• STV
  • MySTV

Silent reading party craze from America creating a noise in Dundee

A new social approach to reading gathers a group of loyal bookworms in its first year.

Book parties: One hour a month is set aside to enjoy reading.
Book parties: One hour a month is set aside to enjoy reading. CC / Cropped

Finding just one hour in a month to lose herself in a book was something Mariel Symeonidou could never quite find the time for.

In between her studies for first her Masters and then her PHD, the 25-year-old said her love of reading for pleasure always seemed to fall to the bottom of the priority list.

Moving to Dundee from Cyprus seven years ago to take on her first degree, Mariel decided last year she wanted to establish some roots by setting up a social event.

Combined with a desire to wipe away the dust from her waiting book collection, her two passions began to fuse together when she discovered the concept of the 'silent reading party'.

First launched in Seattle in 2010, the gatherings encourage people to disconnect from technology for one hour and jump into the literary world.

The idea quickly spread across America to places like New York and Chicago before moving across the pond to London and Edinburgh.

One year on: Mariel says there is demand in Dundee to have a little technology-free time.
One year on: Mariel says there is demand in Dundee to have a little technology-free time. STV Dundee

One year ago, Mariel took the plunge and set up Dundee's first silent reading party as a bit of a one-off event. Almost 12 months on, she is now preparing to celebrate their first birthday following loyal support within the Dundee literary community.

"I wanted to give it a go and see if it would work out," she says. "I thought it was a really nice idea that you could read in public in a group and then have an opportunity to meet other like-minded people.

"It's an hour where you can read your book and focus on that without worrying about work or other things.

"Dundee actually has a great literary community - there's so much going on."

Now running the free event once a month from Brewdog's Dundee bar, Mariel says up to 35 people turn up each month, book in hand, to enjoy an hour of reading.

And while some choose to leave once the hour is up, Mariel says many stay on for a chat, a freedom she wants to encourage to allow all personality types to benefit from the event.

"I have started my PHD so I have even less time to read so the event has become more important to me personally," she says.

"I have that hour of reading but it is also when I get to see everyone. It is a social event where people get together to have a chat, have a drink and meet other people so I do look forward to it."

Social reading: People can stay after the reading hour for a chat with others.
Social reading: People can stay after the reading hour for a chat with others. Mariel Symeonidou

Mariel usually has two books on the go at any one time, with Kate Atkinson's Emotionally Weird and All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders on her list for the next event on July 18, with hopes that this trend for this public appreciation of books will continue to filter across to other parts of Scotland.

"It is nice to detach yourself from your busy schedule," Mariel says.

"And it is a nice way to start the week.

"Reading isn't normally connected to a social event so it's nice to see it in a way where people are able to go out and read their books and have a great time."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.