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Chicago Public Library Unveils Virtual Book Club

By Lisa White in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 4, 2015 4:10PM

2015_2_3OneBook.jpg Although we crave lively discussion on our latest reading material, sometimes it is hard to find the right fit for a book club. Perhaps the places you've found aren't the right mix of readers or you've found a good group but it's simply too far away for regular visits. And maybe you crave diversity, finding readers outside your neighborhood and friendship circles to discuss deeper the art of literature. Chicago Public Library is hoping to help solve some of these problems and create a new way of book club thinking with the launch of their virtual book club program Monday.

This program will run with the latest One Book, One Chicago selection, Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. All it takes to participate is a library card. From now until May 3, readers can log on to the One Book, One Chicago website and read the book in sections, then discuss it with fellow bibliophiles across Chicago. The Reader put it best by saying "it will be just like a book club, except you can log out or block the person who's getting all slurry and ridiculous from too much booze, and you don't have to put on pants."

To keep a good rhythm going, the library will release the book in installments every two weeks, and those sections will be available to digest on your computer, phone or tablet. There will be six installments total. During scheduled "reading sprints" readers can take to Twitter to discuss the installment they just finished. One Book, One Chicago's Twitter account will host these events. The first one will be this Thursday, Feb. 5 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. The full schedule of those discussions are here.

This is the first of its kind of program for any library in the country and is an interesting way for libraries to move forward with engaging readers in a continually more digital age. Although we love to read old school by pulling out a paperback, we also love to chatter away on Twitter, so we look forward to the CPL helping us and others combine the best of both worlds.