Apart from inculcating a reading habit, a book club has several other benefits. It serves as an easy way to get recommendations of new books to read, and you get to hear different perspectives on the same thing you’ve just read. Some of the bigger online book clubs also often feature conversations with the author, making you appreciate books in a new light.
1. Online Book Club (Web): Classic Forum and Discussion Boards for Monthly Book
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Online Book Club (OBC) follows the classic formula of a forum with threads and sub-threads to read and discuss a new book every month. The design might seem a bit dated, but OBC makes up for it with the content and options in the discussion board format.
The book of the month gets its own sub-forum, with several threads on different things in the book. For example, there will be a thread for specific events, threads based on chapters so you can discuss it without spoilers ahead, or threads to guess mysteries or thrillers. Registered users can also start their own threads, but read the rules first.
OBC also includes a “bookshelf” where you can add books you have read or want to read in the future and your reviews on it. The forums can also be used for non-book club discussions about books, authors, reviews, etc. There are so many other discussions that the sub-forum on book discussions is further 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’ll find yourself at home at OBC.
2. Reese’s Book Club (Android, iOS): Most Active and Popular Online Book Club
Actress Reese Witherspoon started Reese’s Book Club (RBC) on Instagram back in 2015, and it has slowly turned into one of the most influential book clubs on the internet. It’s so big now that it has its own app with a community of readers (although Reese still posts on Instagram and holds discussions on social media).
RBC selects one new book every month with a woman as the central character. Apart from that, there are no real restrictions to genre or page limits, so that 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 with the book).
Each book is divided into four sections by the number of pages, assigned for four weeks. These weekly discussions let you talk about what you’ve read so far without spoilers on what’s to come later. It’s a free-wheeling chat in a simple comment system, and sometimes with polls you can vote in.
As a new reader, you can also dive into older books shared on RBC and see the discussions in those. Sometimes, you’ll even find them to be active months after the book was featured.
Download: Reese’s Book Club for Android | iOS (Free)
3. r/BookClub (Web): Reddit’s Official Book Club for Multiple Books a Month
What do you do if the book club you’re a part of has selected a book you’ve already read before or have no interest in reading? That situation won’t come up at the official Reddit Book Club because of its multiple book choices every month.
Usually, you will find four or more choices, including a free-to-read book download from Gutenberg, a classic novel, a couple of other books from different genres, and a “monthly mini” free online read. The Reddit Book Club also runs a 3-month long “Big Read” for a thick book that will take more than a month to finish.
Each book has its own schedule and discussion threads, with over 135,000 members participating in the comments. You can follow the schedule and participate in those threads or start your discussion about any current or former books. Remember to mark it with the right Spoiler tags to avoid other members from seeing content they don’t wish 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 got around to reading. The Catch-Up Book Club (CUBC) is a Goodreads community to finally finish those “misses” and discuss them with other first-time readers.
Every 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 “bookshelf catch-up” where they revisit a book already featured on CUBC that new members can catch up. Each book has multiple threads about it, both with and without spoilers, so you can discuss the book while reading or after it.
It’s a warm and forgiving community that encourages you to air your views and be unafraid of judgment. Since it’s hosted on Goodreads, you also will see reviews of what non-club members thought about it.
5. Silent Book Club (Web): The Best Book Club for Introverts
The Silent Book Club is not a virtual community and focuses on meeting in person. But unlike several other book clubs, you aren’t reading the same book. Heck, you don’t even need to discuss it. It’s an entirely new take on book clubs, meant to encourage you to make reading a habit.
The founders of Silent Book Club say that traditional book clubs can be difficult for some people. Introverts struggle with the pressure of having something to say. Busy people have to scramble to finish the book on a tight schedule. So the Silent Book Club was born to let you do what you like: reading. And you set dedicated time for that while meeting up with fellow bibliophiles.
A typical Silent Book Club meeting has a few people meeting at a cafe or a bar, exchanging greetings, and then simply reading in silence. And everyone is reading whatever they want to. The idea is to enjoy the act of reading in the companionship of others who do that. If you want to discuss the book, great. If you don’t like to discuss it, that’s okay too.
Silent Book Club has local chapters in almost every country and major city. You can locate the nearest one to you on their chapter map. And if one doesn’t exist around you, you can start your own Silent Book Club chapter with their guidelines for free.
It’s Easy to Start Your Own Book Club
Joining an existing book club is an excellent way to get into a reading habit and discuss 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 a lot of free resources online to help you run a book club, even if you have no prior experience with it. Apps and sites will give you discussion topics and schedules for books, and you can mix and match advice from different blogs to construct your program. The objective is to read, learn, interact, and have fun, so why not do it on your terms?
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