COVID-19 has shuttered all outings with friends and family, including weekend getaways, movies, concerts, coffees, lunches and dinners. And as social distancing has become the new norm, more and more of us have turned to solo hobbies like movies, crafts, and cooking to stay sane.
A majority have chosen to hide and bury themselves in the pages of a good book.
The past year has shown us that literature can – in addition to providing entertainment and comfort – can become the mainstay of community.
It’s no wonder, then, that many digital book clubs have sprung up around the world, allowing people to chat about their favorite books, interact with top authors, discuss moral issues, and meet virtually. other bookworms.
If you’re one of the many struggling to choose what to read next, a celebrity book club could help point you in the right direction. Most of these book-loving celebrities make book recommendations and use their influence to host author interviews, talks, and giveaways.
What are you waiting for? Remember what game of thrones author George RR Martin said – “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…The man who never reads lives but one” – and take your pick today!
Reese’s Book Club
2 million Instagram followers
Recent selections: The Last Thing He Told Me, The Henna Artist, Northern Spy
Joy seekers. History lovers. Fictional parent guardians. Book lovers are all that and more – and Reese Witherspoon wholeheartedly accepts, which led to her becoming the founder and chief bibliophile of this hugely popular book club.
The Oscar and Golden Globe winner wears many hats with style – she acts, produces, designs, sits on numerous boards, and also finds time to read regularly. The actor, who published his first book, Whiskey in a teacupin 2018, has also recently served up superb book-to-screen adaptations: Savage, big little liesand Small fires everywhere. Obviously, she loves stories in all formats.
With Reese’s Book Club, she chooses two interesting and thought-provoking current books with female protagonists – one for adults and one for YA readers – and supplements the book reading and discussion with author interviews.
Years later, Reese’s “big idea” remains the same: “to connect with all of you by bringing to light the stories that I have found meaningful – charming, hilarious, insightful, thrilling and diverse stories from a female perspective”.
Sonali Book Club
27.3k Instagram followers
Recent Picks: The Midnight Library, Homegoing, The Authenticity Project
Actor Sonali Bendre says her passion for reading took a back seat “as the years went by and I got busy juggling motherhood and my career.”
She started Sonali’s Book Club to interact with bibliophiles around the world and reconnect with reading because “I should read at least one book a month”. Each month, Sonali chooses a book for the members of the book club to read; this is followed by a discussion about the book which can take place in several ways (via Facebook/Instagram Live or an online text discussion).
Other elements include #SBCMasterclass, a series of conversations with popular authors; Discoverables, which highlights up-and-coming authors; and SBC Lil Ones, which aims to find age-appropriate children’s books.
Read with Jenna
142,000 Instagram followers
Recent Picks: Great Circle, Good Company, Friends and Strangers
TODAY’s book club, #ReadWithJenna, chooses a new book each month to read together, discuss and spark conversations.
Launched in 2019 by Jenna Bush Hagerthe club aims to shine the spotlight on “stories that will delight, entertain and challenge readers”.
Book club choices cross genres, but Jenna generally recommends books that match her tastes. “Anyway, you have to have a big, compulsively readable plot. Something where you can’t wait to figure out what’s going to happen,” she says. “And, obviously, I was an English student, so it must be beautifully written.”
The Today Show website offers additional reading material: author interviews, additional reading lists, and questions to guide solo reading.
262,000 Instagram followers
Recent Selections: And Now I Spill the Family Secrets, The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano, Outlaws
Belletrist, which translates to a person who writes essays, especially on literary and art criticism, “celebrates great books and the people who read them.”
The book club was started by best friends Emma Roberts and Karah Preisswho have shared their love of reading for more than a decade by sending books to each other by post.
In the age of the internet, Emma and Karah decided to go online by creating a group of like-minded subscribers to celebrate a new book each month.
Friends believe that “you don’t have to be the best reader or read the most, you just have to have that sense of curiosity and want to discover new stories that you might not have.” read otherwise.
between two books
136,000 Instagram followers
Recent Picks: Spring, My Ghosts, Everything You Ever Wanted
Between Two Books was created by English singer Florence Welchin 2012. The singer was quick to support the initiative, recommending her favorite books and getting big names to share their favorite tracks as well.
The club regularly offers recommendations from artists, writers, musicians and directors such as Greta Gerwig, Nick Cave, Fiona Apple, Adwoa Aboah, Jeremy O. Harris, Grayson Perry and Sally Rooney.
The vibrant community offers book recommendations, discussion prompts, video readings, and more. Amid the pandemic, the club released a book of isolation reading material, including Rest and be grateful by Emma Glass, Minor feelings by Cathy Park Hong, My year of rest and relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, and the immortal by Anne Boyer.
Our shared shelf
400,000 Instagram followers
Recent Picks: Cinderella Liberator, Whose Story Is This, Beloved
As part of her work with UN Women, Emma Watson started reading as many books and essays on equality as “I can get my hands on”. Soon after, she decided to start a feminist book club to “share what I’m learning and also hear your thoughts.”
In 2020, the actress decided to stop making the regular bi-weekly announcements of her picks via the board and said she would call out future picks via Instagram with the hashtag #ourssharedshelf instead. Our shared bookshelf may be dormant on Emma Watson’s forehead, but the group has an active presence on Goodreads, and members can chat about their reading material with each other and engage in all sorts of book discussions.
There are more celebrities helping us read between the lines.
The all-rounder Sarah Jessica Parker shares more than her love for fashion with her TV avatar, Carrie Bradshaw. SJP and Carrie love writing! The actress, who loves her books, has often talked about her favorites on TV shows and on social media, but made it official with SJP Picks.
Together with Book Club Central, she offers book recommendations to avid readers and seeks support for local libraries. His choices include The goldfinch, The way we live nowand New Grub Street.
During this time, Oprah, the quirky celeb who started her own book club, has also gone live. His last choice is not one, but four books, by Marilynne Robinson. The quartet, known as the Romans of Gilead, includes Gilead, Homepage, Lilacand Jack.
Oprah endorsed Marilynne Robinson as “one of our greatest living authors”, adding that “in the Gilead novels she wrote a quartet of masterpieces. The more carefully I read them, the more I appreciate and the more they show the way to seeing beauty in the ordinary”.
Isn’t it time to see the extraordinary in the ordinary? Enter the world of books and you will see!