Beyond the Book Club: Creating a Reading Community

Ideas for finding and creating spaces for book worms like you

There are people like you, people who like to read, but have no one to talk to about books. There are book nerds everywhere, and since reading is such a solitary activity, it can feel isolating and downright anti-social. Maybe you (mostly) like it that way.

If you want to make bookish friends or connect more with the book nerds in your life, here are three ways to form a reading community by thinking outside the book. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself).

1. Find bookish events in your area

Bookstores, public libraries, and colleges are all places that respect and love readers. Look at your local library’s website and calendar, or contact someone directly to find out what book-related activities are going on. Now do the same with bookstores and colleges nearby. This is a great way to meet other readers or just be around people who love books as much as you.

2. Host a book-to-movie club

Book clubs can be fun, or they can be tedious, especially when no one finished the book except you. Instead of (or in addition to) a book club, host a movie night with films that were adapted from books. Invite everyone to read the book first and then watch a movie together. Snacks, wine, and limited chatting time may make it feel less overwhelming for the introverted book nerds in your life.

A group of my coworkers who all read Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple recently got together to watch the movie (starring Cate Blanchett). To be honest, it was more fun than most book clubs I attended.

3. Invite friends to connect on Goodreads

If you don’t know about Goodreads, it is social media for book nerds. People I know seem to either love it or hate it. I personally love it. I like to keep track of the books I’ve read (and leave reviews), create reading goals, and see what books my friends are reading. You can create groups, join discussion forums, and enter contests for free books.

Goodreads is where I go when I see a book title I want to eventually read. I can add the title to my shelf so that I remember it later. And unlike other social media sites, if I don’t sign in for a while and when I log in, I don’t feel like I’ve missed too much.

If all else fails, go back to your book and your favorite reading spot and tune out the rest of the world until you finish.

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