The Rise in Book Clubs

Book clubs, both online and in person, have surged in the past few years


Photo courtesy T. Pruett

The Viking Book Club meets to discuss its selected book, “The Butterfly’s Daughter.”

Caroline Colbath, Entertainment Editor

Through the years, book clubs have been a staple of the reading community.  The typical format of these clubs included group of people would gather around and discuss a certain book, talking about how it affected them and their opinions. After the COVID-19 pandemic, book clubs have shifted from face-to-face interactions to going online.

As many students picked up books during the pandemic, they found a renewed love for reading outside school.

Adamaris Ortiz (12) is an avid reader, and a member of the newly-formed Viking Book Club.

“When we were reading ‘Firekeeper’s Daughter,’ a novel by Angeline Boulley, I enjoyed learning about the Ojibwe tribe.  It’s a culture I was not aware of and very interested in learning about.  Native American culture is not something we really learn about in school, so being exposed to it through Book Club was great,” Ortiz said.

Social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram provide readers with a way to share their opinions and recommendations on books by creating online book clubs. These platforms, commonly called “BookTok” and “Bookstagram,” have revolutionized book clubs in the 21st century.

Cameron Lee (10) thinks that book clubs provide a healthy way for people to share a common interest with others and form new bonds.

“I’ve seen many people like TikTok for example who have gotten so much traction that their books get sold out literally overnight,” Lee said. “Being able to share your work with millions of people across earth like that was not possible until only like the past decade.”

Book clubs not only benefit the readers but can also help support authors. Many celebrities such as Oprah, Reese Witherspoon and Jenna Bush help promote new authors by publishing them in their worldwide book clubs. Many see it as a badge of pride to see their book printed with a label that says they are a part of the celebrity’s book club.

These new book clubs have helped support new authors by promoting their books and even helping them find publishing and movie deals. Reese Witherspoon and her company Hello Sunshine have helped many authors transfer their stories from page to screen, such as “Where the Crawdads Sing” and “Little Fires Everywhere.”

While many readers can find new books by scrolling through their phones, many enjoy face to face discussions with in person book clubs. Book clubs can also help readers make new friends and be more active in their community.

English teacher Connie McCarley is a member of the SHS Book Club and thinks that book clubs in general help readers open their minds to new ideas and viewpoints through discussion.

“Book clubs can help individuals by having them read books they might not choose for themselves, thereby broadening their experiences and opening their minds to new ideas,” McCarley said. “This is how people grow intellectually and this should not stop at graduation. There is so much to explore and enjoy!”