9 Engaging Book Clubs You Can Participate In Online
Sitting around with a bunch of fellow bibliophiles and chatting about a book you all just read is a bliss almost beyond compare. But it’s not always feasible to get together in person, whether that’s because of a pandemic or just plain old distance. Fortunately, the internet provides endless opportunities to virtually connect with other readers. Here are nine of our favorite online book clubs to join this month, next month, or whenever.
1. Get Lit With All of It
Alison Stewart’s monthly book club is essentially a literature-focused offshoot of her WNYC radio show All of It, which covers all things culture. The books themselves are mostly buzzy new literary fiction like Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half and Emily St. John Mandel’s The Glass Hotel, and Stewart interviews the author at the end of the month. Each event, which is free to livestream, also features a performance by an artist whose music complements the book. You can listen to past segments here, and keep track of what’s next via All of It’s Instagram. (And if you have a New York Public Library card, you can borrow the e-books for free through the NYPL app.)
2. Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine
The overall mission of Reese Witherspoon’s media company Hello Sunshine is to put women “at the center of every story we create, celebrate and discover.” Her book club echoes that message: The books are by women and about women. The club’s Instagram account features all sorts of engaging content, and Witherspoon herself frequently posts about the books, too. There’s even an app where you can bond with fellow book clubbers and hear announcements before they hit the wider web.
3. The Stacks
Traci Thomas’s The Stacks is a book club in the form of a podcast, where each guest usually sticks around for two episodes. In the first one, they’ll talk books and reading in general, while the second episode centers on the book club pick of the month. Guests come from all corners of culture; a few recognizable names include author Yaa Gyasi, lawyer-slash-entrepreneur Meena Harris, and Desus & Mero’s Desus Nice and The Kid Mero. The books are just as varied, from classic novels like Toni Morrison’s Sula to newer releases like Jericho Brown’s poetry collection The Tradition.
4. Now Read This
If you always have one eye on the headlines, Now Read This might be the ideal book club for you. It’s a collaboration between PBS NewsHour and The New York Times, and the selections are all of the “that’s timely” variety. But they’re not all timely in the same way. Some, like Shane Bauer’s American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey Into the Business of Punishment, are more political; while others coincide with entertainment events. Meg Wolitzer’s The Wife, for example, was chosen around the time the Glenn Close-starring film adaptation was earning awards. Readers are encouraged to post their thoughts on the Now Read This Facebook page, and you can check out discussion questions, author interviews, and other supplementary materials on the website.
5. Noname Book Club
Noname Book Club was founded by rapper Noname to spotlight works by people of color and foster a supportive community for readers. Their local chapters have paused in-person gatherings since the beginning of the pandemic, but they hold virtual events via Facebook Live. While participating on social media is free, the club also has a Patreon account that offers exclusive access to additional content for a monthly fee. Part of the profits are used to send copies of the book club picks to prisons around the country.
6. Goodreads Choice Awards Book Club
The Goodreads Choice Awards Book Club lives on the Goodreads website, but it’s not officially affiliated with Goodreads itself. Basically, group members make their way through all the latest Goodreads Choice Award winners (and some fan-voted additions) and discuss them in threads on the site. There’s more than one pick per month, so it’s a great club to join if you’re hoping to branch out from your favorite genre but aren’t sure where to start. April’s selection includes a fantasy novel, a poetry collection, a literary fiction option, and even a picture book.
7. Between Two Books
Between Two Books is the product of a 2012 tweet to Florence + the Machine’s Florence Welch suggesting that she start a book club, which she did. It’s run by Kate Litman and Leah Moloney, and most of the recommendations come from Welch herself. Others are submitted by a host of familiar names, from director Greta Gerwig (who chose Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts) to playwright Jeremy O. Harris (who went with Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven and Other Plays by Young Jean Lee). Picks from some of Welch’s musician contemporaries—Fiona Apple and Nick Cave, to name a couple—pop up, too. The best way to get involved is to follow and share your comments on the club’s Instagram, where its largest audience is.
8. The Rumpus Book Club
This book club hosted by digital literary magazine The Rumpus isn’t free, but you’ll get something that can’t be bought in a bookstore … yet. For $35 a month, you’ll receive one unreleased book and access to an “exclusive moderated online discussion with the author” that takes place at the end of each cycle. Previous picks have included Carmen Maria Machado’s short story collection Her Body and Other Parties and Nicole Chung’s memoir All You Can Ever Know (among others).
9. Andrew Luck Book Club
Former NFL quarterback Andrew Luck is passionate about reading, but it wasn’t actually his idea to found a book club. Men in Blazers hosts Michael Davies and Roger Bennett joked about an “Andrew Luck Book Club” during an interview with him in 2015, and The Wall Street Journal borrowed the phrase as a title for an article about Luck’s unofficial job as the Indianapolis Colts’ book-recommender that same year. Months later, he launched an actual book club. It features two books per month: a “rookie book” for young readers, and a “veteran book” for older bibliophiles—so it’s a great activity for adults to do with kids that isn’t only for the kids. The club appears to be on hiatus—the most recent picks are from December 2020—but the archive is bursting with books to catch up on while you wait for its return.
Do you love reading? Are you eager to know incredibly interesting facts about novelists and their works? Then pick up our new book, The Curious Reader: A Literary Miscellany of Novels and Novelists, out May 25!