By Keeley Ryan
A couple days after lockdown began, we were meant to be going on vacation.
Instead, I had a week off and just about everywhere had been shut down — and I decided there was no better time to properly dive into my to-be-read pile.
But after escaping into a few brilliant books, I found that all I wanted was to have a group to actually talk about the books with. And maybe to discover more books (and talk about those too).
With more people turning to the virtual world for entertainment, it was then that I found my first virtual book club — and, in turn, an amazing group of people.
During lockdown, a number of digital book clubs popped up around the world — uniting readers who found themselves indoors for unforeseen amounts of time, or pals who were scattered to all corners of the globe.
Whether you are looking for some new reading inspiration or you want to talk about your favourite lockdown reads with other book lovers, here are four virtual book clubs that are worth checking out.
Silent Book Club
Silent Book Club, which was first founded in 2012, is essentially Introvert Happy Hour. Basically, all you have to bring is yourself and your book — in general, meetings start with everyone sharing what they’re reading (and getting snacks), before having an hour of quiet reading. Then, there’s a bit of optional socialising at the end — or you can just keep reading.
It’s proven to be such a hit that there’s chapters all over the world.
There is a chapter in Galway, although they are ‘hibernating’ for a little bit at the moment — but the founders have said that book lovers around the world are welcome to join any online meet-ups. You can find the list of July events right here.
Rebel Book Club
Founded five years ago, Rebel Book Club has chapters in a number of different cities — and an online hub, where they host digital discussions about this month’s non-fiction pick.
Each month, there’s a theme and a book that are picked. The themes are based off member recommendations and trends — among many other things — with the club making an effort to regularly mix things up. Meanwhile, the books are picked based on the theme — there’s a list drawn up of contemporary non-fiction, on average between 250 and 350 pages.
There is a small membership fee, with the option to go for a 90 day membership or to join on a month-by-month basis. If you’re interested, you can find out more about it right here.
Reese’s Book Club
You can’t really talk about digital book clubs without talking about Reese Witherspoon’s one, can you?
Described as “a community propelled by meaningful connections with stories, authors and fellow members,” the book club sees the actress pick one book a month — each of which has a woman at the centre of the story — and readers can join in to read the latest adventures using #ReadWithReese.
The picks for June and July are I’m Still Here: Black Dignity In A World Made For Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown and The Guest List by Lucy Foley.
Ladies Lit Squad
Another real-life book club that has moved to the digital sphere, Ladies Lit Squad is normally based in London. However, when lockdown began, it moved to Instagram to become an ‘isolation book club’ filled with colourful and unforgettable recommendations.
You can follow along with the latest reads through their Instagram account, or sign up to their newsletter — which you can find here— and is filled with suggestions of “books old and new for you to sink your teeth into.”
Their latest suggestion is Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore which, based off the initial reviews, has gone straight to the top of the to-be-read pile.