If you are looking for a good excuse to even read After books in 2017, there’s no better way to ensure you stay engaged in your literary resolve than by gathering around you a group of like-minded readers – and check out this list of online book clubs to join in the new year is a great way to start. Now, if you’re already a fan of book clubs, you might be thinking: a in line Reading Club? Where’s the fun in that? (AKA: Where’s the wine, snacks, and dirty girly talk?) And you’re right: online book clubs aren’t known for their cheese platters and wine spills on your couch (unless you spill it yourself, which you should always be completely free to do.)
But here’s the flip side: when you join a digital book club, you’re really there to tell your fellow readers about the book. A few of these online book clubs even give you the opportunity to talk to author of the book – something you definitely won’t get anywhere else. (You can still indulge in your wine and gossip on a girls’ night out, right?)
Here are 9 awesome online book clubs to check out in the new year. Good reading!
1. Our shared shelf
This feminist book club was founded by actress Emma Watson and is hosted on Goodreads. As part of her work with UN Women, Watson decided she could use more feminist literature on her shelves – and through the online book club Our Shared Shelf, she takes you with her. Our shared shelf features a new book every month, and members (over 160,500 – and counting!) discuss the book during the last week of the month. Recent readings from Our Shared Shelf include: Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, how to be a woman by Caitlin Moran, and Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Around the World by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.
2. Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club
One of the newest additions to the world of online book clubs is Reese Witherspoon’s social media-powered book club (hashtag #RWBookClub on Instagram and Twitter to find it.) Organize your book club like a list of best reading recommendations from your BFF, rather than a traditional book club, the actor and founder of film production company Pacific Standard is definitely up to date with what’s new and exciting in literature – especially written books by women, featuring female protagonists and feminist themes. #RWBookClub is the perfect way to keep your TBR stack up to date (and to get hints about what book adaptations Pacific Standard might be filming next.)
3. Oprah’s Book Club 2.0
The lives of many authors have been changed by Oprah’s Book Club – easily one of the most popular book clubs of all time, known for its diverse authors and epic, heartbreaking reads. Although the original book club ended when Oprah’s show went off the air in 2011, it revived the club in 2012, through a collaboration between OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network and O: Oprah’s Magazine, and hosted on its website and social media. Some of Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 latest titles include: The Underground Railroad, Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton, and Ruby by Cynthia Bond.
4. Bustle’s American Woman Book Club
Did you know that at Bustle we have our own online book club? 2017 is a year of action. It is more important than ever that American women try to come to terms with each other in the face of such partisan division and that we come together in the pursuit of social justice and equality. And since reading has been proven to foster empathy and understanding, and we believe that reading at large is just one small step in resolving the divisions of our nation, the books we will read encompass a wide range of American experiences; we’ll read about Muslim Americans, Latinos, African Americans, LGBTQ+ people, undocumented immigrants, white working class women, and more. Because all of these people are Americans and all of their stories are American stories. Bustle’s Book Club will be discussing the books during the last week of each month, via our Goodreads forum (or if you’re a New Yorker, at NYC’s Strand Bookstore!) Our first book of the year is Gabby Rivera’s Juliet breathes.
5. The Rumpus Book Club
The Rumpus Book Club, hosted by TheRumpus.net and Google Groups, charges a small membership fee, but your $27 per month (plus shipping) goes a long way. With a Rumpus Book Club membership, you’ll receive a new copy of an unpublished novel or memoir each month, which you’ll be invited to discuss throughout the month in a members-only forum. At the end of the month, readers are invited to a moderated web chat with the book’s author. Pretty cool, right? Recent titles include: Jon Raymond’s Free Bird, The Wangs against the world by Jade Chang, and Knives and Ink: The Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos (with Recipes) by Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton.
6. The Rumpus Poetry Book Club
The Rumpus Poetry Book Club is everything you love about Rumpus Book Club, just with poetry! For $25 per month (plus shipping), members will receive an upcoming collection of poetry, access to the online book club forum, and an invitation to moderated web chat with the featured poet. Recent poetry collections include: Chris Santiago’s Where are you now, Primitive: The Art and Life of Horace H. Pippin by Janice Harrington and Max Ritvo Four reincarnations.
7. Women’s Life Club
Starting as a hashtag on Twitter (see: #wlclub) before becoming Instagram, a Google group and a Slack community, the Women’s Lives Club is dedicated to reading more books about women, by women, and especially biographies of women written by women. The first selection of the group was that of Janet Malcolm The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughesclosely followed by Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston by Valerie Boyd. Titles are chosen via member suggestion, then #wlclub founder Rachel Syme narrows the suggestions down to one book per month.
8. Book talk
Book Talk is an online book club that has been running well since 2002 (so it’s entirely possible the original online book club – although I have no real evidence for this.) Book Talk staggers its fiction and non-fiction selections, and each book is read and discussed for approximately 3 months via the online forum at booktalk.org. The club also hosts life webchats and interviews with authors when appropriate. Recent reading includes non-fiction titles: A Brief History of Almost Everything by Bill Bryson and God: the most disagreeable character in all fiction by Dan Barker; and fictional titles: Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe and The Complete Ernest Hemingway Short Stories by Ernest Hemingway.
9. Vaginal Fantasy Book Club
You really can’t beat this one, as far as book titles go. Founded by former buffy the vampire slayer actress Felicia Day, the Vaginal Fantasy Romance Book Club offers romance novels with paranormal twists. Sponsored by Goodreads and organized via YouTube videos, the 16,000+ member book club reads a new paranormal romance each month, and Day club hosts Veronica Belmont, Bonnie Burton and Kiala Kazebee discuss each book and genre as a whole on the Vaginal Fantasy Romance Book Club Show. Definitely pour yourself a glass of wine for this one.
Picture: miniseries/E+/Getty Images; giphy(9)