I think it’s safe to say that my incurable love of reading is my mother’s fault. When I was a kid, she would make reading together an essential part of my sisters and my bedtime routine, she would take us on weekend trips to the library, and she let us loose at many Scholastic Book Fairs. As I’ve grown older my relationship with my mother has changed, (I am definitely slowly becoming her as is evidenced in my love of comfortable shoes and cable knit sweaters) but one thing that has stayed constant is our shared love of reading. Many of our conversations still begin with “so what are you reading right now?” and we often pass on or recommend books to each other.
When I moved across the country, video chatting and flying back for holidays kept us in touch but I definitely missed our book-based conversations. We wanted to find a way to keep nerding out about books together despite being on opposite coasts. Then, she had the idea to start a two person-book club as a way to stay connected. We tried a couple of different versions and there have been some hiatuses and hiccups but I think we’ve found a flow that works for us and it’s been a wonderful way to keep us connected and gushing about books together despite being separated by multiple time zones.
Whether it’s a long-distance fellow bookish friend, significant other, or your mom, I definitely recommend trying out a two person book club as a way to keep in touch with someone, whether or not they live across the country. Interested in starting your own two-person book club? Below are some of the things I’ve learned through trial and error, that have worked for me in keeping up with a two-person book club.
So, why a two-person book club?
Let’s face it, we’re busy. It can be hard to schedule time to catch up with folks despite our best intentions. Having the extra mutual commitment of a book club necessitates making space on your calendar to catch up. Reading the same book also means you’re sharing an experience and will have plenty to chat about when you do get a chance to catch up because admit it, you have to know what they thought about that one scene, and you need someone to fan over that one character with. Set up a set time to video chat (or in person time) to talk about the book and stick with it!
Okay, so how do we choose a book together?
The way we’ve set up our two-person/mother-daughter book club is that we simply alternate picking the book that we’re going to read next. We also have fairly different tastes which keeps things interesting but there are several ways to choose your next read. Try making a list of books that both of you want to read and pick the books that are on both lists. If you’re a completionist you can work through a book list together. If you’re a re-reader why not re-read your favorites together?
Okay, we’ve picked a book, how do we make it work?
The best thing about a two-person book club is that it keeps you accountable, but in a flexible way. It is easier to work with two people’s needs and schedule, whereas a larger group can be harder to coordinate. Can’t do monthly because you’re both swamped? Try a bi-monthly schedule or just reschedule. Want to scrap your plan to read that 26 book series because you’re both not feeling it? Hey, it’s your book club, go for it. The key to keeping a two-person book club going is being open and having fun with it. Having a reading buddy can be the perfect motivation to keep you accountable but it shouldn’t feel like a burden. Finding the right balance for you and your reading buddy is the key.
Bonus tip: Depending on how you organize your book club, you can either both read the book at the same time or one person can read the book first and then mail it to the other. This can be fun because who doesn’t love getting book mail? It also lets each person read at their own pace and if you want to go the extra mile, you can include post-it’s throughout the book with your thoughts throughout the book or a bookmark for your reading buddy. Prefer eBooks? Kindle has an eBook sharing feature that allows you to share an eBook you’ve purchased with a friend or try your library. Many library systems allow you to borrow eBooks and audiobooks too!
Having a two person book club can be a great way to keep in touch with a long-distance bookish friend, family member or significant other. Having set video-chat dates is easier than ever and helps you keep in touch so you can gush (or rant) about the book together. A two-person book club can be the perfect medium between a one-time buddy read and a larger book club. It does require a certain level of commitment to keep it going, just like any book club but friends who read together stick together.