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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Coastal Carolina chapter.

Booktok and Bookstagram have become increasingly popular since quarantine and as social media has risen to the mainstream. The #booktok tag on TikTok has 93.8 billion views and 1.9 million posts on Instagram. The #bookstagram tag on Instagram has 83.4 million posts on Instagram and 765.3 million views on TikTok. With numbers like these, it is apparent that readers are making a comeback into the mainstream. I have always been someone who loved to read. My mom is an avid reader with her Kindle in her lap every waking moment (she even falls asleep reading), so it makes sense that I would have an early introduction to the wonder books can bring. I used to read as much as she did and would devour series faster than they would come out. Each time Six Flags or Scholastic did a reading challenge I would complete it easily. High school and forced reading dulled my love of books, but quarantine and TikTok brought it back. When I came to college, I came armed with bags of books and a Kindle loaded with series. But reading is a solitary task and it can feel frustrating to read and enjoy a book and have no one to talk about it with. 

That’s where book clubs come into play. Traditional book clubs are communities that meet in person at some interval to discuss the one book they picked out for that interval (usually month long). They can talk about life and books while sitting together. However, not everyone can find an in-person book club close to them or one that fits their interests. It can also be intimidating to join one that has been running for a long time. Virtual book clubs can be specific and worldwide as all you need is an internet connection. They usually have a social media component (Instagram, TikTok, etc.) and a chat/community sharing component (Discord, Geneva, Fable, etc.) which allow people to learn about the club and be connected to many other people instantaneously. 

I am a member of multiple different book clubs, but my favorite is called “Sapph-Lit.” Via the founder Nina Haines, this club is “a safe space where sapphic women and non-binary people can come read sapphic books, chat about life, ask for and offer support, and celebrate their identities.” With over 5000 members in  5 countries, this club has been growing since its birth in May of 2021. In this club, we read one fiction, one non-fiction, and sometimes one bonus book a month (the extra is usually a sequel or part of a series that we have read previously) that pertains to the queer identity in some way. We read all different genres and authors of many different backgrounds so we are not confined to a bubble. Each month we also get to do Zoom calls with the authors and ask questions and hear about the stories from their perspective. By engaging with each other and the authors, we feel connected to these books in a way that we could not have been without the club. 

Another aspect of my club, and many others, that is important is the community that is built. In our server, we have different channels where we can talk about life, queer media, arts and crafts, give book recs, share what we are currently reading, and so much more. There are even channels based on where you are regionally so you can connect with people geographically close to you. At any time you can pop in to ask for a specific book recommendation, share a frustration or moment of pride, or chat about anything you want (including why yet another queer show should not have been canceled after one season). We are a community of like-minded book lovers that can have a safe place on the internet to let our guard down and just enjoy literature and being queer. 

Online book clubs have given me communities where I can reach out at any point in time for anything and have someone happily help me. They have also diversified my reading and helped me find books that the mainstream tries to hide. These clubs have been integral to my finding my love of reading again, so I suggest them to anyone who wants to try reading for fun or loves reading for fun already. There is no judgment and no pressure as the online nature of the club gives a lot of forgiveness. No matter where you are in your book-loving journey, there is a space for you in an online book club. There is a book club for every niche, so go out and find yours!

Avery Griffin

Coastal Carolina '23

Avery is a senior Marine Science major, with an English minor. She is a queer woman interested in social justice, reading (or increasing her TBR), coffee, tea, and exploring nature and whatever else Myrtle Beach can offer. Her writings mostly consist of book reviews and some culture.