I love the idea of a book club. A bunch of friends get together on a monthly basis to talk about a shared topic…and there is usually wine and cheese! But let’s be honest…with my schedule, finishing an entire book and making it to the book club meeting every month is just not possible. Plus, what if someone in the group picks something you don’t want to read? No no no.
I admire those who have committed to reading a new book every month and stuck with their book clubs for years, but it’s just not me. I figured I would just stick to my solo reading until I heard of buddy reading. Buddy reading is when you and one other friend agree to read the same book at the same time and discuss it during the process. You get the benefits of a book club without the ongoing commitment or geographical restrictions.
Finding A Buddy
I’ve only done a buddy read a few times, but it’s important that you are picky about who you read with. Obviously, you want to pick someone who is interested in the same genre as you. But what about reading speed and hours per week? Most people read about one page per minute. That means a 300-page book is going to take 5 hours to read. How many hours is your buddy willing to commit to reading each week? And lastly, how do you want to check in on reading progress? Some people like to text thoughts as they come up or schedule weekly FaceTimes after completing major chapters.
Making A Plan
Ok, so you found a buddy! And you both really like a very specific genre that just had a highly-rated book come out! It’s time to plan your buddy read:
- Getting the book: If you are ordering it online or grabbing it from the library, plan to start reading once both parties have the book in hand.
- Pick sections: If it’s a 400-page book, maybe you check in with your buddy every 100 pages over 4 weeks. Sometimes it’s helpful to take a look at the table of contents to see if it can be easily broken up into 2-6 sections.
- No-spoiler rule: One of my favorite parts of buddy reading is when I get a text from my friend, “Oh my gosh, PAGE 216!! Please tell me you’ve made it to 216. My jaw is on the floor!” There’s nothing like instant encouragement to make you want to stop what you are doing right now and go read. But of course, it’s totally fair to say no spoilers until our weekly check-in at 7pm on Wednesdays!
- Take the pressure off: Life happens! One of the joys of buddy reading is that there are no expectations. If your friend is feeling overwhelmed at work…take a break from the book. I try not to feel too bad if I don’t make this week’s page goal.
If you are not sure where to start for your first buddy read, here are some recommended books split up by genre.
- Popular Fiction: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
- Memoir: Educated by Tara Westover
- Historical Non-Fiction: Endurance by Alfred Lansing
- Humor: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
- Science Fiction: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
- Romance: Beach Read by Emily Henry
- Mystery: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
- Classics: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The special thing about buddy reading with a close friend is that you are now bonded through reading together. Sharing a book adds a new element to your friendship that can fuel deeper conversations in the future. Which book would you like to buddy read with a friend?