If you long to discuss books you love — in real life, outside the confines of Amazon reviews and Goodreads comments — make joining a book club a 2017 new year’s resolution. Here are five to check out —
For the cocktail aficionado: The Edison Book Club
This book club offers an intimate chat about a fantastic book over specialty drinks in a speakeasy-style bar — often with a chance to talk to the author herself! A newish initiative of literary nonprofit PEN Center USA, The Edison Book Club happens in downtown LA bar The Edison, usually featuring a new author (recently, Jade Chang of The Wangs vs. The World and Stephanie Danler of Sweetbitter), with the discussion led by another author (recently, Amelia Gray and Margaret Wappler). The first book of 2017 will be a classic though — Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.
For the big book lover: Coyotes Book Club
According to Karl at Skylight Books, this bookstore book club often takes on “books that might seem daunting on one’s own but might be more friendly when confronted with a group” — like Ulysses and Knausgaard’s My Struggle. The discussion happens on the fourth Tuesday of every month.
For the deep-thinking activist: Current Events Reading Group
Also hosted by Skylight Books, this club is for “reading and discussing works of nonfiction pertinent to the pressing issues of our day” — like race, gender, politics, and more. I have a feeling the conversations here will be heavy during the next four years. Find out when the next meeting is by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the rebel: Read Harder Book Club
Here’s a book club that lets you read whatever the hell you want. Organized by the lit site Book Riot, the Read Harder Book Club is simply a group that meets once a month to discuss books in general — what you’ve read lately, which books you loved or hated, et cetera. It’s a cool way to get introduced to new books you might never otherwise hear about — and to meet other local bibliophiles. The club meets on the second floor of The Last Bookstore.
For women: The West Hollywood Women’s Book Club
If you visit the West Hollywood Library, you’ll see flyers for this book club all over the place. Co-sponsored by the City of West Hollywood’s Women’s Advisory Board, this book club meets at the library on the first Tuesday of every month to discuss books by local authors and internationally renowned author — while providing a space for women to connect with other women.
For ladies (and gentlemen) who lunch: Diane Leslie’s Book Group With Author
This book gives you a chance to discuss a book in an intimate group — with the author herself! Once every few months on a weekday evening, Diane Leslie leads a book discussion at Diesel Brentwood, featuring a recently-published bestseller and the writer who wrote it (recently, Marisa Silver’s Little Nothing). To join the club, you do need to buy the hardcover from Diesel AND pay $20. Subscribe to Diesel Brentwood’s newsletter to learn about upcoming events.
This list is an incomplete and idiosyncratic one. There are many more open-to-the-public book clubs in town — including a whole bunch for genre fiction, which I omitted entirely from this list due to lack of personal interest. L.A.’s many indie bookstores host additional book clubs, and many local libraries have their own too. Meetup groups offer yet more options. And of course, you can always start your own club —
Is there a great open-to-the-public book club you think I’d like? Let me know and I’ll drop by the next meeting —
Top photo by Libby Flores; bottom photo by Sharifah Williams