the coffee break one hour in, or at the end of the two-hour session.

The society was started by avid reader Rachael Bettiens, 33, of Preston, after she read an online blog about a silent reading party at a Seattle pub.

Rachael Bettiens at the reading club.

Rachael Bettiens at the reading club.Credit:Chris Hopkins

She couldn’t find one in Melbourne. So she set up an event on Facebook, inviting people to ‘‘shut the f—k up for a while and just read’’.

On January 13, for the first monthly session, eight people turned up to a spot under trees near Captain Cook’s cottage in the Fitzroy Gardens.

Group member Emily Pert, 34, of Kensington, says they got some odd looks from tourists, ‘‘like they’re thinking, ‘what are those people doing? Clearly they know each other, but they’re not having a conversation, they’re just lying there, reading’.’’

Its second session was on Sunday at Carlton Gardens. There will be a different location every month.

Ms Bettiens said many members prefer it to book clubs that state you must read a book you don’t choose, to a deadline.

A good old Aussie picnic, er, silent reading party at Carlton Gardens.

A good old Aussie picnic, er, silent reading party at Carlton Gardens. Credit:Chris Hopkins

At a silent reading party, you don’t have to publicly analyse a Tolstoy character’s motivations.

You read your own choice of book, at your own pace.

You can socialise in the breaks if you like. Or say nothing.

Ms Pert’s work for a tour company is very stressful, involving ‘‘very big spreadsheets and an awful lot of money’’.

She said reading quietly in a group ‘‘was so much fun, it was really chilled and it was exactly what I needed at the time. It was perfect».

Molly George, 26, of Kensington, said she’s very outgoing in her job as a community radio station volunteer manager, but in her downtime she wanted a quiet, low-energy group.

A quiet read in the park.

A quiet read in the park.Credit:Chris Hopkins

Louise Easson, 32, of Footscray, has had little time to read since giving birth to baby Isabella five months ago.

Her husband Matthew pushed Isabella around the gardens while she enjoyed reading the book Magic, by Jan Golembiewski, the true story of an Australian man’s global search for mystics.

‘‘It’s really good to have a break, to come out and read properly, uninterrupted by screams or cries, or having to be on high alert,’’ Ms Easson said.

Reading is part of her identity, ‘‘and that’s hard to hold on to when you have a newborn. And I’m meeting other people who like books. So it’s pretty great».

Silent reading clubs are popping up around the globe, in cities as farflung as Portland in Oregon, New York and Hobart.

Carolyn Webb is a reporter for The Age.

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Источник: Theage.com.au

Источник: Corruptioner.life


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