Virtual book clubs are flourishing as they adapt to our increasingly rich online lives.
Taking full advantage of technology, they host interactive author talks, online meetings, chat groups, and ongoing discussions over social media. There’s something for everyone: clubs that deep-dive into a single genre and others that aim to be as diverse in their reading material as possible. Some have members read at their own pace and others send weekly reminders with page goals. Most are totally free and there’s no limit on how many you can join; signing up for three virtual book clubs means three times the reading recommendations and events.
Why join a virtual book club? There are the health benefits associated with reading and the data we have on the growing epidemic of loneliness which itself is a health hazard. There’s the added accountability to help you achieve your reading goals. There are the cultural perks as outlined in last year’s BookBrowse book club study, which indicates book clubs tend to attract people who place high value on intellectual challenge and growth, good conversation, and exposure to new literary experiences and ideas. Book clubs are good and good for you.
They’re good for the world, too. As our planet faces mounting challenges, a global community of enthusiastic readers engaged in an international free exchange of ideas flowing 24-7 stands as hope for the future. “Show me a family of readers,” Napoleon wrote, “and I will show you the people who move the world.”
Here are twenty virtual book clubs you can join today.
Instagram hosts book clubs headed by Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, Emma Roberts, Florence Welch, and Noname with livestreamed author Q&As and multimedia content. Discussions take place in the comment sections. Be sure to check out Brooklyn-based Literaryswag Book Club’s well-curated lists focused on diverse voices.
Goodreads, the long-standing community for readers, is home to thousands of book clubs from the casual (The Perks of Being a Book Addict) to the conceptual (Around the World in 80 Books) to the ambitious (Boxall’s 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die) to the Keanu Reeves (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Book Club). Peruse the shelves of The Next Best Book Club, a virtual stand-in for the staff-picks shelf of your favorite independent bookstore. If you missed out on commonly read titles, read along with the members of Everyone Has Read This But Me – The Catch-Up Book Club. Goodreads is free to join and any member can set up their own club. The old-school forum format keeps things lean and snappy. Why mess with a good thing? Throw your pithiest thoughts into the mix with the brutally honest Goodreads community.
The Rumpus’s book club and its sibling poetry club grant members early access to unreleased books and exclusive author discussions. There’s a discount if you join both.
Mocha Girls Read, a book club created by and for Black women who love to read, holds weekly Zoom meetings and maintains communities on Goodreads, Facebook, and Instagram. Those who haven’t read the books are still invited to hang!
The Rebel Book Club, the startup-minded club based in the UK that believes “reading is like a software update for the brain” reads nonfiction with a focus on learning and growth. They host virtual bimonthly meetings and talks from experts in their fields. The membership fee includes monthly Amazon vouchers.
The Silent Book Club runs like this: the first half of the meeting is reserved for silent reading of your choice and the second half for sharing what you learned. Virtual meetings are run by chapters around the world so there are multiple options throughout the week.