Don’t let distance stop your book group!
When times prevent us from sitting around with our book group in person, we have to get creative! From online chats to old-fashioned mail, options exist for staying in touch with your members and friends. Reading Group Choices offers these ways to stay connected to your group when you can’t meet in person! (And don’t forget to follow our Book a Day picks on Facebook, Twitter, and our blog to boost your reading morale.)
1. Swap a book
Each member chooses someone from the group, and then calls up a local bookstore to have a book sent to that person. (You can keep your selection a secret for greater fun…) The tangible benefits of receiving a book from a friend will do wonders for morale in a time when most everything is turning virtual.
2. Maintain your sessions
Keep those book group meetings on the calendar, but use Skype, Facetime, Zoom, or any of the dozens of screen-sharing options to hold your discussion online. Same time, same structure. You’ll be glad to keep up your regular meeting habit! If you don’t have access to those options, even just picking up the phone and talking to one of your book group members can be just as heartening.
3. Share a line
Send a favorite line from your current book to a group member or friend. Something inspirational, something surprising or beautifully written. A simple text or email once a day can make a huge difference in feeling connected.
4. Create a sacred space
Start a blog, website, or Facebook group for your members to share book recommendations and set goals for the week. Make it a news-free zone: only comments and questions about your reading.
5. Catch up on admin
Remember those tasks your group has been talking about organizing for a while? Now’s the time to get them done. Make a record of the books you’ve read, compile your top-ten favorites, solicit profiles of each member for a guide, or set up a master address list. Take advantage of the pause to get organized!
6. Look forward
Start voting on books for the coming year. Set up a poll with potential titles and send it by email with Survey Monkey. Or mail it to all of your members in hard copy and ask them to fill it out and mail it back. (If you can safely mail it from your residence!) Have fun revealing the results…
7. Meet authors online!
With in-person book tours cancelled, there’s no better time to connect directly with authors. Many are holding live chats and reaching a wide group of readers around the country (and world), including our line-up of author chats on Reading Group Choices! Make a date with group members to tune in, and pose a question.
8. Keep the conversation going
Something as simple as “I just read Emily St John Mandel’s new book and it’s amazing!” can be the start of a conversation or just a connection to people you’re feeling distant from. Pick up the phone or text and check in. Then, once you get back together in person you will have loads to talk about!
Looking for good reads? Our Book a Day program is in full swing. See our running list of recommended titles here!