How to Start a Student Book Club in Isolation

November 5, 2020
Lavinia Jury

By Lavinia Jury

COVID-19 has sparked a new wave of virtual pastimes. After going slightly overboard with Zoom pub quizzes, we have had to come up with new inventive ways to socialise in isolation.

The traditional book club has been reborn as the perfect solution to lockdown boredom; although its main purpose is to unite people over their shared love for books, it also promotes and encourages reading as a welcome means of escapism. This is a great way for students to overcome loneliness.

For anyone needing a little guidance, here are the six steps required to make a student book club during quarantine.

Step 1: Make a student book club WhatsApp group

Talk to your friends and find out who would be interested in joining a student book club

Tip: Make sure you choose people who will actually read the book! 

Step 2: Decide who will pick the first book

To make it fair, you can pick a name from a hat and film it to send to your group.

Step 3: Pick a book

It is definitely important to keep your audience in mind but don’t be afraid to suggest something that may not be everyone’s cup of tea! One of the benefits of a student book club is that you read books that you would have otherwise overlooked.

Tip: I have added a list of book suggestions below for anyone lacking inspiration.

Step 4: Buy the book

Consider buying the book second-hand as it will be more affordable and environmentally friendly!

Tip: AbeBooks is a great website for buying high-quality second-hand books. 

Step 5: Set a date for discussion

As everyone lives on different schedules, setting a date to discuss the book will ensure that everyone has enough time to read it.

Step 6: Read the book

Please actually do this step – it’s pretty important.

Step 7: Discuss the book

I would recommend having a rough structure to guide the group when discussing the book. This could involve each giving rating the book out of 10 before any conversation takes place, and then rating it again at the end of the meeting to see if anyone’s opinion has changed. This is a great chance to get to know future flatmates!

Tip: Improve your meeting by enjoying a glass of vino and some snacks!

Bonus: My recommended student book club reading


1.     Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

2.     A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

3.     Half A Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

4.     The Metal Bowl – Miranda July

5.     My Year of Rest and Relaxation – Ottessa Moshfegh

6.     The First Bad Man – Miranda July

7.     The Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien

8.     Where You’ll Find Me and Other Stories – Ann Beattie

9.     1984 – George Orwell

10.  To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee 


1.     Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge

2.     Human Instinct: How Our Primeval Impulses Shape Our Modern Lives – Robert Winston

3.     Rewire Your Anxious Brain: How to Use the Neuroscience of Fear to End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry – Catherine M. Pittman and Elizabeth M Karle, Mlis

4.     Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men – Caroline Criado-Perez

5.     Make It Scream, Make It Burn: Essays – Leslie Jamison

6.     Steal As Much As You Can: How to Win the Culture Wars in an Age of Austerity – Nathalie Olah

7.     Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion – Jia Tolentino

8.     Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future – Ashlee Vance

9.     Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time – Greg Mortenson

10.  The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank

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