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While nothing is quite as satisfying as finishing a good book, it’s even better when you have someone with whom to discuss it. If you’ve found yourself with some extra time to read but can’t necessarily join an in-person book club, why not just host your own virtual one? Of course, StyleCaster is here to help you get started. We’ve rounded up ideas on how to host a virtual book club without a hitch—and even get all your friends involved. Now you can read a fresh new book knowing that when you finish, you’ll have plenty of people to talk about it with. No more searching Tumblr for theories about the twist at the end! (You know you’ve done it.)
Creating a book club online rather than IRL is still relatively simple—if not more so. While you might have to get a little bit more creative, the steps to cultivating an iconic virtual book club are ultimately the same as hosting one in-person. Plus, you have the added bonus of not having to provide snacks and wine. (See? You’re saving time and money already.) You might even end up having more fun hosting a virtual book club anyway, thanks to cute online invitations and dreamy Zoom backgrounds that make you look like your shelves are color-coordinated and full of gorgeous books. Not having to clean up and saving money by hosting a book club online? It’s a win/win situation—and you still get to talk about good books!
To help you become a master virtual book club host, we have 10 easy steps ready for you to try ASAP. Whether you’ve hosted a book club before and want to take things virtual or just want to gather other book-lovers to read and discuss that new novel coming out soon, you’re sure to find some useful tidbits below.
1. Reach Out On Social Media
To see which of your friends and acquaintances might want to join in on your virtual book club, put the call out on social media. You could post to your Instagram story, reach out with a Tweet or even use TikTok if that’s where you post the most these days. You can still text your BFFs individually to invite them, but this way you can also recruit people who you know love reading. After all, you want to make sure you hold each other accountable for actually finishing the books.
2. Send A Cute Invitation
Once you’ve got a preliminary list of who might be interested in joining, send out a cute (and free!) book-themed invitation on Evite. It can be through text, email or even social media—whatever contact information you have for your potential book club members. Include all the details (when, what, where) and get everyone excited.
3. Pick A Genre
If you already have an idea about what type of book you want your book club to read, make sure it’s clear from the beginning. Whether you’re looking for folks who love a good murder mystery, people who only want to read nonfiction or those who want heaps of romance, let everyone know what types of books you’ll likely read. This way, you can make sure everyone is on board and has the same interests. Of course, if you’re open to anything, tell all your potential book club members that, too!
4. Stake Out New Releases & Popular Books
Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming books by popular authors or new movies and TV shows that might be based on books. These are often crowd-pleasers, and you’ll have plenty to talk about. Plus, if you finish the book, then everyone can watch the adaptation over Netflix party or on Hulu together and see what changes were made to the story. Even if the book isn’t out yet, you can always keep an upcoming novel in your sights for the next month—like this new book from Hannah Orenstein, the author of Love At First Like.
5. Choose A Page-Turner
Once you’ve settled on a genre or new release, choose your book! Even if you’ve decided to delve into the classics, try to start with something that will get everyone hooked. Keeping things lighter in the beginning will make sure that everyone comes back for the next read—even if that one’s a bit more serious. Choose a novel or nonfiction book that sparks interest, discussion and keeps ’em reading.
6. Create A Themed Cocktail
As an added bonus, create a themed cocktail to whatever book you’re reading. You can even just take some simple cocktail recipes and give them new names based on the book. If you’re in need of some inspiration, there’s a book of cocktail recipes based on classic literature that’s sure to give you a few good ideas. At the very least, you’ll have some new cocktail recipes to try out!
7. Hunt For Discussion Questions (Or Write Your Own)
Unless your book club chooses a novel that isn’t very well-known, you’re likely to find some discussion questions online to help stir the conversation when you all (virtually) meet up. Even if you end up only using the first question, having discussion topics prepared can help make sure everyone stays on topic and spark thoughts from the group.
8. Host Club Meetings On Zoom—Complete With Backgrounds
Once everyone has read the book, host a Zoom meeting to discuss it. Just choose a time that works for everyone, and create a Zoom video chat. Of course, you’ll want to include a fun Zoom background with a library or bookish flare to make things especially fun. By clicking on Settings and then Virtual Background, you can upload any photo your heart desires—but we have a few below we recommend.
Who wouldn’t want to cuddle up in front of this gorgeous and colorful bookshelf? It’s so aesthetically pleasing, you might find yourself color coordinating your own shelves soon.
Of course, you can always choose to surround yourselves with books. This gorgeous Zoom background is the perfect literary display for any virtual book club.
A cozy home office filled with books is also an ideal Zoom background. Especially if you’re working from home, you can just pretend this is your actual office set-up. (A girl can dream.)
9. Reach Out To The Author (It Never Hurts To Ask!)
Find the publisher or author of your novel on social media and reach out. There’s a chance they might be able to pop into your Zoom call for a quick chat. If the author isn’t on tour or in the middle of writing their next book, you might just get lucky. You’ll never know unless you ask.
10. Get Recommendations For Your Next Read
If you’re the one who picked the first book your virtual book club read, have everyone send in recommendations for the next page-turner! Send out a survey asking all members for recommendations. Then, you can even have everyone vote on which one sounds best to them. We love a democratic book club.
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