With technology constantly advancing and on the rise, reading and writing has began to turn towards technology, with Kindles and podcasts being more frequently used. In particular, there has been an evolution of online book clubs, with groups of people teaming up to cooperatively read and share their thoughts on specific books. 

Book clubs have existed for many years, with groups of friends meeting up once a month to discuss novels of mutual interest to them. One of these types of book clubs was lightheartedly represented in the movie Book Club, starring Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen. These four women read the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy for their monthly meetings, with the film hilariously showing how the series affects each of their lives.

But these book clubs have taken second-place to online book clubs, a new way for people to explore their love of literature. These online clubs allow people on a global scale to come together and discuss their opinions on the chosen books. Although there are no physical meet-ups involved in an online club (unless you organise one of your own), it enables people to keep up-to-date with their reading and participate in lively discussions surrounding literature.

Book clubs have become global organisations since their evolution online, with companies setting up book clubs about specific themes, such as politics, science or gender, to attract a dedicated fanbase. These clubs have become so popular that celebrities are also  creating their own book clubs for their fans to join. Emma Roberts and Oprah are two people who have created their own online reading forums.

However, one of the most successful, and arguably most well-known, celebrity book clubs is Our Shared Shelf. Run by actress, activist, model and literature enthusiast Emma Watson, it was created for people with a love of feminist literature. This club runs on a bi-monthly basis, with one book being chosen every two months for people to collectively read. The January/February book is The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write, a collection edited by Sabrina Mahfouz.

Our Shared Shelf functions via GoodReads, where the chosen books are published and moderators post questions and discussion topics to encourage lively debate across the course of the two months. This gives readers a chance to direct their reading and discuss any thoughts or queries they may have with a vast group of people.

Not only does Our Shared Shelf provide feminist literature lovers with a space to fuse their passions, but Watson also interviews writers whose books have been featured, including the likes of Reni-Eddo Lodge and Rupi Kaur. This gives those involved in the club a unique chance to hear Watson have an intimate discussion with the writer themselves, as well as adding a level of intimacy between the act of reading and reviewing online.

Our Shared Shelf is a great way to explore political issues that are increasingly relevant in today’s society and explore your love of literature. Race, gender and religious equality are a few of the key issues tackled by Watson’s book club, providing readers with a forum to discuss today’s unstable political climate.

Watson’s book club is only one of many exciting online book clubs to choose from, with a book club existing for (pretty much) every genre of book.

Although some people feel that online book clubs remove the sociability of ‘real-life’ clubs, they provide members with a focus for their reading through discussion forums and similarly allow those who may be too busy to attend meetings to still engage with literature in a group forum.

Book clubs are a fantastic way to maintain reading as a hobby in a cooperative and friendly setting. Whether you want to join an online book club or organise a smaller club yourself, there is no doubt that you will find a group of likeminded people to share your interests with.

Image Credit: Pixabay – JayMantri

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