Category: Book Culture

Virtual Bookclubs to Join During Quarantine: Part 2

Sometimes, the best part about reading a book is the community around it. Book clubs have been a staple of reading books for near as long as the books themselves. Yet, in recent times of social distancing, it can feel much harder to connect into these larger populations of book readers. Many book clubs have had to cancel their in-person meetings, even as one of the few perks of quarantine is the increased ability to read. Thankfully, the literary community is an adaptable one. Many groups have already found ways to transition book clubs to a virtual affair and are eager to expand their conversations to anyone ready to join. Below, you can find just a few examples of book clubs already ready for a new, virtual reality. Check out part one here, if you haven’t already.

1. Los Angeles Times Book Club

Image result for los angeles times book club

image via la times

The Los Angeles Times Book Club is returning in a new virtual set-up. Their first meet-up will be on March 30th with authors Steph Cha and Joe Ide.

Cha and Ide will be joined by Times reporter Maria L. LaGanga in a discussion about L.A. noir. The meet-up will be streamed live on the L.A. Times Facebook page and on YouTube, starting at 7 p.m. Monday.

2. The Guardian’s Reading Group

On the first Tuesday of every month, a theme or author is put to a public vote by the Guardian. The book is then chosen by the outcome of these votes. Sam Jordison, a well-known reader and publisher,  then hosts an online discussion every Tuesday where he explains the book’s history, researches any questions the audience asks and, potentially even, arranges live chats with the author.



Image result for silent book club

image via silent book club

This may or may not have been in part one, too. You can’t blame us, we’re big fans. In 2012, Laura Gluhanich and Guinevere de la Mare founded this book club as a potential outlet for introverts. The club has been succeeding wildly since, as it has grown to 260 chapters around the world in 31 countries. In a typical chapter meeting, members read whatever book they’ve brought for an hour silently. After, they share what they casually share what they learned. For now, they’ve gone virtual.

4. translated Fiction ONline Book CLub

This weekly Zoom series is run by six European publishing houses. The participating houses switch off presenting a book from their catalogs to their audience. Their first call is today, March 26. The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke is being presented, a family drama set before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

5. Quarantine Book Club

Image result for quarantine book club

image via quarantine book club

The Quarantine Book Club has been using the increased time indoors to their full advantage. Every weekday since March 16, t, the club has hosted two Zoom talks each day with varying authors. Erika Hall and Mike Monteiro, two designers who live in San Francisco, founded the book club when their work opportunities dried up; their audience soon expanded beyond the circle of friends they’d imagined taking part in.

In an interview with TIME, Monteiro says, “People want human connection. They’re bored, they’re freaked out. So you get on here and you talk to somebody who’s really good in their field.”

Monteiro seems to be onto something. Hundreds of people have been paying the small admissions fees to listen to authors and ask them questions. The Quarantine Book Club plans to run twice a day for however long the quarantine lasts, with proceeds going to the authors as well as Monteiro and Hall’s design studio. The science fiction author and journalist Cory Doctorow will be featured on April 1.


Of course, beyond any of these options, there’s no better time to organize your own book club. Reach out to some book-loving friends and see what you can create! With a bit of ambition and a good wifi connection, just about any sort of book club can still be made possible.

feature image via book giving day

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Inspirational Doctor and Author Has Six Tips For Productive Quarantine

Judy Ho, Ph. D., ABPP, ABPdN is a licensed and triple board-certified Clinical Neuropsychologist based in Los Angeles, a tenured Associate Professor at Pepperdine University, podcast host, and published author. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, she’s also a regular on the set of The Doctors. Inspirational both in her achievements, and her extensive resumé, she’s here with six amazing tips to help you adjust to the new normal!

Image result for dr judy ho

image via DR JUDY HO

The COVID-19 pandemic has a lot of us grappling with fear, stress, anxiety, grief, and feelings of being overwhelmed. With the new directives to practice social distancing (maintaining > 6 feet of physical distance from other people, or avoiding direct contact with people or objects—no hugs or handshakes—in public places during the current coronavirus outbreak to minimize exposure and reduce the transition of infection), we are urged to work from home, avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, and do so to protect ourselves and the larger community.

These directives, while imperative and clearly necessary, have direct tolls on our mental and physical health in addition to our growing fears of the unknown and the fact that news updates seem to present an everchanging picture each day. With no specific end in sight, the unknowns of how long this new normal will last and what it will look like as the situation unfolds is bound to cause heightened anxiety. Unknowns are very stressful for the human mind. We want to feel in control of our lives, as the more we feel is in our control, the more our chances for survival increases. The social distancing directives isolate from others, and we know that loneliness and perceived dissatisfaction with social interactions can wreak havoc on our well-being. Being in one place most or all of the time will also lead us to experience symptoms of cabin fever, lethargy, sadness, problems concentrating, irritability, feelings of being stuck, claustrophobia, and difficulty dealing with minor stressors.

