As World Book Day is an annual event, many people seek to develop the habit of reading regularly. One of the best ways to establish a book reading schedule is to join a book club, whether online or in person.
Besides instilling a habit of reading, a book club has several other benefits. It’s an easy way to get recommendations for new books to read, and you hear different perspectives on the same thing you just read. Some of the biggest online book clubs also offer Author Conversations, allowing you to enjoy books in a new light.
1. Online Book Club (Web): Classic Forum and Monthly Book Discussion Forums
If it is not broke, do not fix it. Online Book Club (OBC) follows the classic forum formula with threads and sub-threads to read and discuss a new book each month. The design might look a bit dated, but OBC makes up for that with content and discussion forum format options.
Book of the Month has its own sub-forum, with multiple threads about different things in the book. For example, there will be a thread for specific events, threads based on chapters so you can discuss them without spoilers in advance, or threads for guessing mysteries or thrillers. Registered users can also create their own discussions, but read the rules first.
OBC also includes a “library” where you can add books you have read or want to read in the future and your reviews about them. Forums can also be used for non-book club discussions about books, authors, reviews, and more. There are so many other discussions that the book discussions subforum is divided by genre.
If the purpose of a book club is to meet a thriving community of bibliophiles and then discuss books and other literature with them, you will feel at home at OBC.
2. Reese’s Book Club (Android, iOS): The most active and popular online book club
Actress Reese Witherspoon started Reese’s Book Club (RBC) on Instagram in 2015, and it slowly grew into one of the most influential book clubs on the internet. He’s so big now that he has his own app with a community of readers (although Reese still posts on Instagram and hosts social media discussions).
RBC selects a new book each month with a woman as the central character. Other than that, there are no real restrictions on genres or page limits, so you can expect a wide range of book types. At the end of the month, RBC hosts a video call with the author (or someone deeply connected to the book).
Each book is divided into four sections by page count, assigned for four weeks. These weekly chats allow you to talk about what you’ve read so far without spoilers about what to expect later. It’s freewheeling chat in a simple comment system, and sometimes with polls you can vote.
As a new reader, you can also dive into older books shared on RBC and see the discussions they contain. Sometimes you’ll even find them active months after the book’s publication.
To download: Reese’s Book Club for Android | iOS (Free)
3. r/BookClub (Web): Official Reddit book club for multiple books per month
What do you do if the book club you belong to has selected a book that you have already read or have no interest in reading? This situation will not arise in the official Reddit Book Club due to its multiple book choices each month.
Usually, you’ll find four or more choices, including a Gutenberg free-to-read book download, a classic novel, a few other books from different genres, and a “mini monthly” free online read. The Reddit Book Club is also hosting a 3-month “Big Read” for a thick book that will take over a month to complete.
Each book has its own timeline and threads, with over 135,000 members participating in the comments. You can follow the program and participate in these discussions or start your discussion on current or old books. Don’t forget to tag it with the correct spoiler tags to prevent other members from seeing content they don’t want to see yet.
4. The Catch-Up Book Club (Web): Read classics and popular books you missed
Everyone has a few classics or popular books that you never had time to read. The Catch-Up Book Club (CUBC) is a Goodreads community to finally finish these “duds” and discuss them with other newbie readers.
Each month, CUBC selects three books by popular vote: a classic usually available for free online, a modern but popular and critically acclaimed title, and a “library catch-up” where they revisit a book previously featured on CUBC that new members can catch up. Each book contains multiple threads about it, with and without spoilers, so you can discuss the book while or after reading it.
It’s a warm and forgiving community that encourages you to voice your opinions and not be afraid of judgment. Since it’s hosted on Goodreads, you’ll also see reviews of what non-club members thought of it.
5. Silent Book Club (Web): The best book club for introverts
The Silent Book Club is not a virtual community and focuses on in-person meetings. But unlike many other book clubs, you don’t read the same book. Heck, you don’t even need to discuss it. It’s a whole new approach to book clubs, designed to encourage you to make reading a habit.
The founders of Silent Book Club say traditional book clubs can be difficult for some people. Introverts struggle with the pressure to have something to say. Busy people have to scramble to finish the book on a tight schedule. Thus, the Silent Book Club was born to allow you to do what you love: reading. And you devote time to it while meeting other bibliophiles.
A typical Silent Book Club meeting brings together a few people in a cafe or bar, exchanging greetings, then simply reading in silence. And everyone reads what they want. The idea is to enjoy the act of reading in the company of other people who do it. If you want to discuss the book, great. If you don’t like discussing it, that’s okay too.
Silent Book Club has local chapters in almost every country and major city. You can locate the closest to you on their chapter map. And if none exist around you, you can create your own Silent Book Club chapter for free with their guidelines.
It’s easy to start your own book club
Joining an existing book club is a great way to get in the habit of reading and discussing what you read. But if you want more control over what you read and who you interact with, you should consider starting your book club.
There are plenty of free resources online to help you run a book club, even if you don’t have any prior experience. Apps and sites will give you discussion topics and times for books, and you can mix and match advice from different blogs to build your schedule. The goal is to read, learn, interact and have fun, so why not do it your way?
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