Despite having a little more quiet time at home and needing an escape from the mundane, everyday routine of social distancing, reading during the global pandemic has proved to be a challenge for some.
“I’ve plucked book after book off the shelf only to abandon them on my night table after a feeble attempt at reading before bed instead of scrolling mindlessly through Twitter for the umpteenth time,” wrote Sophie Vershbow in Vogue.
Even Vox posted an explanatory Q&A with a neuroscientist about “why it’s so hard to read a book right now.” But if you’re determined to start reading and fall back in love with a book, a local (albeit virtual) book club may be just the place to start.
These NoVA-based book clubs, below, are streaming weekly, biweekly and monthly, depending on the genre, and have something to offer for just about everyone.
Bad Romance Book Club
Romance—you either love it or you hate it. Either way, indulge in Sophie Jordan’s The Duke’s Stolen Bride and The Virgin and The Rouge for an entertaining discussion with Old Town Books. This book club isn’t free, but the pair of novels will be sent straight to your doorstep and you can get reading right away in preparation for the Zoom meeting. Plus, it’s just what you’ve been looking for to put onto your Friday-night calendar. // Old Town Books; Friday, June 19, 7-10 p.m.; $17
Books & Brews Book Group
Grab a pint glass and fill your cup to enjoy this local book group to discuss The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. The mystery is set in the English countryside in the summer of 1950 and follows an 11-year-old, aspiring chemist who seeks to uncover the story behind a local murder. A drink isn’t required, but you get to pick the best brew from the fridge to enjoy with this lively discussion. // Fairfax County Public Library; Thursday, June 11, 4-5:30 p.m.; free
Escapism Book Club
This biweekly book club hosted by Arlington Public Library will take you straight through the summer, with dates extending from June through August, and is perfect for young professionals looking to discuss a wide array of upcoming books. Starting on Wednesday, June 3, at noon, join the Zoom call to discuss Not the Girl You Marry, followed by biweekly discussions on Good Riddance, Unmarriagable, Grown-Up Pose and Love Lettering. Reading the book is not required but is highly encouraged. // Arlington Public Library; June 3 and 17, July 1, 15 and 29, Aug. 12 and 26; noon-1 p.m.; free
Harry Potter Virtual Book Club
You’ve probably heard about Daniel Radcliffe and other celebrities reading the Harry Potter series chapter by chapter, which started in the era of social distancing. But if hearing the story come to life just isn’t enough to fully enjoy the experience, join the Harry Potter Virtual Book Club by Dolly Madison Library. The first meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 28 at 3 p.m. and the group will be discussing the first of the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. // Fairfax Public Library; Thursday, May 28, 3-4 p.m.; free
Old Town Books Book Club
The neighborhood bookstore is not just a great place for recommendations, but also for virtual conversations! Join the staff at Old Town Books for this month’s book club meeting when they discuss Days of Distraction by Alexandra Chang. The book follows a 24-year-old Asian American narrator who confronts the question: What does it mean to exist in a society that does not notice or understand you? The book club is free and open to all. // Old Town Books; Saturday, June 6, 10-11 a.m.; free
Online Book Discussion: Beloved by Toni Morrison
On Wednesday, June 3, join staff from the Great Falls Library on Zoom to discuss Beloved by Toni Morrison from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. The novel is set in a period just after the United States Civil War and follows Margaret Garner, an escaped slave from Kentucky who crosses into a free state. Morrison based the book on a newspaper article published in 1856, and the novel earned her the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988. // Fairfax County Library; Wednesday, June 3, 10:30-11:30 a.m.; free
Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book Club
Start your summer by diving into The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow, a science-fiction novel that follows a fantastical self-discovery journey of a young woman in the early 1900s. The book club is free, but if you still need to purchase the book to prepare for the meeting on Friday, June 26, be sure to mention the book club to get 20% off the cover price when you order. Plus, all ages are welcome! // Old Town Books; Friday, June 26, 7-8 p.m.
True Story! Book Club
At a time when our collective understanding of viruses and human vulnerability is being discussed each day, there’s no better way to understand it all than to dive deep into The Body by Bill Bryson. The book will not only give you a deeper understanding on how the body you live in works and operates, but it will also allow you to participate in a funny-yet-informative discussion with the staff of Old Town Books during this monthly book club meeting. // Old Town Books; Saturday, June 13, 10-11 a.m.; free
Twi-Hard Book Club
Alright Twilight fans, both near and far, the time has come to discuss your favorite teen series with the staff of Old Town Books. Starting on Thursday, June 25, the group will kick off with a movie watch-along of the original Twilight (commentary is welcome) and continue through the summer with discussions of the first book, as well as Stephanie Meyer’s newest addition, Midnight Sun. All you have to do to join is pre-order the book from Old Town Books and you’ll get your virtual ticket to join the club. // Old Town Books; Thursdays, June 25, July 23 and Aug. 27, each at 7 p.m.; $28
Virtual Fiction Book Group with Jenn
Sometimes you just need a little push to jump back into the stack on your bookshelf, and this meeting could be just the nudge you’re looking for! Join Jenn from One More Page Books to read The Shortest Way Home by Miriam Parker. Follow Hannah as she pivots from the life she’s always dreamed of into a world surrounded by vineyards. It’s just the ticket that can transport you out of the living room and into California’s wine country, plus, you can enjoy it with other local readers too! // One More Page Books; Tuesday, June 2, 7 p.m.; free
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