While reading is a solitary activity at its core, it is always exciting to join fellow book enthusiasts in reading the same book and then talking about it—there’s a reason book clubs have existed for so long (the first official one was formed in 1926!). And though earlier book club meets used to be in person (some of them still do), most of them today are online, which means that people all over the world can particpate in them!
There are also several celebrities who have joined the book club bandwagon—from Reese Witherspoon to Kaia Gerber—and started virtual book clubs of their own. Most work in the same format, where they pick a book each month and share it with their online community. In the end, there are live sessions with the author to discuss the book.
Ahead, discover five online book clubs that will engage you, entertain you, and definitely inspire you to read more.
Oprah’s Book Club by Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey’s book club, which started in 1996 in an offline format (before virtual book clubs became the norm), has lived on to this day and has more than 7,00,000 followers on Instagram, and counting. The book club’s current read is the newly-released The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese, and traces three generations of an Indian Malayali Christian family that is afflicted by one peculiar problem—in every generation at least one person dies by drowning.
Sonali’s Book Club by Sonali Bendre
One of the few Indian actors who have a book club, Sonali Bendre started her book club to revive her passion for reading, which was put on the back burner due to motherhood and her career. Every month, Bendre chooses a book for the members of the club to read, which is followed by a discussion on the book that is held via either a Facebook/Instagram Live or a textual discussion online. Currently, the book of the month is The Carpet Weaver by Nemat Sadat, which explores homosexuality, identity, religious intolerance and political conflicts against the backdrop of Afghanistan.
Belletrist by Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss
Actor Emma Roberts, with her best friend Karah Priess, started Belletrist in 2017. Their first book was one by Joan Didion. The community has a following of 2,71,000 on Instagram, where Roberts goes live with the author at the end of the month, and discusses the book. While the read for June hasn’t been released yet, May’s book was I Could Live Here Forever by Hanna Halperin, which is about a young woman’s journey of obsessive love, co-dependency, and intimacy.
Reese’s Book Club by Reese Witherspoon
Inarguably the most popular book club on this list—it has 2.6 million followers on Instagram—Reese’s Book Club is actor Reese Witherspoon’s eponymous book club where she every month chooses a book for the members, who share their progress and thoughts under the hashtag #ReadWithReese. For May, the spotlight was on the book Did You Hear About Kitty Karr, which is set during the glitzy and glamorous era of old Hollywood.
Started in early 2020 by model and actress Kaia Gerber, this is one of the more casual book clubs if you don’t want to follow a rigid timeline. The book club was on a break, and Gerber restarted it this year, with four books being read so far. Gerber gives a date for the members to read the book, post which she goes live with the book’s author to discuss and dissect the book. Her recent recommendation is Acts of Service by Lillian Fishman, an exhilarating debut novel about sex, power, and desire.