Laura Ivy is an employee at the Fairfield University Bookstore and the concept artist behind the Silent Book Club. She read about it in a National Public Radio article and went searching for something similar in the Connecticut area. It’s really quite a wonderful idea. The perfect book club for introverts or lovers of the indie or not so popular, book. You get together with fellow book lovers, share a tea, coffee or even a scone and then move to your own little corner and immerse yourself in the world of your choosing. Thus, when Ivy couldn’t find a single club near her she decided to bring it to Fairfield, hosting Fairfield University’s “Silent Book Club” on the last Friday of the month from 7 to 8 p.m. at their Post Road bookstore location.
I was running a bit late for the meeting. My heavy camera swinging beside me, and my tote bag with my oversized book and water was starting to hurt my shoulder. I took the stairs two at a time up to the second floor, already dreading the judgemental looks I’d be getting from all the quiet book lovers already delved into their novels. Yet, upon reaching the top, I met nobody else.
Sans the tightly packed group of giggling girls sitting in the corner, gossipy whispers passing between them that only paused when I looked their way, “Shhhhh! Someone’s looking at us,” absolutely nobody was there. Nobody except for a young woman sat at the table near the top of the stairs with her legs crossed and a Laura Ingalls Wilder biography on her lap. This lady would introduce herself as Laura Ivy, and she already knew me as I had emailed and told them I was coming and bringing my camera.
I was nearly 10 minutes late and not another soul sat with me and Ivy at the table. After telling me all about where the idea for the club came from, she offered me a free drink token, a perk for those who show up to the book club. I thanked her and she shrugged, telling me she didn’t think anyone else would come. I understood her, we were nearing 15 minutes into the club and by now the girls from earlier had disappeared, replaced with younger versions giggling about some girl on their soccer team.
I think one issue with the club is its timing. The late Friday evening is quite inconvenient for the Fairfield students who are more focused on going out with their friends than curling up with a book and an Earl Grey. There isn’t the same amount of social appeal as spending a night with your friends as when you spend your evening taking the StagBus at 7 p.m. and reading a Sally Rooney novel on the second floor of the bookstore. I get it, honestly, I do.
I had a lovely evening. I went and grabbed a black tea from downstairs, using my cute little free drink ticket as I watched some girl complain about “chunks” in her Frappuccino. I sat back down with Ivy, curled into my Rainbow Rowell novel and hit pause for an hour. One hour of untouched silence.
I personally lack a pause button. I’m so focused on classwork, internships, friendships, relationships… just life things, the absolute crazy madness of life, that I often forget to breathe. Here was my opportunity. No pressure, no meetings, no classes, an untouched moment of silence. So I sat, took a sip of my tea and simply read. I just wish I had more company with people who sought the same pause of the universe.