A buddy read is when you read a book at the same time as someone else so you can discuss it–either during the process or once you’ve finished.
Think of a buddy read as a mini-book club with more flexibility and less pressure.
On Goodreads, the Nothing But Reading Challenge Group classifies different types of buddy reads: Buddy Read, Relaxed Buddy Read, Informal Buddy Read, Read and Watch Buddy Read, and Cookbook Buddy Read.
For instance, with a Read and Watch Buddy Read, you read a book and then watch its movie or television adaptation with a buddy.
There is no “How To” guide for these type of challenges. You set your own timeline. You set your own rules.
Why participate in buddy reads at all?
Why Buddy Reads?
Buddy Reads Help You Meet Your Book Goals
Time is scarce.
You get home from a long day of work and face your other personal responsibilities head on. It’s late. You have an hour or two before you go to bed.
You want to read. Really, you do. After all, you set a lofty book goal for the year. Perhaps you even joined a 2021 reading challenge.
But you’re tired. So, so tired.
Netflix and chill sounds better and better. Torn, you gaze at the book next to you. Tomorrow, you say, as you gingerly pat its cover. I’ll read you tomorrow.
Tomorrow comes, and the cycle repeats itself.
Listen, I love Netflix (and all the streaming services out there). But I love to read, too.
Sometimes we need a little extra motivation. Buddy reads hold you accountable. If you know your buddy is out there getting their share of the work done, you’ll be less likely to slack and watch reruns of The Office for the 10th time and more likely to pick up that book!
Buddy Reads Build a Sense of Community
You finally finish that book you’ve been reading for weeks! You are ELECTRIFIED!
Thoughts swarm your brain. You want to talk about it. Plot twists. Cold cases. Family sagas. That unreliable narrator you love to hate.
You ask around IRL and social media. Have you read it? All you hear is crickets.
Maybe you do what I do and post a short review on social media. And that’s it. It ends there.
With a buddy read, you experience a book with a fellow book lover. You get to share your thoughts and opinions on the material with an actual human being. There’s nothing worse than being excited about reading material but not having anyone to talk to about it.
Buddy Reads Help With Memory and Comprehension
You’ll forget the details of most of the books you read. Yes, you’ll remember that crazy plot or an unforgettable character. But with time, the nuances of a text are lost.
When you participate in a buddy read, you share an experience. For that reason, you’re more likely to remember the details of a book.
Guided reading improves comprehension, even if you’re reading for pleasure. Buddy reads force you to think.
All those notes and thoughts you jot down to share with your buddy? Those help you organize the main concepts of a text.
The simple act of writing down these notes allows you to explore a text further. And the act of sharing your notes with your buddy cements the nuances of the text in your memory.
Besides, depending on your book buddy, there are potential global perspectives to be gleaned from different texts.
Buddy Reads Are Fun!
Reading along with a buddy is fun!
Depending on the book you choose, you get to geek out over it with someone else. Bibliophiles love to geek out over fictional worlds.
If you love books, you love talking about books.
This is just another way to spice things up and discuss your bookish adventures.
Meet new friends! If can’t find a book buddy in real life, put out a call on Instagram, FB, or Twitter. Ask around on Goodreads. Goodreads hosts over 13,000 book clubs each year.
People are always looking for reading buddies!
Why My 2021 Is the Year of the Buddy Read
I’m tired of having no one to talk to about the books I’m reading. When I’m feeling especially desperate, I bug my husband or put out feelers on Instagram.
Covid makes in-person book clubs a no-go. So, I turn to buddy reads in 2021.
To be honest, I’ve been stuck in my own head with literary ghosts for far too long. This gets me out of my head and back to socializing more. What better way to socialize than over a book?
This month, I’m buddy reading The Golden Compass with my son Frederick. We intend on finishing by the end of January. Once we have both read the book, we will review it together (here and on IGTV).
HBO taunts us with season 2 of its adaptation of His Dark Materials.
We’ll watch the show and compare/contrast with the book. Until then, I’m left drooling…
For February, my IRL bestie and I plan to do another buddy read. I told her to pick the book. Our reading tastes are similar. I can’t wait to see what she’s picked out for us!
Some of the reasons you ought to participate in a buddy read:
- Help you meet your book goals.
- Build a sense of community.
- Boost memory and comprehension.
- Have fun!
If you’re looking for a book buddy, reach out to me on Instagram @jenjburt_mamabookworm or Twitter @jenjburt. My goal is to read with a different book buddy each month for the rest of 2021.
***Featured image credit goes to Gaelle Marcel. Beautiful photo, Gaelle!