Guest Blog by Jane
Due to current world events, and the current social distancing climate, Book Clubs have become more important than ever. With closures of gathering places like libraries, bookstores, and movie theaters plus everyone encouraged to #stayhome people are seeking solace and entertainment through books.
The first known book club in the United States began meeting at Margaret Fuller's Boston Shop in 1840, and nearly 200 years later they can be found meeting everywhere and on everything.
- Austin's Mayor's Book Club selects titles for patrons to check out at the Austin Public Library. It doesn't have traditional style meetings,however it does have various events scheduled around the title selected and promotes the book and its author.
- Reese Witherspoon now hosts a book club called, you guessed it, Reese's Book Club. Her selections put women at the center of every story, and are more than likely written by women, or both. The current selection is The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi and the audiobook is instantly available on Hoopla with your library card.
- The author Yiyun Li is leading a group through Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace on the independent publisher A Public Space's social media channels.
- Iconic local bookstore Bookpeople has converted to virtual book clubs
- Austin Public Library has book clubs themed for adults, teens, and youth in various library locations (seeking to bring them to you as soon as possible)
These and other Book Clubs meet to discuss the story, characters, and plot in the book selected, but current events lead the conversations away from the story. Club members are now discussing one's place in the world and the feelings that arise due to the stressful times in which we are living. Plus, Book Clubs are now meeting online, and have a wider audience around the world. Thus, Book Clubs have become a place to find community, and title selections might reflect the pandemic we are currently dealing with.