How to find a book club online or in person
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How to find a book club online or in person

For some people, reading is a solitary pursuit. For others, it’s a social extravaganza.

On the social network Reddit, for instance, tens of thousands of bookworms flock to the forum r/BookClub to discuss their latest reads. Every month, forum members vote on a slate of books, and moderators create a calendar for online discussions. On Monday, for instance, readers can log on to discuss the graphic novel “Watchmen.” On Tuesday, they’ll tackle three chapters of “The Count of Monte Cristo.

Social isolation during the pandemic pushed many of us to look for community online, a pattern that repeats in accounts from children, the elderly and everyone in between. Book clubs — unlike live shows or pickleball — lend themselves especially well to digital gatherings, participants say. And with bookish communities popping everywhere from TikTok to Craigslist, joining one from your home is easier than ever.

After a 75-year-old Help Desk reader wrote in asking for help finding a book club that fits his literary interests, I went on the hunt. Here are the best tech-enabled destinations I found to hang out with other book lovers. Want help finding an online or in-person community of your own? Shoot me an email at

The apps Fable and Bookclubs are dedicated to matching readers with book clubs.

After downloading Fable, use the main tab to browse online clubs by category, like “free books,” “science fiction and fantasy” or “romantic and spicy.” Use the “sort” and “genres” buttons at the top to refine your results. If you’re already reading something, scroll to the bottom and choose “browse by book” to check if any clubs have it on the docket.

Once you choose a club, tap the “join” button. The group’s page will show what it’s currently reading. (Don’t forget about library apps such as Libby and Hoopla, which offer free e-books and audiobooks for rent.) Below that, you’ll see two tabs, “discussion” and “schedule.” Under “discussion,” you can introduce yourself in the club lobby, participate in (spoiler-free) chapter discussions or rate and review the latest group read.

On the Bookclubs app, hit the “join a book club” button, then “browse book clubs.” If you want an in-person group, search by your location. Otherwise, skim those helpful filter buttons. For example, I tapped on “genre-focused,” then “science fiction” to see groups that share my interest in robots and aliens.

Once you find a group you’re into, tap the “join” button. Then select “explore” to see what the club is currently reading, its upcoming meetings and latest messages. You can post your own message with observations or analysis about a book, as well as direct message other group members.

Keep in mind you can start your own club on either app if you’ve got a group of reading buddies or an idea that inspires you.

Meetup is an app for organizing get-togethers, both in person and online. Depending on the size of your city, you can find everything from professional networking to live-action role-playing.

To find a book club, create an account and use the top search bar to punch in “book club.” Then use the filter button (three horizontal lines at the top left) to narrow your search by when and where the club meets. If you’re looking for a group that gathers online, for instance, scroll down to “venue type” and select “online.”

Any app that lists community gatherings is likely to have book clubs among its offerings.

There are many book clubs on Reddit — some are even location-based and meet in person. If you’re not sure where to begin, check out the flagship r/bookclub. Each month’s lineup of books is listed in the right-hand sidebar. Choose one or two, then check out this calendar, which shows which books the community will discuss on which days.

On the days your book is scheduled, go to the subreddit’s homepage, click on the “posts” tab at the top, then select “new” to see the latest posts. The discussion thread will stay up, so you can always go back and catch up if you miss it in real time.

Not sure how to “discuss” a book or what to say first? No worries, said Charlie, a moderator on the forum who goes by the handle fixtheblue and asked to withhold her last name for safety. No comment is too simple or too deep, she said, and you’re always free to share what you thought about while you read, which character was your favorite or what the story reminded you of.

“Don’t be afraid to speak up if you come visit us, because no one’s going to shame you or judge you,” Charlie said. “We don’t care who you are or where you come from. We just want to talk about books.”

The community also has a Discord chatroom, if you prefer instant messaging.

Social media has long been a destination for book communities, but “BookTok” — where TikTok creators and their audiences laugh, cry and debate about books — has grabbed attention for its enthusiasm.

Like the rest of TikTok, BookTok often trades in memes and challenges. You might not want to film yourself sobbing over Colleen Hoover’s novel “It Ends With Us” or commit to finishing Samuel Richardson’s 1,500-page “Clarissa.” But thanks to the diversity of BookTok creators and their literary interests, you’re almost guaranteed to find creators and comment sections that suck you in.

If you’re new to the app, start with the search bar in the top right corner of the For You Page (where you watch videos). Search for a particular book, or punch in “booktok,” plus a genre or audience. For instance, a search for “queer booktok” brought me to the creator @zoes_reads and her roundups of favorite books with queer authors and characters.

Follow a creator and you’ll start seeing more of their videos in your For You Page, as well as content from similar accounts.

Goodreads, an app owned by Amazon, is one of the most popular spots for readers to leave book reviews. You can also reply to other people’s reviews and log your past, current and future reads. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post. Interim chief executive Patty Stonesifer sits on Amazon’s board.)

To find a book club on Goodreads, download the app from the Apple or Google app store. Once you’re set up, tap the “more” icon in the bottom menu. Choose “groups,” then open the search bar at the top right. You can search by your desired genre or audience, or just start with the term “book club.”

Join a group by tapping “join” in the top right corner, and find book discussion threads under the “discussions” section.

Goodreads makes it easy to keep track of your reading itinerary but outdated software and insufficient attention from Amazon can make the app buggy and difficult to use.

Furthermore, Goodreads has earned a reputation for hostility — users “review bomb” works they don’t like with one-star ratings, and it’s tough to discern when that treatment is deserved. Before you dive in, know you’ll encounter some strong opinions and concerted reviewing.

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