A few weeks ago, after a couple of glasses of wine and half of a Twilight movie marathon, a friend and I decided that, on top of our regular coursework, we wanted to start a book club. Upon making this decision, we immediately decided to start with (big surprise) the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. Considering our choice of novel, no one else felt inclined to join this little group of ours. However, since then, we’ve collected all four books (I imagine Tolstoy rolling in his grave if he could see the eight Twilight books on my shelf alongside Anna Karenina), and religiously worked our way through 12 chapters a week, annotating and highlighting particularly impactful parts.
Every Sunday, we meet with a collection of sweets from Tesco (some on theme, some not) and chat about our thoughts, observations, and how surprisingly impressed we are with the quality of the writing. While not the typical St Andrews event, it still fulfils the same purpose of spending time with friends, having fun, and if desired, getting drunk. Especially as we move away from Freshers’ Week and into the cold, dark days of winter, finding ways to get out and socialise without an incredible amount of effort becomes increasingly enticing. Creating small, relaxed groups or clubs like our book club, or a weekly potluck and movie night, can be a great way to destress from academic life in a relaxed (and cheap) way.
In addition to the intellectual superiority this gives us over our friends, (I know we’re reading Twilight, but still…) it has also been an intellectually stimulating way of taking breaks from schoolwork. There’s no pressure to write an essay or finish by a certain deadline, yet it reminds me why I enjoy reading and the benefits of annotation when not done forcefully. In addition, it is fun to dive deep into the characters and just have fun with it. It’s even more fun to laugh over shared moments of cringe or share shocking realisations (is Bella’s love for Edward just an adrenaline addiction?!).
This is, perhaps, the best part of ‘creating your own event’ —– the flexibility. While yes, it’s fun to do so, there’s no pressure to dress up or even to leave your flat. You can change the date, time, or location at the last minute and there are no hard feelings and no inconvenience. The level of commitment is up to you in every aspect; whether you want to set up themed dinners and drinks or just show up to a friend's flat with a bag of unpopped popcorn and a heavily annotated second-hand copy of New Moon on a Sunday night at 10pm.
Ultimately, what you choose to do with your time and friends is up to you. However, creating a structure for your own events can be a new way to have fun and mix up your social life while also expanding your horizons (and literary palate) in a comfortable way.
Illustration: Lauren McAndrews