book club

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Lockdown: How to start an online book club

An online book club is a great way to stay in touch with your friends over lockdown.

book club

Image via Adobe Stock

In these lockdown days, it is easy to become despondent about what we are missing out on. But there are some events we can still enjoy, despite not being able to meet face-to-face. Book club is one of these.

To start an online book club, follow these easy hints.

Starting an online book club

Pick a name

Create a unique, fun name for your book club. Make it a name that suits you and your friends.

Some ideas are; Book Babes, A Novel Bunch, Boozy Bookworms, Book therapy, Book Sisters, Classic Book Chics, Raucaus Readers. You could make it punny like “Tequila Mocking Bird”.

Don’t make the book club too big

You do not want your group to be too big. You want to make less admin for yourself and also ensure that all the people have read the book by the time you meet up. A smaller group can be more personal and especially if it is online it enables everyone to share in the limited time frame. A nice manageable size would be 12 people as one person can pick a book each month.

Decide What Platform to use

You need to decide which platform is best for your specific needs. There are a few now.

Zoom seems to be the most popular because of all the added features. It allows you to share your screen as well as have an open chat line. Make sure you set your rules and ask participants to mute themselves on arrival. You can unmute them as it is their turn to speak.

Plan your book club outline

You must first decide what book to read. Do you decide on rotation or vote as a group? Everyone buys the book or downloads it on Scribd and has a month to read it. You decide how often to meet. If it is every week or once a month. Once a month is probably better as it gives everyone time to read the book.

You could also just read your books and do reviews for the group. Plan your questions. Are you going to play games or do any ice breakers?

Discussion groups

It would be a good idea to have a Whatsapp group to finalise finer details such as time, date and what you will be doing. You can discuss the book on these forums or maybe you want to wait till the actual meeting to chat. You might want to set up polls for your favourite character. Join Book Movement which is an app created specifically for book clubs. Get book recommendations and more and it is for free. You could also join the Book Club Favourites Facebook group.

The benefits of a book club

An online book club is perfect to stay in with your glass or bottle of wine while chatting to your friends about bookish problems. You can drink as much wine as you want because you don’t have to drive anywhere. It is a wonderful way to escape without leaving your home. Do not forget to name the book for the next month in your meeting. Reading is enjoyable but reading and sharing it with friends, even more so!

Also read: Drone footage of KZN on lockdown goes viral