Twenty years after Oprah launched her wildly successful book club, a new generation of celebrities are using social media to share the books they love (fondly known as ‘book selfies’) and connect with readers. Here’s our pick of five of the best digital, celeb-fronted book clubs worth a virtual join:
Florence + the Machine’s Between Two Books
It started out as the brainchild of Dublin-based Leah Moloney; wanting to connect with Florence Welch, frontwoman of Florence + the Machine, through a shared love of literature, music and the arts. The singer expressed a desire to start an online book club and a few tweets and four years later, Between two Books is a fully-fledged reality with over 43,000 Instagram followers. It’s run by Moloney, Heather Hale and Abbie Whitehead in full collaboration with the singer herself and together, they encourage their followers to celebrate the sheer joy that comes from reading a wonderful book. They are currently halfway through their summer reading challenge where members pledge to read as much as they can over the coming weeks.
Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf
The actress set up her feminist book club earlier this year, not only for her love of the written word but to bring feminism and gender out as topics of universal conversation. Titled Our Shared Shelf – a name chosen by her fans on Twitter – the Harry Potter star selects one book per month on Amazon-owned Goodreads, and encourages debate and discussion of the chosen title. It kicked off with American feminist Gloria Steinem’s latest memoir, My Life on the Road and has since evolved to include video interviews with feminist writers, including the great Caitlin Moran.
Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club
A self-declared bookworm, Witherspoon has already brought two of her favourite reads — Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and Cheryl Strayed’s Wild — to the big screen and wasted no time sharing novels of choice on her Instagram page which gradually became a book club. With over 11,000 followers, her recommendations from Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn to Liane Moriarty’s Truly Madly Guilty have proved a hit with fellow bookworms alike.
Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter
In case you have not been privy to the brilliance of Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter, allow us to happily initiate you. It is essentially a twice weekly newsletter – full issues on Tuesdays and an in-depth interview on Fridays – created by Lena Dunham and her Girls co-creator Jenni Konner that challenges, enlightens and informs the Instagram generation on a myriad of women’s issues from the more eccentric topics (“Jenny Slate Got a Vajacial So You Don’t Have To!“), followed by more serious how-tos — one of which offered tips on negotiating maternity leave at a small company and applying for a job while pregnant. With book recommendations and essential interviews, this is so much more than a book club.
Emma Robert’s Belletrist
Emma Roberts has just recently started Belletrist, a new book club with monthly picks — and her recommendations often come with exclusive author interviews too. Oh, and extra book recs from her co-star Jamie Lee Curtis, another deadly human being. Sign us up.