The Twitter book club
24.07.12 | Sian Meades
Why do people start book clubs? To chat about what they’re reading? To see their friends? As an excuse to drink three bottles of Chardonnay on a Wednesday night? Probably a mixture of all of those things.
But running an online book club is different. The decision wasn’t really made by me. It was Domestic Sluttery’s readers who asked for one. Actually, they pestered and nagged a bit.
Domestic Sluttery is a lifestyle website, covering mainly design and food (with our tongues firmly in our cheeks). Whenever we mentioned books—be it a gorgeous collection like White’s Fine Editions, or a scheme like Mr B’s Reading Year—people got really excited. After a little bit of logistics and planning behind the scenes (let’s be honest, book clubs can be a bit of a nightmare), the Domestic Sluttery Book Club began.
And then the #SlutteryBookClub hashtag started trending across the world on Twitter.
We had chosen Rosamund Lupton’s debut novel Sister as our first book. Mainly because a couple of the Domestic Sluttery team had already read it. I was about halfway through and totally gripped—I knew there was a good discussion to be had. Through a little bit of luck, I found myself have a chat with Rosamund on Twitter and she wanted to get involved in our discussion.
That was a little bit intimidating—it’s not easy to be critical about a book while you’re chatting with the author. Actually, we got a wonderful insight into the book and everyone involved got to chat with an author they admired. They got to talk directly to the person who created the world they’d spent the last week living in.
Some people think the internet is having a detrimental effect on how much people read. That might be true, but it doesn’t mean that we engage any less when we do pick up a book.
The book club wasn’t all fun and games—Twitter is a fickle beast and I was awake until 1am explaining to people that we hadn’t read Fifty Shades of Grey (that’s what you get for choosing a deliberately contentious hashtag). But I think we’re the first ever book club to trend on Twitter.
We’re doing a book every couple of weeks so people can dip in and out and they don’t feel they have to read everything (we don’t want to read everything either, books should never feel like work). Next up is The House at Riverton, after that we might switch to a classic or get our readers to choose. The whole point of the book club is to discuss and chat—you don’t have to be sat around a table to do that. You don’t even have to be in the same country as us.
And you can definitely type with one hand while drinking a glass of wine.