10 Online Book Clubs to Join Right Now

Real-life book clubs might be on the shelf for now, but reading in lockdown needn’t be an isolated affair. We’ve found the best celebrity-led groups, Goodreads discussion boards, activist communities and globe-spanning Zoom book clubs to join right now.

Many of us are burying our heads in books during lockdown, but the act of reading needn't be a solitary one. While in-person clubs have been shelved for the foreseeable, there's a library's worth of great title recommendations and discussions being thrown around in online get-togethers of bookworms around the world.

Featuring celebrity-led groups you can follow on Instagram, Goodreads discussion boards to bookmark on your browser and real-time Zoom meetings that cross international borders, these are some of the best book clubs to join right now.

Oprah's Book Club, activist reading groups and a community for introverts…

Ladies’ Lit Squad

Like many IRL book clubs, this London-based, feminist community founded by writer Sheree Milli has migrated into the digital stratosphere over lockdown - under normal circumstances, its group had come together at The Curtain, The Hoxton and members' club AllBright. Recommendations dance between genres but are all penned by women or authors of colour. Past picks include Madeline Miller's Circe and Hunger by Roxane Gay. Its bookshop.org page makes it easy to support indie booksellers when picking up titles.

Between Two Books

This club was set up by fans of Florence Welch in 2012, and the singer has since thrown her support behind this lit-loving community, recommending titles as well as reeling in big names to suggest their favourite books too - Grayson Perry went for In Praise of Shadows by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki while The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson came with Greta Gerwig's seal of approval. Head to Instagram for video readings and discussion prompts. Currently themed around chaos and creativity, the club is working through Patti Smith's Year of the Monkey.

ShelterBox Book Club

Not your ordinary book club. With around 2,000 members across the UK, ShelterBox is a charitable outfit that uses book-lovers' membership fees (minimum donation of £10 per month) to help support people affected by conflict and natural disasters around the world. The community votes on a shortlist of character-led titles, the winner of which is sent out to members. Six weeks later, everyone gets together on video calls and Facebook groups to share their thoughts. Titles encourage readers to see the world through different eyes; past picks include The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and The Girl with Seven Names, Hyeonseo Lee's account of her escape from North Korea.

Silent Book Club

Founded in 2012 as a book club for introverts, Silent Book Club isn't the kind of get-together that forces you to stand up and make awkward conversation over a glass of wine. Small talk? No thanks. Instead, its 260-plus groups - or "chapters" - gather across more than 30 countries simply to read silently in the company of others. Chitchat only happens if you want it to. Check online to find virtual meet-ups hosted from the US, Canada, South Korea, Germany and beyond.

Oprah’s Book Club

It would be remiss of us not to mention the mother of celebrity book clubs: Oprah Winfrey. What was born as a segment on her talk show in 1996 started a new chapter as the social-media-savvy Oprah's Book Club 2.0 in 2012. Expect videos of Winfrey sharing the stack that helped her through hard times, join more than 50,000 members on the club's Goodreads discussion boards or sign up to the newsletter for reviews and author interviews. Like this? Check out Reese's Book Club, which celebrates female storytelling.

Salon London

Salon London is a club that really delivers on big ideas. Its evenings with experts, authors and academics toe the line between entertainment and enlightenment. With real-life meetings on hold, its book club has stepped up a gear online, with regular, ticketed live-streamed Q&As with authors such as Terri White and green-travel pro, Juliet Kinsman.

The Hyphen Book Club

Though it was only launched in March 2020 by writer and podcaster Emma Gannon, The Hyphen's cheery Instagram feed has already amassed 10,000 followers. Here you'll find title recommendations, discussion prompts, live recordings with authors and the odd giveaway. Past picks include Candice Brathwaite's I am Not Your Baby Mother, On Being 40(ish) edited by Lindsey Mead and Gannon's debut novel, Olive, which hit shelves earlier this year.

Rebel Book Club

"Read more. Learn together. Take action." So says Rebel Book Club, a "community of readers, thinkers and doers". This group is suited to curious minds and bookworms battling the curse of tsundoku - that being the Japanese word describing the pile of unread books on your bedside table/ shelf/ Kindle. Membership starts from £10 per month. For that, you'll enjoy a new title and twice-monthly Zoom calls featuring discussions, guests and games.

Goodreads Choice Awards Book Club

Any book-lover worth their weight in paperbacks has spent a few hours scrolling through Goodreads reviews and stacking their virtual shelves of have-reads. The platform hosts thousands of virtual groups, great for finding your tribe - whether it's one united by a love of adventure travel or Harry Potter roleplay. The Goodreads Choice Awards Book Club is hot on recommendations: the group works its way through top-rated titles from the site's readers' choice awards.

New York Public Library & WNYC’s Virtual Book Club

Strengthening its community of readers in the age of isolation, the New York Public Library teamed up with US radio station WNYC in April to start its Virtual Book Club, which kicked off with James McBride's novel Deacon King Kong. Chosen books can be read for free through NYPL's e-reader app and subsequent discussions with authors are presented as part of Get Lit, the monthly book club of WNYC's arts-and-culture show, All of It. Past shows - featuring authors such as Emma Straub and Colson Whitehead - are available for catch-up.

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