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- I’ve always been a reader but never thought I’d join a book club until Bad Bitch Book Club.
- The low-pressure format gave me the freedom to read what I want and helped me make friends.
- I read 42 books in 2021 and almost all of them were book club picks; these five stand out.
I turned 22 four months before the COVID-19 pandemic started. A year out of college, I was just entering the time in my life when everything was supposed to be new and exciting, and suddenly I couldn’t leave my house and I didn’t have my best friends two floors below me anymore.
My problem: How do you make new friends in your mid-20s, in the middle of a global pandemic?
The answer: A virtual book club.
More specifically, I joined Bad Bitch Book Club, which founder Mackenzie Newcomb calls “the most comprehensive book club on the planet.” Newcomb started the remote book club in 2018, but membership really began to grow in 2020 (the main group now has around 14,000 members).
I didn’t know it at the time, but what started as requesting to join its Facebook group turned into the best thing I did during lockdown.
I wanted to read more and I was looking for some new recommendations, but I’d always been a little intimidated by the idea of book clubs. As a mood reader, I constantly abandon books I just started in favor of ones that seem more exciting. What if I hated that month’s pick? What if I didn’t finish it in time?
What I learned quickly was that Bad Bitch Book Club was unlike any other book club I’d encountered before.
In addition to focusing on one general book of the month, the club is broken down into seasonal reading challenges spanning all genres: Ghouls Night Out reads thrillers, The Romance Challenge challenges members to read seven pre-selected romance novels in seven weeks, and Haus of Bad Bitches, which has since been expanded to a monthly recurring group, reads LGBTQIA+ fiction and non-fiction.
It was like the book club itself was a “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel with separate Facebook groups for every genre and special interest you could think of.
In the Chat Box, I found a community of women where I wasn’t expecting to find one. Within months, I was forming new friendships.
About a month after I initially joined, I signed up for the book club’s Patreon, which includes access to the only social subgroup — this is where the internet friends come in. I really believe that group, the Chat Box, is some kind of magic. As the only social Facebook group under the BBBC umbrella, the conversations that take place in it are pretty much whatever we want. Chat Box members also discuss a second book every month in addition to the main book of the month; these are always voted on by the Chat Box at large and can include an author visit as well.
I’ve met up with people from the Chat Box for afternoons in museums and painting in Central Park. We’re planning trips and having PowerPoint nights on
. Last year, a bunch of us went on Zoom for “Taylor Swift night,” where we used a bracket to figure out what Taylor Swift’s best song is. They might have started as my book club friends, but now they’re just my friends. I now know I can count on them for anything, whether I need outfit opinions, advice, or just a laugh.
Join a book club. Make some internet friends. It might just change your life.