Action Book Clubs across the country are combining reading with community service—and having fun along the way! In this series, we’re highlighting some of our favorite reading groups. To find out how you can start an Action Book Club of your own visit the program’s web page.

 

Action Book Club Location: Brooklyn, New York and worldwide
Good Read: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Good Deed:
Book-related kindnesses around the globe

Don’t let COVID-19 keep you from your book club! This Action Book Club meets virtually, then members—located across the globe—each carry out an act of kindness in their own community.

“Our book club is a bit unique,” said organizer Sophia Becker, who is based in Brooklyn, New York. “We actually ‘meet’ at a certain time and date from all over the world in an online group chat. We decided to spread our love of books in each of our own communities. Each of us found a Little Free Library or a place to donate books nearby.”

Sophia and her group were the lucky winners of an Action Book Club giveaway, claiming copies of the critically acclaimed novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, which were kindly donated by Penguin Press. (Look for future giveaways in our monthly Action Book Club newsletter!) After reading and discussing the book and completing their acts of kindness, these Action Book Club members shared photos of their actions and the Little Free Libraries they visited with the rest of the group. Some went above and beyond with their good deeds.

“It was wonderful seeing all the different shapes and sizes the little libraries come in!” said Sophia. “It was also extremely heartwarming to hear about the little extra mile each of us took to enhance our act of kindness. For example, one of us added a bookmark in her book with a little welcome note, another of us put $5 inside, offering a cup of coffee and a great start to the person’s day. One generous member made a donation to Central California SPCA in the name of the Action Book Club!”

An Action Book Club member shares books in a local Little Free Library and snaps a photo to share with her fellow virtual book-clubbers.

 

A chat between Action Book Club virtual members. This member included a $5 bill in a book she dropped off at a Little Free Library, so the finder could buy a cup of coffee on her!

 

With a virtual Action Book Club, members can live anywhere. For this session, Sophia’s Action Book Club (fondly known as the “UnWined Book Club”) had participating members from New York; Los Angeles, Orange, and Anaheim, California; Boston; Utah; and even West Germany! For other sessions, members have participated from Arizona, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Canada, and the UK.

“It’s been so great getting to know everyone through our chats!” said Sophia. “We’ve definitely become a sisterhood even though most of us have never met each other in real life.”

If you’d like to start a virtual book club, there are a number of online platforms you can use to chat. For something simple, start with a group text or group phone call. If you’d like to incorporate video, try Google Hangouts or a video conferencing site like Zoom. See if the author you’re reading has an interview online that all of you can watch and discuss.

Sophia offers this advice when coming up with your service project: “Start small, don’t get overwhelmed by the idea of helping out. Small acts can make a huge impact on the people around you and you can take it from there.”

Thank you for sharing your story, Sophia! Do have an Action Book Club story to share? Submit it here!

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