Book clubs are a great way to get out of the house and get to know some kindred bibliophiles. Unfortunately, the pandemic has made both getting out of the house and finding social stimulation much more difficult than it has ever been before.
But never fear! There are plenty of book readers online who are eager to analyze authors’ witty turns of phrase. A virtual book club works a lot like an in-person one—a book is assigned for each meetup and members of the club discuss. Now it’s just being done over Zoom and across social media.
Here are ten wonderful online book clubs that are free to join.
You probably already know Goodreads for their book reviews, but this site is also full of free online book clubs. If you go to Goodreads’ Groups page, you will find tons of groups dedicated to books and book-lovers. If you click on the “bookclub” tag on the right, you’ll find groups that specifically have a book club-like structure. Some popular groups include The History Book Club, the New Adult Book Club, The Perks of Being a Book Addict, and The Procrastinators Book Club.
Poppy Loves Book Club is a monthly book club that was created by women for women. Each month, readers come together for a live Facebook discussion of the month’s selected book. In addition to these monthly discussions, you can also enjoy the site’s monthly Coffee Morning, where members chat about their favorite books, podcasts, and how they’re doing in general. There are also monthly yoga sessions, various workshops, a film club, and even opportunities to “cookalong” with your favorite cookbooks.
After a Wall Street Journal article dubbed football player Andrew Luck the “NFL’s unofficial librarian” in 2015, people started using the #ALBookClub hashtag on Twitter and the Andrew Luck Book Club was born. Each month Luck selects two books for his book club—a “Rookie Book” for young and new readers, and a “Veteran Book” for mature readers. Readers are able to discuss the books on the club’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
4) Books & Boba
Books & Boba is both a book club and a podcast that focuses on books by authors of Asian descent. Hosts Reera Yoo and Marvin Yueh invite an Asian or Asian American author each month to come on the podcast to read and discuss their books. Yoo and Yueh also cover new releases and book news in the publishing world, and interview authors. If you’re eager for more great reads by Asian authors, you can check out past Book Picks and listen to discussion podcasts to your heart’s content.
The Reddit Book Club usually reads a few different books each month, so you’ll be sure to find one that strikes your fancy. A bonus of this book club is that there is often a Gutenberg Pick, which is a book you can read on Project Gutenberg’s free online book reader. August 2021’s picks included Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (Gutenberg Pick), The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (YA Pick), The Martian by Andy Weir (Evergreen Pick), Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Runner-Up Read), and The Wheel of Time: Eye of the World by Robert Jordan (Mod Pick).
Florence and the Machine frontwoman Florence Welch started Between Two Books in 2012 when an Irish teen tweeted that the singer should start her own book club. Writers, directors, artists, and musicians like Fiona Apple, Greta Gerwig, Grayson Perry, and Sally Rooney have offered guest recommendations to the club. Book discussions take place on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and feature readings and Q & A’s with the authors. The site also features a Spotify playlist inspired by the club’s book recommendations.
On its Instagram page, the Social Book Club refers to itself as “Social media meets the old fashioned book club.” Each month, the club selects historically and culturally relevant books for its members to read and discuss. The Social Book Club’s Instagram page features several questions throughout the month, and readers can contribute to the conversation by using the hashtag #thesocialbookclub.
Guinevere de la Mare and Laura Gluhanich started Silent Book Club in 2012 by reading at a neighborhood bar in San Francisco in companionable silence. Now there are more than 250 chapters all over the world where people get together to read books together without the pressure of an assigned book or forced discussion. These chapters have traditionally met in person, but many virtual meetups were born over Zoom during the pandemic.
March 18, 2020, marked the beginning of Tolstoy Together when Yiyun Li and A Public Space invited readers to read and discuss War and Peace online. The virtual book club went on for 85 days—you can read about it in the book Tolstoy Together: 85 Days of War and Peace with Yiyun Li, which will be released on September 14, 2021. If you missed it the first time, Yiyun Li will be leading another reading and discussion of War and Peace starting on September 15, 2021. You can join A Public Space’s newsletter for updates, and follow along with the discussion on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #TolstoyTogether. You can also read War and Peace for free on Project Gutenberg.
Literary Hub’s Virtual Book Channel is less of an online book club and more of a replacement for those great book readings and discussions at bookstores amongst fellow bibliophiles. The Virtual Book Channel was launched during the pandemic and archives live-streamed programming through partnerships with indie bookstores, authors’ WFH spaces, literary festivals, and more. One recent video is of authors Eve Gleichman and Laura Blackett in conversation with Joshua Henkin at the Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn—a bookstore known for fantastic author events that can now be enjoyed right from your laptop.
Author’s Bio:- Jillian Karger was born in Ohio but has lived in and around New York City for over a decade. Since graduating from NYU in 2009, Jill has had a long string of jobs doing things like scouting books to be adapted for film and researching trivia questions for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”.
She has done freelance writing as well for sites like Cracked.com, and had her Twitter jokes featured on BuzzFeed and funnyordie.com. Jill has also self-published two novels on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Jillian-Karger/e/B07B894DNW).
Follow her blog posts about books and writing advice, read books and publish them for free at: https://www.fictionate.me.