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Book Group City Tour: Detroit

We roll into Detroit for our next Book Group City Tour in search of book clubs and readerly events!

This historic city has profited in recent years from a vibrant and growing artistic community. Readers will find a variety of literary offerings in Detroit, from classic book clubs to iconic bookstores to bibliophiles who celebrate their love of all things bookish. We’ve compiled a list of options to keep you connected, in person or virtually. Even if some groups are less active now, get in touch to be notified when events begin again. Ready to read? Detroit awaits!

(And don’t forget to browse the the other great cities we’ve visited!)

Detroit Public LibraryThe Detroit Public Library offers book clubs

As with many big cities, the public library is a good first stop to find a book group. The Detroit Public Library is no exception! During normal operating times, readers can take part in a variety of themed groups, like the Awesome Book! Children’s Book Discussion Group that meets at the Elmwood Park branch. Watch their online calendar for the return of events. In the meantime, check out a Book Club in a Bag, a hand-picked kit prepared by librarians. Each bag includes multiple copies of the book and discussion questions. Library members can check out a bag for 8 weeks.

Book Club of Detroit

Book Club of Detroit

The name of this group is accurate, but not what you first may think! Dating back to 1957, the Book Club is an association of bibliophiles who celebrate the printed page. Whatever the interest—collection, design, production, conservation, publishing—membership is available to anyone. Events take place in bookshops, private libraries, and other literary settings, and feature guest speakers and book experts. The club also belongs to the national Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (view a list of all their members here). Keep up with the latest news on the club’s Facebook page.

John King Books Detroit

John King Books

The endless rows of books are a reader’s dream. John K. King has been in the bookselling trade for over 50 years. Now readers can stroll four massive floors of titles in what used to be a glove factory, plus more in a former Otis Elevator Building. (And with a million books in stock, he clearly needs the room!) But you won’t get lost. You can view the store maps online, along with a photo gallery, to find your orientation. Looking for a rare tome? The rare book room is for you, with over 25,000 items for sale. A bookish destination not to miss in the city.

The Detroit Writing Room

The Detroit Writing Room

Join The Detroit Writing Room for a series of online discussions with local authors and public figures. Members enjoy book discounts and giveaways as well. Just want to attend every so often? The program also offers a drop-in rate per event. Each talk includes a Q&A with the visiting author. From politics to memoir to children’s literature, readers can get local with writers who have an intimate connection with Detroit. Plus, the Writing Room serves as a shared space for entrepreneurs and creatives to work and collaborate.

Books and BrewsBrews and Books

A simple and classic concept: read a book, gather at a local brew pub, and enjoy a low-pressure discussion with some craft beer. Repeat! Check out Brews and Books, started in 2012, which meets monthly to discuss a variety of great reads. Recent picks include Having and Being Had by Eula Biss, Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, and Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby. Join the group on Meetup to find out the next location. Cheers!

Source Booksellers in DetroitSource Booksellers

Opened in 2013, Source is notable for its focus on nonfiction: health and well-being, spirituality, history, books by and about women, and more. The owner, Janet Webster Jones, worked as a public school teacher in Detroit for more than 40 years before entering the book business, selling around the city and in a collective before opening her own space. A proud Black-owned and woman-owned store, it offers programming with local and national authors, as well as story time readings. Events are virtual for the time being, but keep an eye on their calendar and stop by for a browse. Source is open for business!

Bridge MichiganBridge Book Club

Began in March 2020 after the start of the pandemic, the Bridge Book Club hosts a periodic virtual book club featuring authors with a Detroit or Michigan connection. For each title, a discussion post is added to the club’s Facebook group in the weeks leading up to the virtual meeting, so participants can stay engaged all month long. Past videos of the chats are available as well. Attendance is free, and interested readers can join by filling out a form online! Bridge Michigan, a nonprofit and nonpartisan news source, hosts the events.

Downtown Detroit photo by Caleb George on Unsplash.

Don’t stop there! Continue with our Book Group Store Tour, which visits some of the best independent bookstores around the globe for interviews with owners and book group leaders!