Book Clubs – they come and go and now they’re on Zoom!

A couple days ago, I read an excellent post by Donna at Retirement Reflections about the benefits of being in a book club. Donna knows her stuff. She is a book club pro!

Book clubs have changed a lot over the years. And the pandemic has moved a lot of book groups to Zoom and other virtual formats. That hasn’t stopped Donna and her friends from having fun by jazzing things up with drop-off treats (that means snacks and wine) to enjoy together during their Zoom. Way to go, Donna – you guys do things right!

Years ago, I was in three clubs, but life got busy and stressful. My main in-person book club fell apart and my Facebook group has become inactive because it needs a logistical overhaul. Now I’m only in the mystery book club at my library job. It’s a great group and the Zoom format has attracted new people. One friend attends during her lunch hour and that could never have been possible for an in-person meeting. I think people are a lot more comfortable with virtual book clubs now that we’ve ironed out the kinks.

My first book club started in 2001. We were a bunch of new moms and we met every month at each other’s houses for nineteen years, as soon as we got our babies to bed. I often got home well after midnight! Ack – I can’t believe I had that much energy back then!

Last night I looked at the list of books we read. Our first book was The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan. You can view the complete list here.

Here are six books I missed that I would like to read now.

A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The World to Come by Dara Horn

Are you in a book club? Do you meet in-person or virtually? Leave a comment!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

28 thoughts on “Book Clubs – they come and go and now they’re on Zoom!

  1. I’m not in a book club. But I do really love Revolutionary Road, it’s absolutely brilliant – I’m also quite fond of the film version with Dicaprio and Winslet.

  2. Barbara, wow! How wonderful your 2001 book club ran for so long and all through the tricky and time-consuming days of parents of young …you are right, how did we have so much energy then?! I’ve never been a member of a book club, just not found the right fit and even after two years where Zoom has dominated I’ve never been a convert and no need to be. I haven’t read any of these books but they look good. The World to Come has made it to the top of my TBR list!

  3. Since moving to this community, I am in a book club for the first time. So far this year we have read Year of Wonders Cloud Cuckoo Land, and next month, The Christie Affair. It will be interesting to see what our members come up with next.

  4. The Thirteenth Tale is amazing. One of the best. You will love it. Although I read a lot I don’t often join book clubs, I like to read what I want and on my own time. Revolutionary Road is on my TBR pile.

    1. Hi Darlene – yes, I’ve heard a lot of good things about The Thirteenth Tale. I just spotted Revolutionary Road in the library stacks yesterday – without seeking it out! Thanks for reading 🙂

  5. Hi Barbara, I belong to two virtual bookclubs but we don’t necessarily meet up often. I attend the occasional book discussion for one of them, but the other not. Few people read the same books I like so I haven’t found a ‘real life’ book club to suit my needs.

  6. The last two bookclubs I was in have both gone bust. I don’t like using Zoom, it makes me queasy so a bookclub has to be in person– or nothing for me. Hence I’m not in any bookclubs now.

    1. Ah, well. The clubs don’t always work out and I get the Zoom comment. I do a Zoom for work and I’m okay with it, but social Zooms – not a big fan. Thanks for reading and commenting, Ally!

  7. I’ve read Amy Tan’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter without being in a book club. I’m in several writers’ clubs and have expanded reading to include mystery books. One will appear on my blog Wednesday.

  8. When I first moved to the city I didn’t know anyone so I joined a book club. But I always found it quite intimidating really and always like I didn’t belong despite my love of books. I also can’t bare zoom (or teams or any equivalent) – Covid definitely killed that for me! I enjoyed this post though! Thank you x

    1. You definitely have to find the right group. I’d be intimidated by a group of people I didn’t know. That’s what was good about my in-person club. I’ve heard that about other in-person clubs. Then it’s work and it defeats the purpose. Doesn’t keep us book lovers from reading, though! Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂

  9. The most successful book club was about 50 years ago – everyone participated fully. Thereafter I seemed to be the only person who read the selected work completely. I’m not a Zoomer. A good post, Barbara

    1. Hi Derrick, yes that can be a problem. Sometimes the clubs start out strong and people are committed to the book. Then what can happen is people haven’t finished it, but they attend anyway and then there’s the awkwardness of not knowing how much to discuss. Also frustration if you’ve read the whole book. Thanks for the visit!

    1. Hi Davida, I don’t like the pressure to finish a book (for fun). I do enough of that at my job. So I get what you’re saying. Thanks for the vist and for commenting 🙂

  10. Hi Barbara, interesting post! Years ago, we had a book club at work, which started out with about 30 people or so, then dwindled down to about 6 or 7 after the first years. Those of who stuck with it were very committed, but after a while, no one had time for it anymore, and I found myself not that willing to take time to read books that weren’t necessarily aligned with what I’d want to read on my own.

    Now, I’m in an online book club that I’ve been with for over 10 years, and love it. We do one book per month (scheduled in advance for the entire year), and since the discussions are all via our forum, the dates are pretty loose and it’s never too late to jump back in with comments. It works really well for me — less pressure to read “obligation” books by a particular date. Plus, the people are terrific and we’ve all become close (virtual) friends!

    1. Hi Lisa – that sounds like a great set-up. The in-person clubs are hard because of scheduling and although you’d think I’d have been crazy busy when our children were little, there was a strong need to get out of the house one night a month. Later we all got very busy with jobs and other responsibilities and that made it much more difficult. In-person or virtual, you can make great book club friends!

  11. I belong to a neighborhood book club. The upside is it gives me a chance to get to know my neighbors better, and to read books I wouldn’t otherwise try. The downside is that our discussions about the books tend to be rather superficial and brief, before we move on to more personal topics. Still, it’s a good experience over all!

    1. Hi Ann, I’ve had the same experience. We tend to go off on tangents and that’s okay, because the social element is important. But sometimes when I really want to talk about a book, I’m disappointed. My work book club stays on topic and we cover a lot of ground that way. And there’s still time for making social connections. I think because we don’t know each other as friends, we take it more seriously. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  12. Hi, Barb – Thanks so much for the kind mention. My Classics BookClub members all live in different parts of Australia (I am rhe lone Canadianin that group). One of those members joins in via her lunch hour. Zoom positively has created new book club options that were more difficult (or impossible) previously. 😀

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