Brilliant book clubs in London
Got a shameful collection of unread books? Members of Rebel Book Club have collectively read 2.5 million pages and say they’ve massively upped their reading intake since joining. Created after founders Ben Keene and Ben Saul-Garner failed to find a club encouraging them to read non-fiction, the group tasks members to study 12 works of non-fiction a year, touching on everything from the dark web to the future of education. Each month they discuss the chosen texts in secret venues across the city, while sipping bespoke cocktails. Books and booze? Yes please!
In less than three years, Black Girls Book Club has grown from a brunch where women of colour gathered to chat books over mimosas into mammoth events. Their talks and debates have taken place at venues like the Houses of Parliament and included icons like Roxane Gay and Malorie Blackman. Set up by best friends Melissa Cummings-Quarry and Natalie A Carter, it flouts the rules of conventional lit events, ditching panel talks for author Q&As and even raves, all the while decolonising the bookshelf and creating a safe space for Black women to connect over books.
On the first Wednesday of every month, the stage at legendary Camden venue The Dublin Castle is reserved for literary rock stars. Rather than mosh pits and head-banging, at the Rock N Roll Book Club you’ll find a more erudite group ready to discuss books with a musical bent and listen to a banging DJ set inspired by the tuneful text. Attendees have previously been treated to author Q&As with Squeeze’s founding member and songwriter Chris Difford and a conversation with Celeste Bell, the daughter of punk icon Poly Styrene. Old, new, cult or classic – any musical book is up for discussion. The nights have proved so popular, they now run a second shindig at The Union Club in Soho. The evening ends when the last person leaves the dancefloor.
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