A person holding a book and looking at a laptop screen with multiple video links with other people.

In this socially disconnected time, the rise of the online book club is not a surprise. Having a common theme, or book to talk about gives us something to "connect" over. A distraction. The term Bibliotherapy refers to the reading of literature as a therapeutic tool. Comfort, retreat, insight, discovery can all be found within the pages, through the words both read and spoken. And at this time, perhaps we could all do with a dose of informal Bibliotherapy, or just a good read.

Connection

Book clubs offer connection, discussion, viewpoints. Some meet online by video link, and others have Facebook groups to post, chat and discuss. Some have subscription models where you are sent a book each month. If you are part of a pre-covid book club, your group may have moved online to keep the connection. 

The Next Chapter

The Next Chapter Book Club offers opportunities for people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to read, learn and make friends in a community setting, usually a library. Together they read aloud and discuss a book. Members range from those who read proficiently to those who cannot read at all.  The focus is on reading-to-learn, not learning-to-read. Australia has around 20 clubs, and the Next Chapter Book Club has a location search.

Where to find book clubs:

  • Major publishing houses
  • Your local library
  • Book retailers
  • Social Media
  • Some are linked by a common author, theme, or book
  • Celebrity Book Clubs – Some celebrities have book clubs attached to their socials
  • A worthy mention - Scholastic curates a range of books for kids, not a book discussion club, more of recommended reads for children.
  • Telelink programs through Vision Australia also have book clubs. Contact Vision Australia for more information.

Shaping future readers

Immersion in literature for 10 minutes a day has been shown to have positive benefits for children.

MS readathon is a fantastic way to support a worthy cause and promote reading.

Reading and reminiscing

It is thought that Bibliotherapy may have a positive impact on the wellbeing of people living with dementia. Informal book discussions are offered in some aged care and nursing homes as well as retirement homes.

Therapy

If you believe a prescribed course of Bibliotherapy could be of use to your healing right now, The State Library of Victoria has a series of podcasts.

You can also check the following links for information on Bibliotherapy.

Online retailers

If you are under stay at home orders, you can still buy online retailers, many with large print books and audio selections, like Dymocks, Collins, Booktopia, Penguin and Book Depository.

Subscriptions

If you are stuck in a lockdown, restricted, or just don't want to leave the house, there are subscriptions and online retailers to help you. Let's be honest; there is nothing like a real bookshop. But, needs must, so here are some options for subscriptions and gifts.

Well read handpick literary titles, and deliver them to your door. You decide between monthly and every two months. Subscriptions are available for adults or children.

The novel tea book club describes itself as a "whole lot of indulgence in a little envelope." An Australian customisable book and tea subscription parcel. Every month you'll receive a book, a tea sample and a selection of curated goodies straight to your door.

Book a buy covers Australia and New Zealand and offer a monthly subscription

Tales and tea started during the COVID pandemic, little packages of book, tea and chocolate.

Luxuread has gift boxes and subscriptions.

Literary Tea Co Tea Co. Drink more tea, read more books.

Audible (through Amazon) have digital audiobooks. The app is available for download.

Spotify also has audiobook playlists. The app is available for download.

Bookstagram

Bookstagram is a niche corner of Instagram where book lovers unite. An online community of bookworms. #bookstagram


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