I’ve seen these lovely turquoise Literati Book Club boxes around, but this subscription book club didn’t really catch my eye until I found out about the fantastic authors and luminaries that curate their selections.
When I was offered the opportunity to review a Literati box, I jumped at the chance. So, before we start — thank you to Literati, the sponsors of this post, for the opportunity to review the book club and for the free 1-month subscription to Literati!
Literati is a monthly book club curated by luminaries (such as Susan Orlean, Roxanne Gay, Elin Hilderbrand, Stephen Curry, etc.) where you receive one book each month and can discuss it with your fellow book clubbers (on the Literati phone app or through their browser-based version).
- Choose from curated selections from a variety of luminaries (basically, world leaders, celebrities and authors)
- Well-designed, easy to use, very active discussion forum. Mark your progress to prevent spoilers by limiting discussion to only parts you’ve read!
- Get access to discussion for all the book selections (not just the book you picked)
- Access to some live discussions (generally a 1-on-1 discussion between the luminary and the author of the book they selected)
- While I don’t think this replaces a reliable in-person book club, it can be a great addition to your other book club
What’s in the box?
Your monthly Literati book club pick gets shipped in these cute, recyclable boxes.
Inside, it contains the book, a bookmark, a note from your Luminary about that book selection and a booklet with an overview of all the books for that month.
As for the book discussion itself, that all takes place on the Literati App or the browser-based discussion forums.
Who curates the Literati Book Club selections?
There are plenty of options in terms of the luminaries to suit a variety of tastes, genres and moods. I’ve displayed the list (below) as of September 2021, but new luminaries are added over time, so check their website to stay up to date for any new additions!
My personal favorite is Susan Orlean. Her selections tend to be popular titles that lean towards being more literary and complex. She also has such a thoughtful mix of newer titles and a handful of backlist-type books mixed in which makes for a great reading experience.
That said, if you’re not in the mood for what’s been selected by your luminary for that month, you can switch your “primary book club” (e.g. the club from which you’ll be receiving your book for that month) at any time to see the selection from any of these luminaries:
To get an idea of the book options, here’s a handful of the October selections:
Why Join Literati?
The Fantastic, Curated Book Selection! My favorite thing about Literati is the stellar book selection. Just glancing over the list of books, I see so many I know are fantastic books.
Also, a frustration for me as far as book clubs go is when the book we’re reading really isn’t one that I’m interested in. As mentioned before, the nice thing about the Literati subscription is that you can switch over to another luminary (as your “primary book club”) at any time if you’d rather have that one instead.
Thorough, Active Book Discussions As much as I love my book club, there’s definitely some discussions that are stronger than others (often depending on who and how many people managed to read the book). With Literati, that won’t be a problem. With an active place to converse about the selections, you can be sure to find a thorough and satisfying discussion for the book you’ve read.
A Book Club for Your Busy Schedule If you’re tired of reading a book for a book club only to realize that work is too busy and you can’t make the book club meeting, then Literati is for you. Discuss whenever it’s convenient for you.
Who Should Skip This?
Book Collectors should be aware that while these are high-quality hardcover books, most of them appear to be book club editions of the book (so there’s a circle logo/label printed on the cover). And note that these are not signed editions.
For people who are happy with their in-person book clubs, I would probably only recommend Literati in addition to as opposed to as a replacement for your in-person book club. Ultimately, while the book discussions are very solid, I don’t think it fully replaces all the friendship and comradery that comes from a group of close friends reading together.
People who like “lighter” reads may have a harder time finding books they like. Some luminaries (like Elin Hilderbrand) offer up a few, but I hope Literati brings on a few more luminaries that’ll rope in a few more quicker reads or beachy feel-good type books. The current selections lean more towards serious/literary titles. They keep adding new luminaries though, so this may be less of an issue over time!
Literati would be great book club option for a lot of people, and I would definitely recommend at least checking it out for a month (it’s less than $30 a month) if you think it might be up your alley.
The main draws for me would be the excellent selection of books, the very active discussions, and the flexibility of it all. I imagine that it would be a good primary book club for people who haven’t found or are too busy for an in-person book club, and a great supplement for anyone who just reads a lot of books in general.
I’d love to see them implement some more robust features on their discussion forums. For example, they could try something similar to how commenters on Reddit can gain Karma or awards that are displayed on their profile. It’d also be nice to display things like top-voted comments on profiles as well so people can show off.
Overall, I don’t know of a better online book club subscription for people who like more literary-type, thoughtful books. Literati is still fairly new, too, so I’m sure there’s more good stuff in store in the future, and I’m interested to see how it develops!