Creating an Online Book Club for Mental Wellness

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Creating an Online Book Club for Mental Wellness

If you are beginning to run out of ideas for keeping yourself entertained and connected with your social group while social distancing, you may want to consider creating your own online book club. Virtual book clubs are perfect for keeping your mental wellness in check while also providing the opportunity to keep in touch with your friends and family.

Reading is a hobby that many people enjoy, but under normal circumstances, typically find they do not have the time to do. With limited options for staying entertained, more and more people are returning to books (both physical copies and e-books) to help pass the hours and keep their minds stimulated.

Even if you haven’t been part of a book club in the past, starting your own can be as simple as you would like it to be.

Find friends that are willing to commit to reading a book a month. Determine which of your friends or family members are serious about completing one book a month. If you need more time to complete a book, you can even extend your meetings to cover just half of a book each month. Whichever schedule you prefer to maintain, make sure that your members know what they are signing up for.

Determine what books you will read. Get a feel for the types of books your members like to read. Do you all share a passion for a similar genre, like sci-fi, romance, or political thrillers? If you all have different interests, that is completely fine, as long as everyone is willing to read books in various genres. Give everyone an opportunity to suggest books they are interested in, and then set up a poll (you can use a free online one like Doodle).

You may want to vote once a month, or you may want to go ahead and create a list of books you plan to read for the next few months. It is important that everyone feels like their suggestions are included, otherwise, you may begin to lose interest from some of your members.

Set Up a Meeting Platform. Ask your book club members what meeting platform they prefer. You can use programs like Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype. Agreeing on a consistent time and day of the week to hold your sessions will help with attendance since people will begin to get into a routine with the meetings. Some of these platforms have an option to set up a recurring meeting, and members will get automatic reminders about the scheduled time.

During your first book club meeting, make time for introductions if all of your members don’t know one another. Even if you all have been friends for some time, also give everyone the opportunity to talk about their preferred types of books. You may be surprised that your best friend has been reading detective books for the past decade. Over time, your book club meetings will develop a flow, and you will find you will have another social opportunity to look forward to each month.

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