When I joined #bookstagram in September, I heard the term ‘buddy read’ for the first time. I could imagine it was something like a book club, but other than that I had no idea what it was, how it worked and if it was something for me.
I was planning to read ‘A Little Life’ by Hanya Yanagihara in November, so when I stumbled upon a buddy read for the book, I asked if I could join. So for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working my way through A Little Life with the #readALLbynight hosted by @readerby_night.
Since I’ve seen more people wondering about what a buddy read is (and I wish I’d found a blog post like this when I was Googling, instead of just book reviews), I decided to share my experience.
What is a buddy read?
Ok, so a buddy read is practically the same thing as a book club.
You find a buddy (or buddies), pick a book, set sections, and after every section, you get together and discuss.
Instead of meeting at a café or someone’s house, you meet online. This can happen on an Instagram chat or Goodreads group, but our group got too big for an Instagram chat and was moved to a GroupMe chat.
How does a buddy read work?
Somebody decides they want to do a buddy read, and announces it.
Then, followers can ask to join the buddy read and the host adds them to a group.
Usually, those followers share their participation on Instagram too, and their followers can ask to join as well (that’s what happened when I joined #readALLbynight).
The host will decide on sections to read each week. We settled on about 30 pages a day.
And then you read. We have discussions every Saturday. Since our group is spread all over the world (from Australia to California), the discussion picks up in my afternoon (Europe), and can go until after I go to sleep.
We can send questions to the host to talk about on Saturday, but it’s usually an organic discussion and not everyone just waiting to answer questions the host throws out.
We don’t really have discussions during the week as not to spoil anyone, but we do share how we’re feeling about the book at that moment, or when we’re planning on reading, etc.
This is my first buddy read and I have the impression this is how most buddy reads work. Some may talk a little more during the week and some may go through a list of questions on discussion day, but those are just minor differences.
My experience with a buddy read
I love the idea of a buddy read. Especially with ‘A Little Life’ (which is very heartbreaking) it nice to have the emotional support and being able to talk to someone about it.
I love reading through the group’s remarks and notes, because they often realize things I hadn’t, or notice small connections, or are able to write down thoughts I wasn’t able to. It really adds to the experience of reading a book and helps take in the story.
You can’t really do that with reviews, because many people (including me) avoid talking about specific things so we don’t spoil, and others do spoil, but you don’t want things that haven’t happened yet to spoil, just talk about things you have read already.
Also, when someone in the group shares they’ve finished part 3 and their heart is breaking, it already gives me all the feels without even reading yet. It makes me excited about reading the book, that feeling when you’re longing for a book and getting lost in it, you know?
And, of course, connecting with a group of almost 30 avid readers is always great!
On the other hand, I don’t think buddy reads are for me.
- It’s hard to get back into the story after waiting a couple of days as to not read ahead. This morning, I read for an hour or two to finish this week’s section and I REALLY wanted to keep reading, but I don’t want to risk spoiling things for the group during our discussion.
- I’m reading another book in between so I have something to read when I’ve finished a section ahead of time (or when I want to read something else), but so far I’ve ended up not finishing any books in over three weeks, which is not great as a book blogger, lemme tell ya. I kinda feel… guilty when I read another book?
- You may know that I’m struggling with my health right now, and one of the reasons I started this blog is to be able to work on something without any pressure. While we don’t read massive amounts during the week, just the idea of HAVING to read is something that bothers me right now.
TL;DR? Right now, I just want to read a book as much and fast (or slow) as I feel like, but I really like having the insights from a group in our discussions.
Maybe it’s the facts that I can’t have too much going on at once right now, so I definitely want to try again in the future.
What’s your experience with a buddy read? Comment below and let me know!
P.S. Read my review of A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara here.