What Is Tough Guy Book Club - Dane, Portland Chapter

The Tough Guy Book Club is like a fight club for your mind. It is a modern meeting place for guys of all walks of life to get together and discuss not just the work of literary greats, but any and all of the issues that men tackle on a daily basis. It’s where guys can engage in bare knuckled conversation about the manly classics of contemporary literature.

Once a month we get together to sink a couple of brews and discuss the themes and topics that arise from the previous month’s reading . A great chance to share your thoughts, meet some excellent lads and foster a community of reading and good ol fashioned chat.

The camaraderie from monthly club meetups helps foster an environment where a wide range of topics can be discussed. Including the examination and appreciation of some of the best examples of the printed word. This is the pool hall at the end of the alley but with Hemingway.

The Club was started by a couple of guys just like you. Guys who wanted to read more and connect a bit more with their community. Guys with something to say and not always the place to say it. We have chapters all over Australia where we first started, and have begun our invasion of the USA with our first Chapter opening in Portland, OR. The next Chapter opens where ever you are, that’s how we do this, you just tell us where you are and we’ll come make it happen.

Tough Guy Book Club is a chance to talk about anything but your work – It’s a chance to be yourself instead of your job. To read choice books by great authors on a wide array of subjects. To read books you wouldn’t otherwise. To talk with your peers, and participate in lively discourse. To meet cool people, to get out of your comfort zone.

Here is that chance to read more.

Tough Guy book club, good for the soul of the warrior poet, the 9 to 5 warrior, and every kind of betting man in between!.

Frequently Asked Questions - Matt, Milton Chapter

What is the deal?

Basically it’s a book club. Get yourself the book (you can usually pre-order next month’s book for convenience) and give it a read. I should note that finishing it is NOT mandatory and you should totally rock up even if you haven’t finished the book. We go to a nice bar, sit around and eat food and drink beer and talk shit and make jokes. It’s pretty much the best.

Why a book club?

Because, books are rad, and dudes don't read nearly enough. Most of us want to read more, but find it hard to find the time. Having a book club gives you an incentive to read more. It's not a matter of forcing you, but it gives you a reason to do it.

What does “tough guy” mean, and can non-tough guys come?

Absolutely! Any men are welcome - tough, old, nerdy, and pretty much every other adjective you can put on a dude. About the only exclusion is that our men have to be over 18, because they’re all at licensed venues.

The Tough Guy thing is more a theme than anything. Mostly we read books by tough guys, rather than as tough guys. The books we choose are guided by a loose central theme of masculinity.

Why the masculinity theme?

We’ve read two books by Ernest Hemingway, and he's a perfect example of the "masculine". His books are strong and pioneering, they're about conflict and bullfighting, loving, drinking and war and the ocean. As a man he himself is sort of a literary paragon of masculinity - a strong figure with a scotch in one hand and a shotgun in the other. But he also killed himself.

There's something worth talking about in that, I think.

Can women attend?

Honestly this is a really rough question to answer. Mostly because it's hard to answer without a lot of assumptions and things that look bad. We like women, we're by no means anti-lady, tough or otherwise. But the point is to provide a dude-specific space. There are tons of book clubs for women. We want for this specific thing to be for men.

What does it cost?

Hard to answer… how much do you drink? There’s no profit in the club. You don’t pay to attend or to be a member. Potentially you could pre-order and pay next month’s book, which makes them easier to get. But you could just get your own second hand or from a library or on your Kindle or whatever suits you. Really the only expense is what you want to eat or drink.

We do also encourage pre-ordering the next month's book. The way we usually do it is that you give us money up-front, then you get next month's book at the next meeting. Ie, you give us money on Wednesday, and that covers the book you get at the end of the next meeting.

What sort of book?

There have been two Hemingways, The Sun Also Rises and For Whom The Bell Tolls. Recent titles were the bestselling spy thriller I Am Pilgrim. Previous titles included the universally adored The Martian, as well as A Clockwork Orange, Catch 22, Machine Man, Call of the Wild, The Rum Diaries, Heart of Darkness… you get the idea. All of these books have central themes that revolve around men and masculinity, and that’s kind of the point.

What are the rules?

There are only really two rules. One is that you don’t talk about what you do. Leave that behind, talk about who you are and what you want and what you like and whether turning up the air-conditioner makes it hotter or colder. Anything but your job.

The other rule is less specific and it’s “don’t be an fuckhead”. Essentially we are a positive and supportive group of fellow mans. We don't want toxic bullshit. This isn't a place for poorly informed gender-politics or neckbeard agendas. We drink beer, eat food, and talk about awesome books and movies and stuff.

When and where are the meetings?

The meetings are the first Wednesday of every month. There are chapters in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, and more opening regularly. There is also one in Portland, Oregon. There's a full list of chapters, locations, and events.

Is it worth doing?

I would have to say yes. I’ve really gained a lot from doing it. I’ve met cool new people that I otherwise wouldn’t have, including having opportunities to hang out with friends that I just… never got the chance to otherwise. I’ve read books that I know for a fact I wouldn’t have read otherwise, and it’s forced me out of a comfort zone of shitty fantasy novels that I read as a teen. I haven’t liked every book, and nor will you. But they’re still worth reading.