Jul 23, 2023 - Things to Do

A D.C. book club for every genre

Illustration of a glowing keyhole on an old book.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

D.C. is a book town, equally obsessed with our Little Free Libraries as we are with our local bookshops.

Why it matters: With extreme weather and smoke keeping many of us indoors, it's as good a time as any to catch up on those books you totally promised you'd read this summer. But you don't have to do it alone!

What's happening: Scroll through TikTok or other social media apps and you'll soon find #BookTok, a devoted community of readers who have revived a Luddite pastime for many — and turned it into a group thing.

What they're saying: "Popularity and interest in reading has always remained constant despite our phones and screening services getting in the way," says My Nguyen, assistant manager at D.C. Public Library's West End branch.

  • However, she says, access to book clubs has grown in recent years thanks to the proliferation of video chatting, which means people can gather without being constrained to a physical space.

State of play: There are plenty of book clubs across the city that can keep you on target with your reading, and cater to your favorite genres. Here are a few of the communities on our radar:

  • BookTok Book Club — a D.C. Public Library group that reads books popular on TikTok. It meets every month at the Southeast Neighborhood Library branch.
  • Bold Fork Books in Mount Pleasant runs a club focused on cookbooks (with the option to bring a dish!). The next meeting is Aug. 2 at 7pm.
  • Sci-fi, queer lit, romance, social justice, and young-adults-for-adults monthly book clubs are offered at East City Books.
  • Solid State Books has a horror book club that meets every third Wednesday monthly, and — very intriguing — another one focused on books we love to hate, so come every third Monday of the month (every other month) with the books you refused to finish or hate-read.
  • Poetry lovers can find their club at Lost City Books every first Wednesday of the month or visit a club devoted to books translated from other languages.

💭 Chelsea's thought bubble: Since joining a book club, my appetite for reading non-journalism-related words — which has wavered over the years — is back. Not only am I excited to talk about our monthly pick with my friends, I also get great recommendations.

Between the lines: D.C. Public Library patrons can sign up for Discover Summer, an all-ages summer reading program that tracks your reading on the Beanstack app.

Pro tip: You get entered for a raffle that could earn you tickets to a D.C. United game, Artechouse, and the International Spy Museum.

The bottom line: "When you share a table and a text with other people, this gives you the opportunity to share ideas, to learn, to listen, to grow and maybe to broaden your perspective," Nguyen says.


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