You know that feeling when you read a good book and your heart is absolutely bursting and all you want to do is shout and cry about it with someone? Or maybe you’re reading a trashy book and want to roast the hell out of it with another reader. Yeah, reading can be a pretty lonely activity, which is why I love reading with other people!
It feels amazing to have someone reading a book along with you and discussing everything you’re excited or disappointed about with them When I first learnt about the concept I went a bit haywire and enthusiastically took part in a number of group reads and book clubs. Not the best idea I had.
In my excitement I didn’t realise that buddy reads and group reads have their own cons. No sir, it wasn’t until I was caught up in some fails and uncomfortable situations did I learn my lesson. I don’t know if it was mere bad luck or the fact that I was still new to the concept, but over time I’ve gotten better at choosing when to take part and when to step back from buddy reads and group reads. I can’t always guarantee an exciting time and a great group read but I like to think that I’ve got the hang of it to get the most out of these experiences.
I know a lot of people feel group or buddy reads are not for them or they’ve been disappointed too many times so I decided to give my expert advice. When I mean expert advice I mean I’ve stopped struggling with my buddy reads so I deem my status as intermediate enough to give people tips 🙂
NOTE: If you’ve buddy read with me before, especially in the past year I’m in no way calling you out, haha. These are just lessons I’ve learnt from my initial group reads!
5 Tips to Get the Best Out of Buddy Reads and Group Reads
1. Set your expectations and pacing!
Nobody in this universe is an AI who can read your mind. You can’t tell what other people have in mind for their reading experiences and neither can they. The most important thing when planning for a group read is to lay out your expectations clearly.
When do you plan to start reading the book? At what pace do you plan on reading and is everyone at the same pace? Do you want to set the number of chapters you’ll be reading in a day? Do you foresee any events or plans in the duration of the buddy read that might impede your progress?
Questions like these can give everyone involved a clear idea and bring all readers on the same page. Honestly, by now these are my absolute basics and maybe it’s because I’m an organisation hoe but knowing all this stuff sets up for a good buddy read, in my opinion.
2. Read a book or two on the side
I am basically an overexcited bunny when it comes to reading. I can be so restless and eager to know what’s going happen next that I often end up finishing the entire book way before my friends do. It takes out half the fun when you and your friends aren’t at a similar pace and I honestly don’t want to be the one to ruin a buddy read so I pick up another book or two on the side. I try picking up books that I know I’m excited to read so I can switch to them in case I’m running ahead on the book I’m buddy reading.
3. Choose your buddies with care
What I want to say is don’t just join random group reads. I mean yes, you can go ahead and take a chance if you want but I personally feel more comfortable in groups of people I know and am friends with. Most of my buddy reads are with friends so I don’t shy away from sending excited voice notes to them. This one time I absolutely fell in love with a book that a group was reading but I didn’t know anyone well enough to deeply discuss the book with. And well, that defeats the entire purpose of reading with other people.
4. Be constant with progress updates
Update others in your buddy read with your reading progress. Not only does this initiate conversation but everyone gets a bit of nudge and you can see whether you’re ahead or behind others. I also like keeping up continuous discussions. I don’t stick to just a single discussion at the end of the read, I usually talk about my reactions while I read the book, keeping them spoiler free if my friends are behind me. It’s just so much fun and incites lots of gifs and jokes and rambling thoughts that make my day 🙂
5. Choose a book you’re really excited for
I think this mostly goes without saying but sometimes we’re too excited at the prospect of reading a book with others that we end up reading a book weren’t that interested in. This also applies to joining book clubs and losing interest in them over time. Or if you’re a mood reader like me you might just not be in the mood for the book at that particular time. Oh what fun it is to be a mood reader!
Do you enjoy buddy reads and group reads?
What are your tips and tricks to have an exciting buddy read?
Tell me about a book you had a fun time buddy reading or one you want to buddy read in the future.