Have you already exhausted your pandemic reading list? When the world shut down in March, it seemed naive of us to think we'd be back to normal by the fall. Alas, everyone has adapted to the New Normal — even if we are still debating facemask usage.
Previously counting on in-person book clubs, literary fiends looking to connect with other book lovers have also had to evolve. Book discussions are now taking place on Instagram, YouTube, and book-rating website Goodreads, allowing bookish folk to come together to discuss the twists, backstabbing character, and key takeaways.
While Reese Witherspoon’s and Oprah’s groups have been around for years, here are some book clubs riding on the recent wave of online connection.
Created by a group of young Black YouTube creators, this book club hosts a monthly live show discussing literature by Black authors. The club came about after the creators realized BookTube (the subsect of YouTube about books and reading) lacked Black voices commenting and reviewing Black authors. The club is in its fourth month and is ideal for teen and young-adult readers.
Focusing on books from the mystery and thriller genre, the Literally Dead Book Club is geared toward readers who want their blood teeming with suspense all year round. A popular creator in the BookTube community, BooksandLala hosts the monthly book discussion on her YouTube channel and invites fellow BookTube creators to cohost alongside her for an hour-long livestream. The Literally Dead Book Club also posts discussion topics on its Goodreads account so readers can discuss it throughout the month.
Chicago rapper and poet NoName started NoName Book Club to shed light on progressive work from writers of color. "Reading material for the homies" is the club's motto, and the monthly picks have focused on topics such as the prison industrial complex, capitalism, racism, identity, and revolution. In 2020, the club started a program to send the monthly book picks to incarcerated people across the country. Also, each month an essay is offered as a free alternative to the monthly book picks with a Zoom meeting to discuss.
This club’s M.O. is in the name. Focusing on historical fiction and nonfiction, the Goodreads book club transports readers back in time with its picks and discussion groups. Although the History Book Club started in 2008, its discussion groups are still going strong with close to 20,000 members.
Created in September, the Late Night Book Club is one of the newer editions to livestream-centered book clubs. Curated and run by BookTube creatives Ellias, Noelle Gallagher, and Joel Rochester, the Late Night Book Club’s book picks don’t follow any particular theme or genre but caters to a young-adult audience.
The SmartBrownGirl book club aims to create a space for readers to engage with research, theory, and history. It offers two reading tracks curated by graduate-level Black women researchers. The book club runs on an online class model with reading guides and syllabi, so members hold the tools to engage with the academic literature and learn while they read. Readers can choose between two paid membership options, differing in difficulty. Members also have access to Facebook discussion groups and private author chats.
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