Book clubs offer readers intellectual stimulation, bookish socialization, title suggestions, and often a nice glass of wine. But even the most vibrant book clubs can get stale. If you don’t have time for a formal reading group, or if you’re looking for a new spin on the regular couch discussion, perhaps it’s time to plug into something new.
Social media provides an endless landscape for bookworms to share their reactions to twisty thrillers, participate in creative challenges, and get to know readers all over the world. Offline, mixing up the format of how you interact with other readers or visiting literary landmarks can be downright inspiring. Here are eight fun ways to connect with the book community and deepen your literary life.
1. Tackle a reading challenge
Participating in a reading challenge will definitely push you out of your comfort zone and help you try something different. Two of the more famous annual reading challenges are the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, with prompts like “An essay anthology” and “An assigned book you hated (or never finished),” and the Popsugar Reading Challenge, which has categories like “A book involving a heist” and “A childhood classic you’ve never read.” Both the Book Riot and Popsugar challenges have online communities on Goodreads so you can swap recommendations and connect with other readers. Visit the Goodreads groups for Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge and Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge.
2. Share your reading experience on social media
Join the many readers on social media through Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, Snapchat, and Facebook. Post your insta-reactions of books you just finished. Make it visual with pictures of your latest library or bookstore haul. Find your reading community with bookish hashtags like #AmReading, #Bookstagram, #Shelfie, and many more.
3. Jumpstart your reading with a readathon
Some readathons, like Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, take place over 24 hours, while others, like the 24 in 48 Readathon, are more flexible by giving you 48 hours to log 24 hours of reading. Readathons happen a couple of times a year and often feature prizes for participation on social media.
4. Nerd out with other readers on the Litsy app
Branded as Instagram meets Goodreads, the Litsy app connects readers who share their current reads, picks, and micro-reviews. Swap reactions and jump in on some of the Litsy community challenges and recurring prompts like #Recommensday every Wednesday. Litsy is available on Android and iOS.
5. Host a bookish dinner party
One way to be open to fresh reading experiences is to start a book club dinner party where guests share recent favorites and current reads rather than discuss the same book. Without an obligatory selection, everyone will be free to trade recommendations that represent their full range of reading interests and help you find something new.
6. Change up your shelves with a book swap party
Invite your reader friends over for a good old-fashioned book swap. Ask everyone to bring a few titles they want to exchange, including at least one book they love and want to recommend. You could draw raffle numbers for who gets the first pick, or have no rules and let everyone fend for themselves.
7. Go on a literary road trip
Whether you want to experience the open Wyoming skies of Annie Proulx’s short stories, the scrappy whaling town of Nantucket in Melville’s Moby Dick, or the thrilling London neighborhoods in Zadie Smith’s novels, a literary road trip can recharge your love for reading.
8. Start a cookbook club
It’s hard to refuse the bottomless grid of recipes on Pinterest, but nothing substitutes the experience of cooking from the pages of an actual cookbook, filled with gorgeous photographs, personal anecdotes, and some actual editorial direction (not to knock the endless variations on garlic mustard chicken thighs!). Make it social by inviting some friends to join you on a cookbook book club that features a different cooking style, regional cuisine, or technique each month. You can assign recipes so everyone makes the same dishes, or you could ask members to rotate sections so you always have appetizers, main courses, desserts, and more.