No time to join a book club that meets regularly over food and drink? Think about joining one online.
Meet GoodReads. Create a free account at the site (www.goodreads.com) or sign on with your Facebook or Twitter accounts. Once registered, you can talk about what you are reading with friends, maybe even with strangers.
The GoodReads website allows you to create your own "library" and fill it with books that you select, review and rate. You can also join or start your own book club and find links to thousands of author web sites.
To establish your own library, enter a book title on their search field and if the book is available at Amazon, the official cover and book description pops up. (If not, you can enter your book manually.) You can then rate the book by giving it from one to five stars, note the day you began reading, mark it as currently reading or as read and the date when you finished. Then there's also a field where you can write as brief or as long a description as you want.
Once you describe 20 books, the site can automatically offer suggestions for titles you can try based on your reading history. I haven't listed that many books yet, as I'm only entering the books I'm currently reading. This is a great feature for existing book clubs if they need to find new options.
You can join the endless number of groups already listed online or start one of your own. Just name and describe the group, elect your privacy settings, and you're all set. Hundreds of book groups are already established and reading genres include everything from fun to paranormal-romance. No shortage of options. If you join via Facebook or other social networking site, you can invite your friends along.
I belong to the Books on the Nightstand reader's group, the weekly podcast where the leaders recommends upcoming books and talk about book-ish subjects. I get the updated discussion posts on my email (but you can opt out of those if you wish). This month is the 50th anniversary of William Faulkner's death, so they're reading Faulkner. I'm currently reading the most recent Sue Grafton novel. I risk literary whiplash to switch to a Faulkner book now, as my reading rpm will gear down abruptly to survive the transition. Should I wait to join in next month or open my copy of Light in August? I'm undecided.
Have a favorite author? Neil Gaiman, James Patterson, Elmore Leonard and Meg Cabot are among the most popular of the 41,000 others listed. (To find the list, search for the Author program at the very bottom of the home page and select the link to View all authors.) Not only will you find their books and links to their web sites, you can also find other discussion groups based on their books. Who knows, maybe you'll become best friends with your favorite author, like a literary Rupert Pupkin. Or not.
The author's program encourages new writers who want to promote their books too, so if you're a writer, check it out. Unpublished, but hankering to share some writing? Follow the writing link on your GoodReads profile page and post away.
Book fans will find something engaging on the site. Just don't let it consume too much of your reading time.