Reading with friends

This episode is part of a #podcollab with the Reading Women Podcast. This week both of our shows are releasing an episode about social reading. We think Friendlier listeners will love hearing from Kendra and Autumn as they “reclaim half the bookshelf” and discuss books by or about women. Be sure to listen to their episodes, follow their beautifully curated Instagram feed, and subscribe to their show! Life lately

Abby is thankful the snow has finally melted, while Sarah regrets that she caused a glass casserole dish to explode in her kitchen.

Reading lately

Abby listened to, and highly recommends, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, a YA novel about a white police officer shooting and killing an unarmed black teenager during a traffic stop. We also discussed this book during our reading round-up episode in December.

Sarah read Heating and Cooling: 52 Micromemoirs by Beth Ann Fennelly, which she found through Anne Bogel’s episode of The Best of Both Worlds.


Social Reading

Do you consider reading to be a solitary or social activity? We discuss our experiences in book clubs–both virtual and in-person, how we use social media as it relates to reading, and what we love about talking with friends about books.

Books we mentioned in this episode:

We also have an exciting announcement: We are launching the Friendlier Reading Experience! If you would like to join a virtual book club of your very own, fill out this form. We’ll group you with four or five other listeners and give you a virtual book club guide with information to help make your club a success. We can’t wait to connect you all with each other. (Special thank to listener Allison for encouraging us to develop this idea!)

Eating lately

Sarah is buying pistachios and blueberries for HP’s lunch in an effort to make it more enticing.

Abby ate countless sugar cookies and has no regrets.

If you’d like to join in the conversation, please leave us a comment, email us at, or find us on Instagram @friendlierpodcast. Thanks for listening!

5 thoughts on “Reading with friends

  1. This question if for Abby: do you finish books for book club if you are not enjoying them? I was part of a book club where I live, but have decided it wasn’t the best fit for a number of reasons. However, one reason was that I didn’t want to spend the time reading a book that I didn’t like/wasn’t interested in when there were so many books that I wanted to read instead and had limited time. Do you just not participate in that meeting? I feel the pressure to need to read all the books picked, but then find myself getting resentful.


    1. Sometimes I do read them if I don’t REALLY hate them and sometimes I don’t read them, but I always try them. If I don’t finish them, sometimes I just go to the part of the virtual book club that is the social catch up part, or just go and listen. Neither of the in-person book clubs I’ve participated in are strict about reading, so that helps. Like Sarah said on the ep, I think there is a thoughtful way to participate even if you haven’t read the book and for me that mostly looks like listening and maybe asking a couple of questions. Often I have read enough of the book that I can still contribute a bit. I think it also depends on the group you’re in and how much people expect to talk about the book vs. just socialize in general. Either way, I think it’s no good to feel resentful of a book so I fully support you quitting if you hate it 🙂 -Abby


  2. I’ve been meaning to come back and comment again on this episode because I loved it so much!!! I have always been a book club junkie, and have founded 5 different ones–pretty much one in each location where we have lived–with varying levels of success. Some have absolutely flopped, but the one from Nashville morphed into the virtual book club I do with Abby which been going strong for 8 years now. I’m currently also active in 3 in-person book clubs and occasionally participate in 2 others.

    I think social reading is so important to me for a couple of reasons. I often have very deep emotional experiences when I am reading, and I want to share those with other people, especially people who are important to me. When that happens I want to convince all my close friends to read the same book, though, not necessarily all the folks in my book clubs! The other reason is that social reading in a book club feels like this amazing opportunity to continue learning as an adult, where I get to (sometimes) pick the topic, read an amazing book, have a deep discussion with other people, and never have to take a test or write a paper! It’s a win-win! Of course that is more true with nonfiction, and some folks in my book clubs really hate nonfiction ¯_(ツ)_/¯. All joking aside, even with a novel, I often find after a book club discussion I learn something about the book I completely missed, and I have thus gained a new perspective and insight into the book and/or myself. I love that about discussing books with others.

    In the last two years, I’ve enjoyed the social aspect of participating in the yearly Book Riot Read Harder Challenges with one other friend, and following the Goodreads groups around the challenges. It has pushed me to read outside my comfort zone, as well as just generally to read more. I’ve found (as Jim Trelease states in the Read Aloud Handbook), reading is a muscle. The more I do it, the better I get and the more I want to do it. My husband and I both read over 100 books in 2017 for the first time in years, which I know means we definitely spent less time watching TV or just mindlessly staring at our phones (though we still do spend plenty of time doing those things). My husband has chosen to do the “Beat the Backlist” challenge where he reads books he has owned for years and yet still hasn’t read. I’ll post links to both below in case other listeners are interested!

    Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2018

    Beat the Backlist 2018

    This Modern Mrs Darcy 2018 Reading Challenge has a shorter list than the Book Riot, but still with the same type of thought-provoking categories:


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