Just can’t bring yourself to join a book club? There are other ways to connect with other bookish folks, it doesn’t all have to be so formal!
I’m kind of in love with the idea of book clubs – I envisage myself and a group of like-minded individuals, sitting in a cosy pub, drinking real ale and having a good-spirited debate about why we loved/hated the latest book we read so much. Sounds like something I could do all day, every day (perhaps not the real ale part)…
In reality, trying to put this idea into practice feels like too much of an uphill battle designed to zap me of my reading joy. Firstly, I’d have to meet new people. In person. Face to face. Now, meeting new people is a great thing, but it’s not something I’m particularly great at and I don’t particularly relish. Plus there’s the pressure of reading the book in time – I’m a slow reader and I don’t like having a 4-week window imposed on me, because although I’m capable of reading an average-sized novel in 2 weeks, you can guarantee the second the clock starts ticking I can’t bring myself to even look at the blooming cover. And what about picking books? It would seem the set-up of an in-person book club just doesn’t work for me.
If any of this is sounding familiar, here are a few ways you can engage with the bookish community without making a full-on commitment to a regular book club. I’ll start with the most obvious ones:
It’s not perfect, but I still love Goodreads as a way of recording the books I’ve read over the year and to get chatting with people about them. Groups will operate differently in each case, but most of the ones I’m a member of tend to hold polls to see which books the group wants to read, and then set up discussion threads for each of them.
One of the groups I’m in also does “buddy reads”, where you sign up for the month you want to take part and are paired randomly with another person, who you can then contact to pick a book to read together. I’ve done this a few times with varying degrees of success – I’ve had some great conversations and other times haven’t been able to reach my buddy at all (life gets in the way sometimes). But I’d recommend giving it a go – you can check in with each other as you progress and it’s a really nice way of gathering your thoughts on a book and hearing what someone else has to say. Plus, if it doesn’t go well, you need never talk to that person again! Awkwardness avoided!
Other social media options – Twitter, Instagram etc
Another obvious one for most people – although I personally have found it harder to engage with other book lovers on Twitter, I know a lot of bloggers get a lot of satisfaction out of their Twitter conversations.
One of the things I love about bookish Twitter is how easy it is to find out what everyone is reading – whether it’s through the various hashtags (#Fridayreads, #bookbeforebed) or by finding the latest blog posts on the topic. You can join in the discussion, or just browse for inspiration – you’re as involved as you want to be.
In terms of generating discussions with other people, I’ve found Instagram to be more accessible – I really enjoy joining in with the various book photo challenges, and again the level of input is up to you.
Have you found Litsy yet?
I love Litsy – if you’re a book lover and haven’t joined Litsy yet, where have you been?? In its simplest form, it’s Instagram for book nerds, and it’s wonderful – blurb, quote or review a book, and see what others have to say about books. It’s also spawned its own Litsy-based book clubs, which pose discussion questions on a regular basis throughout the month.
I don’t think any description I give will do Litsy justice. Get on there and have a look for yourself – and if you feel like it, give me a follow (LeanneAslin).
How about a workplace book club?
Or, as I like to call it, the lazy readers’ book club! One thing I did at my previous job was run the monthly book club, where we’d get together on our lunch breaks once a month to discuss what we were reading – no pressure to read a set book, just people who like to read getting together to chat.
It was lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed it, I’m hoping to do something similar at my new place once I’m settled in.It didn’t eat info anyone’s free time, and was relaxed enough that anyone could pop along if they wanted to, even if they weren’t reading anything and just wanted some recommendations.
I love all kinds of podcasts, but bookish ones are my favourite! I listen to them while commuting, cooking, putting the washing away – they fit very nicely into my lifestyle! There are plenty of book podcasts to be found, from general discussion to recommendation shows, from discussions around a particular book to book-related news.
I use Doggcatcher to listen to podcasts, which I like, but whichever app you download should allow you to search for particular categories.
Have I missed anything? What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear your comments!