Brief Description: The Peaceful Readers Book Club, active in fall 2021 through February 2023, gathered adults to reflect upon and discuss non-fiction books on civic and social topics with a focus on peace.
Purpose: Brought curious adults together for shared learning through reflection on and discussion of books on compassionate living, peaceful practices, and social justice topics.
- Adults 18+ who enjoy reading books.
- Adults who enjoy learning.
- Adults who enjoy discussions centered around peaceful ways of living and social justice.
- Adults with time available to read one non-fiction book over the course of two months.
- Adults with time available to gather for a virtual discussion of about one hour per month.
The Peaceful Readers Book Club was open to adults from all areas of the country. We encouraged participation from adults in Calvert County, Maryland, in which we are delivering our first intensive community peace project.
The club read one book each two months. We divided each book into parts. We discussed Part 1 the first month and part 2 the second month. We hoped club participants participate in both discussions, but welcomed those who could join only one.
The book discussions were approximately one hour in duration. We used interactive techniques to engage participants and inspire new ways of understanding the text.
The book club convened one weeknight each month.
The club convened virtually using Zoom videoconferencing.
Participants entered and exited the club as their time and interest allowed.
Participants were responsible for reading assigned parts of the books ahead of each discussion. Participants received reflection questions to spark contemplation.
Participants were responsible for borrowing, renting, or buying their own copy of the books. We purchased copies of each book in the series for lending to up to two participants facing a monetary barrier to participation. We satisfied lending assistance requests on a first-requested, no-questions-asked basis. Once the discussions of a book were concluded, the borrower returned it so that we can make it available to others.
Performance Measures: We measured the effectiveness of the Peaceful Readers Book Club with a brief participant survey after each discussion. The surveys asked participants to report whether they acquired new knowledge, new attitudes, or a desire to take some form of action as a result of reading and discussing the book. Also, we asked participants to rate their satisfaction with the club sessions and the overall activity experience.
Peaceful Readers Book Club Resources
Where to Borrow or Buy Your Book Copy
Check your public library, or a college library if you have access. If they do not have copies in circulation, they may be able to acquire a copy through interlibrary loan.
- Visit or contact an independent bookseller in your area and check whether they have the book in stock or can procure a copy for you.
- Amazon and Barnes & Noble are two larger booksellers with online and in-store purchasing options.
Books Read by the Peaceful Readers Book Club
- Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong
- The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
- A Politics of Love: A Handbook for a New American Revolution by Marianne Williamson
- Bridge Builders: Bringing People Together in a Polarized Age by Nathan Bomey
- Together: The Healing Power of a Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World by Vivek Murthy
- The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World by Wade Davis