Reading is Better with Friends

Book club dreams versus buddy read reality

It may be obvious from the title of this publication that one of my favorite parts of reading is chatting about books with friends.

Truth be told, though, I don’t get as much IRL book chat time as you’d expect. Between social anxiety, being an introvert, and working a job that pushes both of those parts of me to their limits on a regular basis, I’ve never quite managed to join the book club of my dreams.

That is to say, I do not meet with a small group of close friends to sip wine, eat cheese, and chat about a book every month. Does anyone, or is this just thing TV taught me to expect out of adult womanhood?

Gif of the book club inside my head, sourced from Giphy

Regardless, I value those times and places (virtual and in-person) where I do get to connect with other book-loving humans to chat books. Of course, this publication, Twitter, and Bookstagram are some of those virtual spaces, and I am so glad to have them.

But there’s general book talk, and then there’s talking about a book with someone who’s reading it at the same time (or nearly the same) as you are. That’s where a Bookstagram term I’ve recently learned comes in, and that is the term “buddy read.”

Like many things on social media, it just sort of… pops up, with the assumption that we all know what it means.

From my best guess prior to research, it seems to most often be used to describe a pair of friends reading a book together, and according to a quick Google search for “what is a buddy read on Instagram” this appears to be accurate. Some people, however, do use the term to refer to larger groups of internet friends reading a book together, which to me seems more like a book club, but, hey, take your bookish community where you can.

Regardless, I’d never heard this term before, but immediately resonated with it.

As a kid, I would buddy read IRL with my best friend all the time, even on occasion sitting side by side in lawn chairs reading the same book and pausing at the end of each chapter to discuss. This is one of the fondest memories from my childhood, along with times in high school when books like Twilight became so popular even my less book-adjacent friends would read them with me.

In the hustle and bustle of being an adult with a full time job and probably too many side hobbies, organic opportunities to read the same book as the people around me have faded away. But, my best book friends remain.

Inspired by Bookstagram and our childhood of shared reading, I recently asked a friend if she’d read Payback’s a Witch with me. And reader, she said yes!

Photo by the author

We’re starting this week, with big plans to finish the book by the end of October (because, you know, spooky season). We do our book chats over the phone, since she’s a long distance bestie these days, but perhaps we’ll indulge in some cheese and wine separately together.

I am ridiculously excited to buddy read a witchy rom com with the same friend who once sat next to me reading Harry Potter at our brothers’ soccer practice. Though I’ve enjoyed Instagram message chat buddy reads (and am in one of those right now, as well), I will always be a woman for smaller group conversations, particularly with those who know me the best.

Have you ever participated in a buddy read, whether you used that term or not? I’d love to hear about your favorite book chat memories, if you’ve got them!

As always, thanks so much for reading and supporting Your Book Friend! If you want to stay up to date, give us a follow here, on Medium, and/or on Instagram. If you’re not a Medium member yet but would like to join, you can support me and YBF by signing up here.

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4 thoughts on “Reading is Better with Friends

  1. I joined my library book club and it was going great until covid hit – though I was the only young one there, I really enjoyed that hour out of the day talking about the book we all read and having a cup of tea. I really hope it starts back up again soon as I really miss it and none of my friends are as avid readers like myself x

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