If we’ve learned one literary lesson from the pandemic, it’s that book clubs don’t have to be in-person to be enlightening. From stalwarts such as Oprah's Book Club to pandemic-inspired newcomers like the New York Public Library and WNYC’s virtual club, online groups offer a fun way to converse with fellow readers, hear from writers and maybe even try a new genre or author. Here are seven online clubs where you can join the discussion — or quietly explore some fantastic book suggestions.
The Girlfriend Book Club
The Girlfriend, AARP's newsletter and website for women 40 and older, offers a private Facebook-only book club with nearly 43,000 members and counting — but anyone can join. It's fun and lively and packed with mostly female bibliophiles. Each month, the club focuses on a different book that was chosen through a Facebook poll, and authors participate in a live Facebook chat (which occurs on the third Tuesday of each month). The August selection is Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus; previous selections have included The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin, and The Guncle by Steven Rowley. It's an amiable community where members offer suggestions to anyone looking for their next binge-worthy book. Added bonus: The club treats members to multiple book giveaways each month.
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Goodreads Choice Awards Book Club
The best book recommendations come from friends, Goodreads.com cofounder Otis Chandler believes. And with 125 million members, the site offers lots of potential pals who want to talk about books they love (or don't love). Goodread's online groups focus on everything from romance to travel books, but if you want a broad mix of titles — and are more interested in great reading recommendations than a cozy community — check out the nearly 15,000-member Goodreads Choice Awards Book Club. The group focuses on books that have won the site's best-of-the-year awards (as determined by Goodreads members). Members are currently reading top picks from 2021; upcoming selections include The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles; The Dictionary of Lost Words, a debut novel from Australian author Pip Williams; and the nonfiction Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe. To enter the conversation, just start or add to a discussion thread on the site.