Book clubs on the rise as bloggers set up locally-based communities

Book-bloggers in Newport and Cardiff join internet trend as they launch new book clubs 

Book-bloggers Irene Leon, 26, and Charlotte Clark, 24, prepare to kick off their book clubs in the coming weeks. 

Irene will host her book club every first Wednesday of the month at Octavio’s Book Cafe and Wine Bar in Cardiff from 6 November. Charlotte will be hosting a young-adult book club at Newport’s Waterstones from 27 October. 

Since Irene started book blogging on Instagram in April, she realised more and more people were approaching her to discuss books. 

Creating her book club seemed like the perfect way to encourage even more discussions. “It is a way to connect with others that have a shared interest,” Irene said.

Socialising can be difficult as an adult: meeting people is one of the advantages of in-real-life book clubs. Charlotte, who has been blogging for four years, said, “I work from home and it can feel a bit isolating sometimes, so having a group to meet up with and chat is great to get me out of the house more often.” 

If book clubs are helpful for mental health and socialising, the meet-ups also give the extra push to dedicate time to read. 

“I often find myself in reading slumps, where I don’t want to pick up a book for a while,” Charlotte said. “It helps me to have a deadline to finish the book by.” 

Irene is hoping to broaden people’s reading horizons as the next books will be chosen at random from readers’ suggestions. She said, “That should push people out of their usual genres.”

Charlotte wished for a specialised book club. She tweeted that there was no young-adult book club taking place in the area, so Newport’s Waterstones suggested she host one.

Irene’s book club launches with Naomi Alderman’s The Power and Charlotte’s starts with Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl