Reading Group Choices heads south to New Orleans for the latest installment of our Book Group City Tour!
A mythic city known for its jazz, Cajun cuisine, French Quarter and life along the Mississippi, New Orleans is also steeped in literary history. From its annual Tennessee Williams festival to its independent bookshops, the Big Easy offers a sanctuary for readers.
As always, we looked for a variety of ways for readers to connect to book groups and enjoy bookish conversation. Several of the clubs are deeply connected to the city and region that inspires them. From the traditional to unexpected, here’s our round up. Grab a mint julep and enjoy the read!
The Garden District Book Shop is located in the neighborhood of the same name, known for its iconic mansions. Housed in a former roller rink that dates back to 1884, the shop features a full range of genres, including regional titles and signed first editions. The store’s book group meets on the second Wednesday of the month and welcomes new members! (Get a 20% discount when you purchase the selected book.) Recent picks include The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin and Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.
Join this different take on the book group! The New Orleans Museum of Art began with only nine pieces of art over 100 years ago and has since become one of the premier collections in the South. The book picks for this monthly group feature fiction and nonfiction titles related to art, artists, and the collections at NOMA. Group events also include field trips and author meetings. The full picks for each year are announced ahead of time. See what they’re reading this year!
Immerse yourself in local literature in a local setting with NOLA Lit, founded in 2014. The group votes on the titles, all of them connected to New Orleans or the surrounding region, and then meets on the second Monday of the month at the historic Columns Hotel. Members share a discussion over happy hour, and the group caps off each read with an optional field trip or author meeting. Participation costs just $1! NOLA Lit is part of the Creativity Collective, a nonprofit that seeks artistic solutions to issues affecting the city.
Each fall, OBONO brings residents of New Orleans together to read and discuss the same book. The organization works in partnership with the New Orleans Public Library and Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, and supports ways to improve adult literacy and bind communities. It also works with and provides copies to people in prisons and juvenile detention facilities. Become a volunteer or a member to support the cause! Scroll through previous year’s picks, and vote for the next…
Named for the grandparents of the owner, this self-proclaimed “Nerd Mecca” is a book and gaming store, yes… and yet so much more. They feature board game events, including a club and exchange program, a publishing company, and podcasts, such as Novel Ideas. And of course a series of book groups that you may not find anywhere else! Check out the Not-So-YA Club, open to adults and teens, or the Graphic Novel Club. (Even the Japan Society Group discusses their picks here.) Drop by and join in!
“Clean beauty” is the goal at this body and wellness shop. Skin and hair care products, makeup and dietary supplements, all created from natural ingredients. (Check out their banned ingredients list.) Plus, they host the High Vibe Book Club every last Wednesday of the month, free to attend! Lauren, the store founder, leads the group, which discusses titles related to health and wellness. Take this unique opportunity to join a thematic club.
Still have some wanderlust? Take a trip through our other Book Group City Tour destinations!