Call it a reading renaissance, call it a product of BookTok, but whatever the reason, book clubs are popping up all over the metro, and Little Rock bibliophiles have their pick of the bunch.
Whether you're looking for lively discussions, no talking at all or even tips for hosting your own book club, we've got you covered. Read on.
BOOKSTORES + CALS
Central Arkansas Library System
There's no better place to start than the library. CALS facilitates several book clubs across its 15-branch system. Here are just a few, but ask your local branch for more insight and meetings.
• True Stories Book Club reads nonfiction books including true crime, biographies/memoirs, self-help, current events and social sciences/politics. Their meetings take place at Nixon Library on the second Thursday of every month.
• Nixon Book Buddies Book Club reads both fiction and nonfiction books, meeting on the third Thursday of every month at Nixon Library.
• Short Form is a virtual short story group that discusses two short stories every month via Zoom on the last Tuesday of the month.
• And for the kiddos, the Get Lit Book Club for middle school-aged children meets weekly at Williams Library.
For more CALS club info, click here.
Paper Hearts Bookstore
This Pettaway shop only opened its brick-and-mortar space this year, but it's already deep in the book club game. Owner Beth Quarles notes that all clubs are no-pressure, no commitment is necessary and you can share what you want, when you want. "Book friends are the best of friends," she says, "and we love to see book friendships form."
• Silent Book Club is just what it sounds like. BYO book and enjoy some quiet reading surrounded by others doing the same, as well as an optional social time during the last 15 minutes. This club meets the last Monday of the month from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Pettaway Coffee.
• Paper Hearts Book Club has a structure that changes every other month. For example, October's pick is a book with a social justice focus/theme. November's pick is "Firekeeper's Daughter," chosen by Quarles. December will be another theme, January will be an owner pick and so on. The group meets every second Thursday from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at The Commons at Pettaway, and you get 10% off books for this club when you shop at Paper Hearts.
• Cookbook Club is held in partnership with Sterling Market and features different unique cookbooks while Sterling chefs bring a few of the recipes to the table. Cookbook Club launched in September and will meet every other month. This is a ticketed event with limited spots.
• Silenced Stories focuses on banned books and will launch in November. More info is coming soon, but the group will meet the first Wednesday of the month.
For more info, visit or contact Paper Hearts.
Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing
Set in the Dunbar neighborhood, Pyramid works with and facilitates several local book clubs, including:
• Sistahs of Maumelle, led by Wilma Harvey
• Akili Muata, led by Jackie Young
• Arts & Letters, led by Ashely Swain through the Little Rock Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
• The CEO Book Club, led by Tammy Rose through the Chi Eta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
For more info, visit or contact Pyramid.
This bookshop currently hosts two book clubs in its Heights location.
• A general interest club meets every other month to discuss books voted on by attendees. The group just wrapped up "True Grit" by Charles Portis, and the next meeting will be in November.
• A banned book club is also held every other month on the first Thursday. The next meeting is Thursday, Nov. 2, and the book is "Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale."
For more info and to sign up, click here.
Somewhere between the well-oiled library clubs and the sporadic meetups your aunt hosts are these public community clubs that are always looking for new members. A few include:
• Bark Bar Book Club covers all genres with fellow dog lovers on the first Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. For the Oct. 4 meeting, attendees will be selecting upcoming books.
• BookEnds is for you if you love discussing reads over food and drinks. The next meetup is Oct. 10 at Vino's to talk "Practical Magic."
• A Brunch to Die For is for the true crime lovers out there who also love a good brunch. This monthly group is currently reading "The Truth About Belle Gunness" and will gather next on Oct. 28.
• BYOB Book Club and Exchange is hosted by Bang-Up Betty in Argenta. There is no assigned book for the group, but attendees are encouraged to share about what they're currently reading and bring a favorite to swap. The next meetup is Oct. 7, and they're typically every other month, but keep an eye on social media for following dates.
• Little Rock Book Club is "a group of girls who love to get together, drink wine and occasionally talk about books." Recent past reads include "None of This is True," "The Paris Daughter" and "Happy Place."
• Little Rock Women Reading the Classics dips into the past to discuss some of the world's most popular titles each month over coffee, whether you've read them before or not. Next up is "The Phantom of the Opera" on Oct. 14.
Reminder: This is just a small sampling of the book clubs meeting around town, especially when you factor in various religious groups, organizations and private meetings among friends. If none of the above sound quite like what you're looking for, just ask around! Every reader loves an invitation to talk about what they're reading, and most members are more than happy to talk about their club, too.
HOW TO HOST YOUR OWN BOOK CLUB
There's no such thing as too many book clubs. If you're interested in creating your own, we caught up with the pros at CALS for some helpful tips on getting started.
Building a book club:
• Typically, 10-15 people is a good number for a book club — not so many that meetings last for hours, but just enough so that if someone can’t make it, you still have a nice group at each discussion. That’s also a good number to produce a wide variety of opinions, which makes for good discussion.
• It’s important to consider personalities when creating a club. Some people might want to take the reading assignment very seriously while others are just looking for a fun excuse to hang out with friends.
Meeting frequency and format:
• Some book clubs meet every month, some take breaks in the summer, some clubs meet three to six times per year and everything in between. Find what works for you.
• Depending on the frequency of meetings, some clubs meet once after everyone has finished the book, or break the book up and have multiple discussions based on what has been read so far.
• If you're finding it seemingly impossible to get everyone together, consider a tech savvy approach. Some groups have discussions virtually or even via a message board, such as a Facebook group or another app.
• A good rule of thumb is to choose your next book at least six weeks in advance in order to give everyone enough time to acquire the book and read it.
Hosting bonus: It's no secret that book clubs pair well with wine. If you want to keep the themes going, Colonial Wines & Spirits has a whole guide to matching book genres with bottles and even a few literary-inspired cocktail recipes. Find it here.
So you decided to start your own book club. Congrats! One piece to consider is how you'll get your copies of your next great read. As always, we strongly suggest shopping local, and it turns out our neighbors are making it even easier for clubbers.
• The Book Store: While this NLR shop doesn't currently host any clubs (but hopes to in the future), it does supply books for several clubs. Simply provide your list of upcoming books and how many you need, and they'll have copies ready when you need them. For more info, visit or contact The Book Store.
• CALS Book Club Kits: Libraries never cease to amaze, and these kits definitely make hosting smoother (and cheaper). Kits include 10 paperback copies of a book, a discussion guide and a canvas tote. Kits check out for six weeks with no renewals, and they suggest reserving your next book title at least three months in advance, or earlier if you’re wanting a specific title for a specific month, since availability is limited. To see what books are available (more than 350 titles!) and register for your own kit, click here.
• Paper Hearts: Book clubs receive discounts when they order copies through the shop, and can even use the Paper Hearts space outside of operating hours for $25 an hour. For inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org
• WordsWorth: Many local clubs also source copies through WordsWorth and receive discounts in the process. They also highlight the clubs' selections in the store, which can be helpful if you're on the hunt for a new group to join.
Have a club to add? Send details and links to email@example.com.
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