The return of the Book Club

The Book Club has had a make-over

It might just be me, but I’d always thought that book clubs were for the later years in life, and more an excuse to go drink tonnes of wine and gossip with your friends than legitimately dissect Anna Karenina. If I’m totally honest, I thought they were a bit uncool. So I was pretty surprised when one of my legitimately cool friends (can wear double denim and puts her hair in one of those buns on the top of her head even when she’s not washing her face) mentioned her book club. 

‘Book club?’ I asked her ‘I didn’t realise you’d bought a semi in zone six.’ Cool Friend looked confused. ‘It’s interesting women talking about books and drinking wine. How is that a bad thing?’

I learned two things from this exchange. Firstly, that I should never try and take the piss out of Cool Friend because she once hung-out with Alexa Chung and I listen to the Archers, and secondly that book clubs are, apparently, back en vogue.

She had a point, really. Talking about books whilst drinking wine does sound pretty great. And I’m not the only one coming around to the idea. Book Club memberships all across the UK have soared. Friendship making website MeetUp.com has over a thousand book clubs in London and the surrounding areas. 

Poppy, of Poppy Loves London, founded the Poppy Loves Book Club just over two years ago. The club is now international with meetings in 60 different countries as well as an online branch. I asked Poppy why she thought these clubs were coming back on trend. She told me: ‘I started my book club as I wanted women from all over the world to be able to connect to each other in a fundamental way, via the magical power of books. There is no other criteria – age, colour, creed, culture, financial circumstance etc., communities have grown and friendships have formed over the mutual love of reading…and that is more than enough.’

Describing what happens at book club (aside from discussing the book, obviously) Poppy says: ‘Something amazing happens when women get together. There’s a magic. A comfort. New friendships are born, new strengths are found and wonderful new communities are formed.’

We’ve talked before about how loneliness is pretty endemic in the UK, particularly in big cities, and also about how hard it can be to make new friends when you’re an adult. Joining a book club might just be an antidote to both of those problems. Of course we’re not saying that you’ll join a book club and magically have the world’s shiniest social life, but a room full of interesting women discussing a book must be a pretty great place to start making some friends.

If you’re interested in trying out a book club, there’s a lot of options. Poppy Loves and MyBookClub.com has groups all over the world, and MeetUp.com has them all over London. There’s a club for pretty much any topic or interest, from historical, to chick lit, including classic literature and even erotica, if you’re so inclined (oo-er). So, what are you waiting for?

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