Over the nearly-three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us participated in a slew of hobbies, from whipping Dalgona coffee and making bread from scratch, to religiously following at-home workouts and making Emily Mariko’s salmon rice bowl. Amongst the wave of trendy activities (and my newfound obsession with reality television) I somehow found the time to rebuild friendships previously pushed aside and rediscovered my love for reading. How, you ask? Through one thing Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon have in common: book club.
As a recent Texas-to-California transplant, a forced quarantine interrupted some of the best times of my independent adult life. Despite deep diving into all things Bravo, finding comfort in Vanderpump Rules and throwing myself into my work, there was still a crucial lack of companionship missing that, unfortunately, neither Stassi Schroeder nor my mother could fill.
I advocate endlessly for women to nurture their female friendships, yet it took a global plague for me to realize that I was a fraud. A phony. A fake! Somewhere between my socially-distanced outdoor walking obsession and the purchase of my first indoor plant, my college besties and I reconnected in March 2020.
One three-hour Zoom and a wealth of emotion, opinions and major life updates later, our book club was established in an attempt to keep our conversations more frequent. From there, we created a rough schedule of our next few meetings to discuss our first book and the latest set of pages.
Our book club meetings turned into a source of sisterhood.
For as long as I can remember, my books and I were inseparable growing up—but during college and the years following, reading for pleasure fell to the wayside as school, work, relationships and bottomless mimosas took priority. In fact, before April 2020, the last book I read for fun was Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series. Published in 2014, read in 2014. Yikes.
Our three-person book club consisted of a professional photographer, a publicist and a preservation specialist. We began with Stephen King’s The Outsider, a horror novel that left us intrigued yet exhausted as we powered through the endless curiosity of the creature wreaking havoc in Flint City.
Despite some of the rough reads we experienced together, our pseudo-Socratic seminars inspired me to be better. Their thoughtful questions led me to read critically, think deeply and reflect more frequently. Our book club meetings turned into a source of sisterhood, a place where we could discuss our frustrations with society, ourselves and our relationships, all the while celebrating our wins, too.
As our book club continued and pandemic lockdown restrictions eased up, my love for reading grew. In addition to scrutinizing our book club novel of the month, I began reading on my own for the first time in years.
Just like in my youth, at any given moment my nose could be found pressed up against my Kindle, reading everything from YA novels like The Selection by Kiera Cass to my current erotic fantasy novel, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas. Many late nights turned into mornings with the whites of my eyes streaked red with strain from nonstop reading.
Since the start of our Zoom book club, we’ve experienced heartaches, new relationships, engagements, weddings and deaths. All of which we worked through, cried, and celebrated together. Through the good and the bad, the members of my book club and I were able to reconnect as besties—and bookworms.