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If you’re struggling to decide what to read next or can’t join a real book club, celebrity book clubs might just be what you’re looking for. And they are growing in popularity. It used to be an area dominated by Oprah (the queen of celebrity book clubs), but more and more famous people are interested in telling us what to read.
Some celebrities have official book clubs you can join through Goodreads or Facebook, and some simply post what they read on Instagram. Either way, celebrity book clubs are a great source of inspiration for what to read next. I’ve rounded up some of the best celebrity book clubs and bookish celebrities to follow on social media.
Real celebrity book clubs
The original celebrity book club! Oprah’s Book Club was originally a segment on her talk show where she picked out a book and discussed it with her audience. Oprah’s seal of approval helped many of these books become bestsellers. But after some controversy (the infamous James Frey incident, Jonathan Franzen being annoyed that Oprah got women to read his books), Oprah turned to reading a lot of classic novels. I guess dead authors can’t be boring. These days, Oprah’s Book Club has moved online. His most recent pick is Michelle Obama Become.
(By the way, don’t listen to Franzen, Oprah has great taste!)
Raising female voices is the stated goal of Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine. Witherspoon announces a new pick every month, and you can join the discussion on Facebook and Instagram, or just read from home. His last choice is Proposal by Jasmine Guillory.
Emma Watson’s feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf, has an active presence on Goodreads. Participants can discuss their readings with each other and take part in all kinds of book discussions. This winter they read Things I would tell you: British Muslim women write, edited by Sabrina Mahfouz. Watson’s club seem to be making a real effort to be intersectional, which is great to see.
Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss run Belletrist, a book club that also promotes independent bookstores (which is super cool). Before launching the club, Roberts got his start in the book-influencer game by posting his latest reads on Instagram. Their January 2019 pick was The dreamers by Karen Walker Thompson, the latest in a list of (I think) smart picks that feature gripping nonfiction and female-driven fiction.
Sarah Jessica Parker
SJP has its own imprint with Hogarth Press, where it publishes titles that reflect its interests as a reader. She also partnered with the American Library Association’s Book Club Central to create SJP’s Picks. The most recent SJP pick is heartland by Sarah Smarsh.
NFL star Andrew Luck’s book club has choices for ‘Rookies’ (for kids) and ‘Veterans’ (for older readers) – adorable! This month’s picks are Kelly Barnhill’s The girl who drank the moon and James SA Corey’s Leviathan awakens.
It’s my favorite celebrity book club because I want to be Florence Welch. Yes, the woman behind Florence and the Machine has her own book club! It seems to have grown organically from Florence’s personal love of reading, so it’s less organized than some of the others on this list, but not run by Florence herself (although the books are recommended by her). New recommendations are posted on Facebook and Instagram, where everyone can read and share their thoughts. The most recent picks are two books of poetry by Hera Lindsay Bird titled Hera Lindsay Bird and Pamper me to hell and back.
In June 2018, Fallon launched a Tonight’s show summer book club. We’ll see if it happens again this summer, but the first choice was pretty awesome: Tomi Adeyemi Children of Blood and Bones.
Actress and writer Felicia Day, along with Veronica Belmont, Kiala Kazebee and Bonnie Burton, leads the Vaginal Fantasy book club to discuss “romantic genre books with strong female leads.” I’m here for a romance book club! You can join the discussion on Goodreads, where they are currently reading Bitten by Kelly Armstrong.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Everyone’s favorite vampire slayer posts her readings on Facebook and Twitter, usually using the hashtag #SMGbookclub. This book club isn’t as formal as the others here – it seems like a way for SMG to share what it reads with its followers.
— Sarah Michelle (@SarahMGellar) June 24, 2016
Unfortunately, the world of official celebrity book clubs is pretty white so far. But there are plenty of celebrities of color who share what they read on social media, so you can start your own book club by doing an accompanied reading. Here they are!
We know Rhimes has excellent taste in books because she chose Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series, which is currently in development (hurry up, please?), among a few other literary adaptations she’s producing for Netflix. Rhimes has also branched out into online content with the Shondaland website, which has excellent book coverage. And she is also known to share what she reads on Instagram.
Kaling has written two books herself, so we know she loves books…and she often shares her picks on Instagram.
Gay is one of our leading cultural critics and essayists, as well as being an awesome fiction writer, so you can trust her opinions. She periodically posts lists of recommended books on Medium or her Tumblr, and you can also follow her on Goodreads, where she writes detailed and thoughtful reviews of what she reads.
Ah, remember when you could be sure the president could read? Obama used to share his annual book picks during his presidency and has continued the tradition now that he is no longer in the White House. Follow him on Facebook to see the lists. (And check out Book Riot’s guide to reading like Barack!)
Like her husband, Michelle Obama is a reader (and now an author). She is known to recommend books in interviews. Book Riot has a list of some of its past recommendations.
For more bookish celebrities, check out this Book Riot list.