Maybe you’re missing that monthly meetup with your best pals where you talk about Liane Moriarty’s latest page-turner while sipping sangria and munching on Manchego. Maybe you’re struggling to keep up with the “read a book every month” goal you set back in January. Either way, you’re pining for a community of likeminded people with whom you can talk about plots and character developments and debate your dream cast for an eventual film adaptation—all without leaving the comfort of your home. Luckily, there are lots of virtual options where book clubs are concerned. Here are 11 of our favorites.
1. The Girlfriend Book Club
The Girlfriend is AARP's newsletter and website for women 40 and older. It also offers a private Facebook-only book club with more than 6,000 members. Each month, the club focuses on a different book that was chosen through a Facebook poll, and authors participate in a live Facebook chat on the third Tuesday of each month (there are also frequent giveaways). The club has recently read The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd In Five Years by Rebecca Serle and Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner.
2. NYPL + WNYC Virtual Book Club
The New York Public Library and WNYC teamed up to host a virtual book club during the COVID pandemic, and the online community is still going strong. This month’s title is The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, the recipient of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Folks can borrow the book for free through the library’s e-reader app, SimplyE, and then tune in at the end of each month for a live stream conversation and Q&A with host Allison Stewart and author Whitehead. Oh, and if you’ve missed past events, you can also stream them here.
3. Now Read This
Now Read This is a partnership between The New York Times and PBS NewsHour. Every month readers can discuss a work of fiction or nonfiction that helps us make sense of today’s world. This month’s timely pick is poet Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric, a collection of essays, images and poetry that consider how individual and collective expressions of racism add up and play out in our contemporary society.
4. Oprah’s Book Club
Oprah’s first book club launched in 1996, and her picks have shot to the top of bestseller lists ever since. On her book club’s website, you’ll find videos of Oprah introducing the month’s book (the latest is James McBride’s Deacon King Kong) and sitting down with the author for in-depth interviews. You can also join the conversation on Goodreads, where Oprah’s Book Club has more than 48,000 members.
5. Our Shared Shelf
Originally founded by actress Emma Watson, Our Shared Shelf is a community of more than 230,000 feminist bookworms on Goodreads. Though Watson is no longer involved, the group is as strong as ever, and continues to focus on titles that explore feminism around the world. This month’s title is Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China by Leta Hong Fincher, while next month’s is So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo.
6. L.A. Times Book Club
Every month, this newspaper-run book club shares fiction and nonfiction selections, publishes stories exploring the topics that focus on stories and storytellers relevant to Southern California and the West. Then, they host a community event with the authors. Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui is the club’s current selection, and past books include Compton Cowboys by Walter Thompson-Hernández and The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel.
7. Reese’s Book Club
Reese Witherspoon is an actress, mother and businesswoman, but she’s also a dedicated bibliophile. From executive producing Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl film adaptation to bringing us the brilliantly bold Madeline Martha Mackenzie from Liane Moriarty’s novel Big Little Lies, it’s clear Witherspoon knows a good book when she sees one. The avid reader loves a good page-turner so much that she started an online book club—#RWBookClub—that allows fans to virtually follow along with her current must-reads. As Reese puts it, “Elevating women’s stories is at the core of Reese’s Book Club. I love how this community champions the narrative for women and we are just getting started. Unity and understanding through the lens of storytelling is how we will continue these meaningful conversations.”
8. Poppy Loves Book Club
According to its mission statement, “Poppy Loves Book Club is a celebration of women that is getting bigger and better every day…It’s your gang. It’s your sisterhood. And it’s heart-pingingly wonderful.” Poppy Loves Book Club sees women all over the world reading the same book at the same time and then coming together online with the author to discuss it. Members come from all corners of the world, including New Zealand, South Africa, Indonesia, Iraq, Australia, the U.S., Bali, Malta and more. With the option to join an existing book club or start your own, the point is that it doesn’t matter where you are or who you’re with—we can all find common ground through reading.
9. Girls’ Night In Book Club
OK, so this one is a bit different, in that it’s a yearly membership. Founded in 2017, Girls’ Night In has grown from a weekly email newsletter to a media brand and community that gathers readers both online and IRL. The community focuses on topics like mental health, creating friendships, unwinding and the occasional loungewear recommendation. When you become a member of Girls’ Night In’s Lounge ($130/year or $12/month), you unlock access its book club gatherings, Slack discussions, exclusive author interviews and more. This month’s book club pick, for the record, is Brit Bennett’s excellent sophomore novel, The Vanishing Half.
10. Perks of Being a Book Addict
Another Goodreads book club, Perks of Being a Book Addict offers up two monthly reads every month, one of which is based on a theme as voted on by its almost 25,000 members. The community also includes reading challenges, promo threads for authors, giveaways and more. Interestingly, while most clubs on this list focus on brand-new titles, Perks of Being a Book Addict encourages its members to read older books as well. The current selections are George Orwell’s Animal Farm and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas.
11. Silent Book Club
Calling all introverts: Just because you’d rather not spend the majority of book club talking doesn’t mean you don’t yearn for a community of likeminded readers. Enter Silent Book Clubs, which started in 2012 with a couple of friends reading in companionable silence at a bar in San Francisco. Now, there are more than 240 active chapters around the world in cities of all sizes, and new chapters are being launched by volunteers every week. When you go to an in-person meetup, you’re encouraged to bring a book, order a drink and settle in for an hour or two of quiet reading with fellow book lovers. In the wake of the pandemic, events have moved online, but the goal remains the same: To be a part of a community without having to participate or chitchat about every little detail.