Avi Silberstein writes that book clubs are still alive and well during the pandemic. Photo: Pexels

Avi Silberstein writes that book clubs are still alive and well during the pandemic. Photo: Pexels

CHECK THIS OUT: Going Clubbing

From the Nelson Library’s Avi Silberstein on book clubs

By Avi Silberstein

Dr. Bonnie Henry has ordered night clubs to close. But guess what? She hasn’t said a word about book clubs! Which means it’s time to grab your comfiest clothes and a glass of something, and prepare yourself for the ultimate treat in casual socializing: virtual book club (and yes, all of the following book clubs are to be held online for now, due to That Which Shall Not Be Named).

If you’re looking to join an existing book club, we’ve got a multitude of options for you to choose from. Our Read Local book club is a Kootenay-wide program where every month we’ll be discussing books by a different Kootenay author. As an added bonus, the authors themselves will be present to discuss their books and answer questions! This month’s book is The Things She’ll be Leaving Behind by Vanessa Farnsworth. Next up: Freedom Libraries: The Untold Story of Libraries for African Americans in the South by Mike Selby. To register, email Heather at kootenaylibrariesprogramming@gmail.com.

If you’re in the mood for some topical non-fiction, Selkirk College is offering their Readers for Racial Justice book club. Meeting every other Wednesday evening, this book club is currently diving into The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole. Our library is happy to be able to support this book club by having purchased 10 copies of this book. Feel free to stop by to borrow a copy so you can join in the discussion. If you have questions about the book club email JBarron@selkirk.ca.

Our Kootenay Teen book club offers a wonderful opportunity for teens to talk about books and meet others from across the region. Like our Read Local book club, it also offers them the opportunity to talk to the authors directly. So far we’ve hosted a star-studded roster of Canadian authors, including Susan Juby, Susin Nielsen, and Kenneth Oppel. Next up: A Night Divided by Jennifer Nielsen.

There are two other book clubs for our younger readers. Both are mother-daughter book clubs, one for girls ages 14-16 (next up: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) and one for girls ages 11-13 (next up: The War that Saved My Life). If you want to register for any of our youth book clubs contact Melodie Rae at mstorey@nelson.ca.

If you’d rather start your own book club, we can help with that too. It’s as easy as asking us to order in a book club set for you (choose either five or 10 copies). For a list of books visit our website and look under “Read/Listen/Watch – Book Clubs.”

If you’re going down that path, feel free to get in touch with us and let us know. We’d love to hear about your book club ideas!

And if you need help figuring out how to host your book club on Zoom, there are free Lynda.com courses (accessible through the library website) to help guide you through the process.

The best part is you don’t need to restrict your book club to local participants. There’s no reason your sister in Quebec couldn’t join in. Or your mother in Nova Scotia. Or your second cousin in Singapore!

COVID has disconnected many of us. Book clubs can help bring us together. So forget about flashy outfit, sticky dance floors, and too-loud music, and grab your sweatpants and some snacks: the only things you need for a successful night of book clubbing.

Avi Silberstein is the children’s librarian at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week.