In these times of social distancing, I miss the book club meetings of a book group I belong to. I was overjoyed when our book group leader suggested that we have a meeting online on Zoom. It was so much fun to see the familiar faces of the book club members come up on the screen of my laptop. We all took turns to voice our thoughts on My Sister, The Serial Killer- our book choice for the month.
I did miss meeting my friends in person and hugging them, and God knows I missed the snacks, but videoconferencing was a wonderful way to discuss the book. Apart from Zoom, you can use other video chatting tools like Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.
"Virtual Book clubs have always been there to connect book lovers across the globe."
When you read a good book, you are consumed with it, sharing your opinions about the book with others who have read it too is the perfect release. It is a bonding experience when folks share their own unique life stories and perspectives while explaining how they relate or react to certain incidents in a novel.
Start Your Own Online Book Club
If you are a bibliophile craving human interaction, starting an online book club with a group of friends is the perfect escape from isolation. You can start a book group on Facebook, WhatsApp or Instagram.
There are many ebooks available for free online and you can select one for everyone to read. A lot of classics have free pdfs on the Internet. You can also download ebooks and eaudiobooks from Richland library.
Some Web Resources which offer free ebooks include:
- Free Classics
- Project Gutenberg
- Open Library
- Free E Books
- Read Print
- World Public Library
- Open Culture
- Internet Archives
Join An Existing Group
Virtual Book clubs have always been there to connect book lovers across the globe. Some popular book clubs with a large fan following include Reese’s Book Club , Belletrist, Jenna Hager’s Book Club, and Oprah’s Book Club among others. These book clubs typically have websites on the Internet as well as pages on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook where fans can start hashtags and threads on book topics.
These online book clubs are gaining more significance now when people are staying at home and they have more time to read. Stuck at home, they also have a deeper desire to communicate and converse with other humans about what they are reading.
Mike Monteiro, the co-founder of the newly formed and aptly named Quarantine Book Club rightly says.“It’s like the book is an excuse for people to connect and look at other people.”
Here is a list of ten Virtual book clubs you can join or follow:
Andrew Luck, a former quarterback formed this club and he writes, "Every month, I’ll recommend two books for our team of readers: one for the “Rookies” (younger folks) and the other for “Veterans” (more seasoned readers). Timelines and reminders will be posted to make sure we are on track to finish the books. I’ll also try to interview one author each month and share that podcast with you on the website. During the football season, I may have “surprise” hosts help with the book selections."
This book club arranges chats with popular authors.You can participate in the live chat or just watch the video of the book talk given by authors.
You can sign up to be a Book Riot insider. Among other perks, you get to read a pick chosen by their distinguished staff. Then, on the second Saturday of the last month of the quarter, they have a video-chat book club!
Goodreads is a wonderful platform for those who love to read. You can sign up for free and join any of their book clubs. This one selects books which have won reader's choice awards. Once you join the group you can introduce yourself if you wish or you can just read the posts and reviews.
Goodreads advertises that this group "is for anyone who loves books from different genres. Every month we have group Books of the Month which you can join, reading challenges, and promo threads for authors, giveaways and blogs."
This book club is perfect for introverts. The creators write, "Often with traditional book clubs there's the scramble to finish the assigned book, and the pressure to have something smart to say. Wouldn't it be great to have a book club where you could just enjoy books, friends, and wine—without any homework?We started Silent Book Club because reading with friends enriches our lives and makes us happy." You can launch your own local chapter of this book club. They have more than 240 clubs worldwide in different cities.
Reddit Book Club is a large and thriving online community. Members vote to select the book of the month and they talk about the book via discussion threads. These threads remain open so you can go back and chat about previous book picks as well.
Ellen and her mom run a weekly podcast discussing their favorite Romance novels. The Website describes the podcast as," Imagine reading your favorite steamy romance novel... with your mom reading over your shoulder. Ellen and her mom set out to do just that with this book club and they want you to join in. It's fun, it's swoony, and it's awkward."
This book club is a bi-monthly podcast that discusses books by Black women about Black women. They write on their website; "Do Listen in as we drink too much wine and laugh too hard at our own jokes."
Their mission statement is as follows: “Poppy Loves Book Club is a celebration of women that is getting bigger and better every day…It’s your gang. It’s your sisterhood. And it’s heart-pingingly wonderful.” Sound good? Check them out! This is a book club specifically for women featuring women authors.It also has the option of starting a local chapter of the book club.
Want to stay connected to your community? Great news! In May 2020, we at Richland Library launched our first exclusively digital book group. Stay tuned for next month's pick.