Book clubs have always been such a wonderful part of being a reader for me. They’ve enhanced my reading life in so many ways — giving me community as a new mom, having spirited and vulnerable discussions about books and life and just making a hobby that is typically pretty solitary to be social. (Sidenote: I really miss meeting with my book club in person right now…can’t wait til it is safe again)
I have mostly always started my own book clubs but there have been times that I just didn’t want to have the responsibility of running one so I wanted to find book clubs near me that were already established and slip right in rather than having to organize.
So maybe that’s you — you want to know how to find a book club near you vs creating one out of thin air. Fortunately I’ve gotten good at finding them too for myself and for readers who have always said “I WANT TO BE IN A BOOK CLUB BUT I DON’T KNOW HOW TO FIND A BOOK CLUB IN MY AREA.”
It might take some digging but I have hope that you will be able to find one. If you truly can’t, you might consider starting one! But let’s be optimistic that you will find a book club in your area that you won’t have to start.
Even when you do find one, for me, it’s important that they are a good fit. It’s okay if you try out a couple or are extra selective when trying to find them. You want this to be something to look forward to and feel comfortable with so you can have good discussions.
Some things I like to think about:
- what your expectations are in terms of book talk — I’ve been in book clubs where we have book talk almost the whole time and others where you might as well call us a wine club. I know that, for me personally, when I’m looking for a book club I don’t want anything that’s going to be TOO much of a serious book club that talks about the literary themes or deconstructs the text. That wouldn’t be a good fit for me — I like a more laid back book club that talks about how we felt about the book especially and then lets the conversation flow from there. So think about what would be your perfect book club meeting.
- what type of books are you hoping to read — I personally love reading a variety of stuff so I don’t need a specific genre or type of book to be what is typically read but I want books that will lend way to really good discussions. I don’t mind reading some selections outside of my comfort zone or usual genre. But maybe you want a book club that does read or stay away from certain types of books. If you need help check out my ultimate list of great book club books to read!
- are you looking for certain types of people? – –maybe you want to be sure the book club is diverse, maybe you want to meet with fellow moms or fellow professionals, maybe you want people your same age or maybe you’d really love an inter-generational book club.
These are just some of the things that I like to take into consideration when I’m wanting to find a book club to join and how, based on what I’m looking for, that I decide where to start digging first for places to find a local book clubs near me.
Then I start thinking about how far it is, how often we meet, what days/nights — all the more logistical stuff — but my first priority is finding a good fit in those ways. I would drive 45 minutes to a GREAT book club I have a ton of fun at once a month, easily.
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How To Find A Book Club To Join Near You
For the purpose of this post I’m going to mostly explore ways of how to find a local book club to join vs virtual ones but soon I will write a post all about virtual book clubs to join.
I’d love if you shared where you found YOUR book club if you are in one — especially if you have any interesting or unusual stories about finding a book club to join haha
Ask Your Friends
Seriously — ask on your Facebook/Instagram or work friends and you’d be surprised the amount of people who are in book clubs who’d be willing to let you join. It is probably the easiest one of this list.
I’ve done this and randomly joined a book club with a girl who I barely even talked to in high school but we were Facebook friends. I didn’t know anyone else and I barely knew her but it was nice to have a friendly face and get to know new people without having to vet myself.
This is actually how, with the first book club I started, I got one or two people is acquaintances looking for a book group to join and I saw their post and said, “come join!”
It’s nice too if you aren’t in LOVE with the idea of meeting strangers or new people. Plus it could be a good way to catch up with a friend or acquaintance maybe you don’t often see.
Local Facebook Groups
This is how I ended up STARTING my current book club in my new town. As I was getting ready to move, finding a new book club was on my mind, so I got on the local mom group for my town on Facebook and asked if anyone had a book club I could join.
Nobody had one but I had almost 40 women say “no but I would join one!” and that’s how I started my book club before I even moved there.
BUT perhaps there is already a me in your local mom/neighborhood/town Facebook group that has already started a book club that you could join in. I’ve had several people ask again in that main group and I can direct them to join our offshoot book club group.
And if you don’t find any in the groups you are currently IN, try just searching on Facebook “book club” + your county/town/area. I was honestly shocked how many things came up when I did.
Now some might be a closed group but there’s no harm in messaging the moderator of it and asking.
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Check with your library
Both library systems I’ve been in, at least in the Philadelphia region, have had a plethora of book clubs to pick from. They typically seem to meet in the library though one did meet at a brewery which I thought was pretty fun — a books and brews book club.
I’ve seen book clubs for millennials, book clubs for specific genre lovers, general book clubs in local libraries near me.
They often have information on their websites but I highly recommend calling them or ask the desk to see what they have.
Perhaps even tell them what you are looking for — they might have been getting similar requests for a specific type of book club or time for a book club and would facilitate a new one. (I almost reached out to see if there was interest in a new-mom specific book club because I was so in need).
Check your local bookshop
Similarly to the library, your local bookshop will likely host a book club or two to join (and sometimes will even give members a special discount on the book each month).
My local bookshop has book clubs that are from everything from a Stephen King book club to a personal development book club. Again, you can always ask to see if they have any other interest for a specific book club.
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To be fair my Meetup book club was an offshoot of a 20s & 30’s women group I joined on there, I saw PLENTY of book clubs on there when I was looking and one of the girls in my book club was in a Meetup.com based group in a different city.
I’ve known a lot of people who have had success finding book clubs on Meetup. While, like I said, my book club was an offshoot of it…I found my 3 best friends thanks to that Meetup group. Mileage may vary on the quality of Meetup groups but I’ve always had good experiences.
Check it out here.
This book club, catering to women, has chapters worldwide — it’s worth checking to see if there is a chapter near you. Mostly it is bigger cities but I did find a bigger town near me on there. Always worth emailing them, also, to see if any other people have inquired around your area.
Check it out here.
Find a Silent Book Club chapter
This one has a different model — instead of your traditional group where you all read the same book by a certain date — this one is just a group that meets up to discuss books in general and socialize.
If the idea of having to read a book on a deadline is not your cup of tea, this might be a good one.
Check it out here.
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Check any community centers near you
This one wasn’t on my radar but a friend told me about how one of her local community centers offered book clubs and I think that’s a great place to check. They tend to be in the know.
I also think if you are part of a church or any sort of community to check in and see if there are any book club offshoots of that greater community.
What if you can’t find a book club?
If you’ve gone through all of that and you still can’t find a book club near you, don’t give up!
It’s totally possible that you live in a more rural area that might not offer any or that some of the above organized group ideas are only in more populous locations.
At this point you basically have two options — start your own (which we will cover soon) or find a virtual book club (there are SO many out there).
And remember — a book club of your own doesn’t HAVE to be that complicated. Ask a friend or two and do a low key book club that, maybe down the line others will join if it comes up in conversation, and it will evolve into the book club you’d hoped for.
Tell me — how did you find YOUR book club? Honestly, just tell me about your book club!
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