Readers and writers are thought of as solitary creatures. Even though we now have BookTok, blogging, social media and author appearances and events, it's still understood that the actual business of reading and writing needs to be done in isolation. 

But this isn't always the case...

I visited the London Library this week, in St James's Square behind Piccadilly. Founded in 1841 by Thomas Carlyle, it has always been a popular haunt of writers, actors and creatives and remains a place where people go to be among others working and studying. It encourages application and industry, the librarians say, to see others immersed in their projects. And apparently 700 books were completed last year by members of the London Library.

This library is one where silence or 'quiet' is still important and, though we can be so lost in a good book that we can be unaware of conversations or activities around us, reading is often best without distractions. 

So I've been intrigued to discover a new trend rising up in bookshops and also bars and cafes - the silent book club!

I read about it first in a mailing from a clothing company! White Stuff reported on the Silent Reading Club in Oxford which is part of a growing national and international community. 

Founded in San Francisco in 2012, the Silent Book Club is an opportunity to enjoy books, friends and drinks. People gather at an appointed time and place, order food or drinks, introduce their books to each other, then settle down for an hour of silent reading. When they've finished, they can chat together, or not.

And the New York Times recently reported on Reading Rhythms which are reading 'parties' but based on the same idea of an hour's silent reading!

Doesn't it sound great?! Certainly in a city, it seems a lovely way to meet new, like-minded people.

And I've seen that there are two bookshops in the eastern region who are also offering this opportunity.

The Book Hive in Norwich has Page Against the Machine - a quiet hour in the shop every Wednesday where you can read whatever you like without distraction, with wine and tea provided.

And Red Lion Books in Colchester is also trying out the idea for its customers. 

Well, I can't offer a silent book club for Woodbridge just yet, but it will soon be time for us to meet to discuss the title we've been reading together for the past couple of months. 

On Monday 29 January we'll have our first meeting of the year where we'll chat about 'Transcendent Kingdom'. I have a number of you already signed up for this meeting but if you are planning on coming along on the night, do please let me know by replying to this email.

Thank you for reading.