This story was first published in KCUR’s Creative Adventure newsletter. You can sign up to get stories like this delivered to your inbox every Tuesday.
Have you ever dived into a really good book, finished it, and then had the urge to tell everyone you know about it?
Well, if that’s you — and your friends don’t want to hear something they’ve never read — don’t worry. No matter what genre you like, Kansas City has plenty of book clubs that are more than happy to indulge your obsession.
Many of them have started meeting in person again (go away, COVID), which is a plus.
There are too many Kansas City book groups to count, but here’s an incomplete list to get you started:
Spread the local love
The Kansas City Book Club is designed for bookworms who also enjoy supporting local businesses. Once a month, a club leader chooses two books, in different genres, for members to choose from – or you can read both if you want!
Then, at the end of the month, the club chooses a regional bar or restaurant where it would like to meet. To join the Kansas City Book Club, simply request to join their Facebook group and follow their updates.
BLACK + BROWN, a small black-owned bookstore located on 39th Street in Midtown, has a couple of book club options, designed primarily for readers of color. The bookstore itself is a small business, so joining one of their book clubs or purchasing books from them is a great way to support their mission.
BLK + BRWN’s Feminist Book Club focuses on the lived experiences of Black women and the intersections between Blackness, femininity, and feminism. Members read books by black and brown authors and discuss them (virtually) once a month. This book club is only accepting women of color at this point, but may expand to allies later.
The BLK + BRWN bookstore also has a neighborhood book club. The hybrid group meets sometimes in person and sometimes online, once a month, and reads and talks about the narrative of Black and brown. This group focuses on a wide range of genres. The ideal member is a person of color, but this group is not exclusive.
Bliss Wine and books it started out as a popup in 2019, but went entirely online when the pandemic hit. For anyone who enjoys pairing memoirs with merlots or romances with rosé, their Wines & Spines Book Club meets virtually on the first Wednesday of every month. Keep an eye out for their physical store, which is due to open this year on Gilham Road in Midtown.
Less talk, more silent reading
Would you like the camaraderie of a book club without all the chatter? If so, the Kansas City Silent Book Club is the place for you. The Silent Book Club meets monthly at various Kansas City restaurants and bars, including Afterword Tavern & Shelves or City Barrel Brewing Company.
Unlike most book clubs, members select their own book to read and each reads different books separately. At the beginning of the meeting, members are free to discuss what they are reading with each other. But once everyone settles in, the members pull out the books they’re working on and read — silently — together.
It pairs well with murder
Do you like a good thriller, true crime or mystery novel? This book club is for you. Wine and Crime Book Club meets once a month for brunch or dinner for their official meeting. Members vote on Facebook for a time and place, and future reading as well.
Most members get along so well that they also attend non-book events or do activities together, which are posted for the whole group to participate. To join the club, send a request to the Wines and Crimes Facebook group.
Your local library, the OG of book clubs
Not surprisingly, several branch libraries in the area have many book clubs to choose from. The best part is, you don’t have to go out and buy a book, you can borrow one!
The Mid-Continent Public Library has book clubs for readers of all ages. There are options for kids, tweens, teens, adults, and families. There are also different kinds of genres to choose from, such as Mystery Mondays at the South Independence location. And, if you can’t find a book group or genre to your liking, Mid-Continent will help you start your own book club.
To learn more about Mid-Continent’s many book clubs, visit the page linked here.
In Wyandotte County, the Kansas City, Kansas Public Library and its branches also have several book clubs to choose from.
For example, there is the Blended and Beautiful African American Book Club for adults and seniors. Meet virtually on Zoom. Or the Minecraft Book Club for third through sixth graders, which meets at West Wyandotte Library. To find other book clubs at the KCKPL, check out their calendar or click on this link.
The Kansas City Public Library and its branches have their fair share of book clubs, too. The North-East Book Group, which reads a wide range of genres, has been meeting for ten years. Sometimes they go on a school trip to meet at local bars. The Fantastic Voyages club meets in the southeast branch. They focus on books with deep storylines that build the world.
To browse some of the Kansas City Public Library’s book clubs, check out the webpage linked here.
Johnson County Library it also has a range of book clubs for all ages, plus the opportunity to create your own. At Central Resource Library, the Two Chapters Book Club is perfect for families with children ages 7 to 11.
A librarian will read aloud the first two chapters of a book, and then the children can decide if they want to check it out. The group meets on Wednesdays and there are also snacks and book-related activities for the participants.
Did we miss a book club? Please let us know by emailing [email protected].