First came Nashville, and now Reading Group Choices travels to San Francisco for our next Book Group City Tour!
Fog, steep hills, the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge: San Francisco is an iconic city. And the same is true when it comes to book culture. The city’s long literary history and diverse mix of cultures means there’s no shortage of places for readers to find a group or club that fits their interests, or to try something new.
We’ve rounded up some options for SF readers to discuss their next great book in good company. Whether a longtime Bay Area resident or first-time visitor, stop by one of these groups, all of them open to the public.
Explore the city, and happy reading!
The San Francisco Public Library offers numerous book groups at the main branch and local branches throughout the city. The options fit a variety of bookish tastes and audiences. Readers can join classic groups like the World Literature Book Club or Great Books Discussion Group, or seek out more specialized topics:
The West Portal branch offers a Mother-Daughter Book Group, selecting young adult titles that mothers and daughters can read together. The Western Addition branch invites readers to share and discuss their favorite titles in Japanese on the first Saturday of the month. And the Mission Cultural Center partners with the city’s libraries to host a discussion of books in Spanish.
With multiple groups meeting weekly, readers in San Francisco will be kept busy! Consult the full list here.
This new and used, general interest bookstore opened in 1992 and has two locations in the city. The Castro location offers the San Francisco LGBT Book Club, which has been meeting regularly on the second Wednesday of the month since 2004! The atmosphere is friendly, and new members are welcome. Books are chosen two months in advance.
The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco has been running educational, cultural, and social programs for nearly 150 years, making it the oldest Jewish center on the West Coast. Its regular events include two monthly book groups designed to fit busy schedules: one on Friday afternoons, and the other on Tuesday evenings.
If you’re looking for a… quieter group reading experience, try the Silent Reading Club! Each month, readers gather together, socialize a little, and then begin reading — silently. Have a glass of wine, with purchases supporting a good cause. It’s a great way to enjoy company, read whatever strikes your mood, and share (and receive) book recommendations from others.
The event is hosted by The Bindery, an event space owned by The Booksmith, a popular bookstore and fixture of the Haight-Ashbury community.
The Commonwealth Club has long been a forum for discussion of culture, politics, and social issues, with a busy event schedule, radio program, and podcasts. Its offerings include a book discussion series led by a facilitator knowledgeable in the field. The focus usually falls on humanities or California authors. Note: Discussions don’t follow a set schedule, and preregistration is required.
Book Passage has been in business for more than 40 years. Its three Bay Area locations — including the Ferry Building in San Francisco — pay special attention to the community and serve as a resource for book groups. The store offers support to readers who wish to start a club, and a coordinator to help suggest the best titles for discussion. Plus, groups can register with the store to receive discounts on purchases, special seating at author readings, and invitations to events just for book clubs.
Get started with your group here!