Consider yourself booked.

Nowadays, it feels like I’ve exhausted every possible movie and TV show available on Netflix. And, unfortunately, I’m left with the same recurring existential question: should I really rewatch The Office again?

Well, if you’re on the same boat, I’m here to introduce you to the next leisure activity to add to your monthly itinerary.

For obvious reasons, reading has become even more popular with many of us self-isolating. Yes, I’m looking at you, BookTok. Well, if you’re looking to up your reading game, I’ve got just the thing.

Since we can’t participate in our fave traditions in person right now, I’m going to take you through a complete guide to planning (and executing) your very own virtual book club – from how to plan it to books to read.

So, let’s get into it!

Step one: join Goodreads

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Goodreads is the BEST free application to keep track of your reading progress, add books to your ‘want to read’ list, and track books you’ve already read!

Plus, it allows you to connect with a community of readers, share your opinions on books, and can possibly help you find your next fave novel!

Step two: find some reading buddies

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If you have friends who share similar interests, or are interested in expanding their book range, now’s their time to shine. Create a group chat or gather your pals together on a Zoom call to chat about your book interests, and schedule your monthly meetings!

If you don’t know anybody who would be interested, consider reaching out to classmates, or joining existing book clubs. There are a ton of pre-existing book clubs that you can join virtually – including one hosted by beloved actress, Reese Witherspoon! Plus, newcomers are always welcome, so there’s nothing holding you back from getting your books READ!

Step three: schedule a timeline that works for you

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Not everyone reads at the same pace. So, set a reasonable deadline to hold a biweekly or monthly meeting depending on each member’s schedules. If possible, try to schedule weekly check-ins to see everyone’s progress and gauge whether everyone will finish in time.

Remember, it’s okay if you need extra time to finish a book. It’s not a race to finish, so if you need extra time – take it!

Step four: choose books that spark conversations

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There’s nothing like sharing an insightful discussion on a book you loved (or hated). So, try to opt for reads that will get the conversation flowing.

First, draft a few questions to ask about the novel. After that, you can discuss (or argue) the plot, characters, and overall thoughts.

Some common questions to ask are:

  1. What was your favourite part of the book? What was your least favourite part?
  2. Which characters were your favourite? Why?
  3. Would you re-read this book? What is your overall rating?

Use these questions as a starting point and tailor them to whatever book you’re reading. Plus, if you’re reading a popular novel, chances are you can find some insightful questions online to use!

Step five: get reading!

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Now that you’ve got the steps to perfect your virtual book club, there’s only one thing left to do – get reading!

So, to give you some inspiration, I’ve compiled a list of books that will surely get the conversations – and emotions – flowing.

Disclaimer: some of these may or may not have been inspired by BookTok.
  1. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne – Romance, humour – what’s not to like? Follow protagonists, Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman, as they go from absolutely hating each other to maybe not so much.
  2. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – family, trust, deception and the repercussions of one’s actions. This mystery novel focuses on the theme of self-acceptance, making it the perfect book club read to spark discussion.
  3. Again, But Better by Christine Riccio – Everyone is on their own journey to discovery – including Shane, a college student longing for change. So, naturally, she pursues a semester abroad to find the change she’s looking for. This story proves that through fate, courage and determination, anything can be accomplished.
  4. Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid – This book is oh-so-important today, with relevant social commentary that everyone should read. This book tackles topics such as racism and the reality of growing older as one of the main protagonists are racially profiled.
  5. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour – After leaving her life behind and moving across states, Marin’s old life comes crashing back and she’s forced to face all she left behind. A must-read for every college student longing for a fresh start.
  6. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – Deemed a ‘shocking psychological thriller’, this book is not for the faint of heart. Following Alicia Berenson, whose picturesque life isn’t all so perfect. After committing a heinous crime against her husband, she never speaks again. Follow psychotherapist, Theo Faber’s determination to get the truth about what happened.
  7. Normal People by Sally Rooney – An unlikely combo. Two seemingly different people spark a meaningful connection. The duo goes to great lengths to keep it private, but keep being undeniably drawn to each other. When their worlds start drifting apart, it comes down to one question. How far will they go to save each other?

And there you have it, folks. The ultimate guide and ultimate reading list to host your very own book club this summer. So, grab yourself a cup of tea, get cozy, and get reading!

If you’re looking for some other fulfilling reads, check out books you can read – no matter your major!

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