To help us cope, here are some evidence-based tips on how we can make the most of these times, attend to our mental and physical wellness, and stay productive and motivated.

1. Take deep breaths and combat defeatist thinking

In these unprecedented times, it is easy to lose hope or feel absolutely inefficacious about how you can improve the circumstances. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the challenges, take deep breaths. This resets your brain and body and tells it to chill out and veer away from a state of emergency or fight or flight. Then, manage any negative, catastrophic thinking. Thoughts are just mental events and not necessarily reflective of the truth, even when it feels that way! Try this evidence-based technique from the ACT literature called defusion. Whatever negative or catastrophic thought you are having, put the clause, “I am having the thought that …” in front of it. This takes the wind out of the sails of that negative thought just enough for you to feel more proactive and in charge of your life. So “I won’t be able to survive this” becomes “I am having the thought that I won’t be able to survive this.” This simple exercise of distancing from harmful thoughts without trying to change them is extremely helpful in helping to curb subsequent negative emotional or behavioral reactions.


2. Accept negative feelings and thoughts, and let them be

You are bound to have negative emotions right now, and one of them may be grief. Grief can be conjured not only be fears of death and dying (and this pandemic certainly has aroused that existential fear in many of us), but it can be about saying goodbye to a former type of lifestyle, the end of a job or career, the fracturing of relationships; all of which are possible outcomes many are dealing with during this uncertain time. Rather than grief processing occurring in stages, I actually think it’s a circle of grief. People don’t move linearly. When we grieve, we bounce back and forth between depression, denial, anger, acceptance, and bargaining. One day you might feel accepting of the situation, the next day when a news story hits, you are back to experiencing anger. And that emotional swing can be tough to manage, so we have to be kind to ourselves and allow these feelings to happen. Know that they are normal and that they won’t last forever. The more you struggle with feelings the longer they linger, but if you accept them as normal and fact, they tend to dissipate easier.

3. Find creative ways to socially engage

We are social animals and we need meaningful social engagement. We can do this by making sure we touch base with loved ones in real life by calls or video chat. This can be additionally bolstered by having a shared experience. For example, eat lunch or dinner with a loved one over video chat. Watch a movie together while on video chat and share commentary and opinions about the film during or after. Make sure you do this a few times a week.

4. Open the shades (and get outside)

Whenever possible, try to get outside, even for a few minutes a day, to take in the fresh air and the outdoors. Research shows this is especially effective in the morning hours to align with human beings’ circadian rhythm which can also help promote better quality sleep. If you are unable to get outside, open the shades. This can help ward off claustrophobia and boost your mood.


5. Avoid binge-watching anything (or binge video game-playing)

It would be so easy to pass the time with hours of Netflix or Call of Duty. But doing this can actually lead to feelings of depression and hopelessness, according to research. Limit yourself to two hours per day for video and media consumption. This would include leisure shows, the news, and social media.

6. Keep a routine

Routines are comforting to the human mind. Make sure you devise a daily routine that mimics what you did prior to social distancing directives. This means getting up at the same hour every day (set an alarm clock if you need to), showering and getting dressed as if you were going to work outside the home (and direct your children to do the same), and having “work hours” when you focus on industrious activities and “home hours” where you focus on family togetherness and relaxation.

feature image via usatoday

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E-Bookstore Launched To Support NYC Booksellers

Booksellers across New York City have found themselves unemployed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Although this news is troubling, booksellers have banded together against the odds and have launched an online bookstore. The Bookstore At The End Of The World allows customers to purchase books online from established bookstores in New York.


Under the URL of, the e-bookstore was launched to raise money for indie bookstores. Through the website, booksellers are able to display a collection of purchasable books. Every book purchased goes towards the total amount of money raised for these local bookstores, which is equally split among the booksellers. The best news is, purchased books will be shipped right to your door!


Image Via Inc. Magazine


I had the opportunity to reach out to Jeff Waxman, the project coordinator. Waxman writes, “… the biggest success here was meeting a bunch of talented, thoughtful booksellers and giving them a place to be what they are.” Waxman continues to write about his experience through this community of booksellers.


Cheryl Sucher, Waxman’s colleague, refers to him as, “a force of nature.” She proceeds to write about the influence this pandemic has had on booksellers. Sucher closes with this statement, “Now Jeff Waxman has created a tool by which they can find that wisdom in one place on line, purchase the recommended books and not only support the independents but the booksellers themselves. Genius.”

It’s wonderful to know a community like this exists and I hope this will inspire booksellers around the world to come together during this time of isolation.


Featured Image Credited To Chad Felix


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