Reading Along: A Club for the Bookworm in You!

May 21, 2020 by University District

Literary finds with new friends

Spring is here, and the new season brings a fresh crop of exciting book launches to add to our reading list. Even better than squirreling into a good new read is discovering how books can spark and fuel healthy chats with family, friends, and fellow book lovers afterward! 

It’s no surprise then that community through clubs has created cherished connections between literary fans around the world.  From fostering lifelong friendships to expanding your understanding of what literature has to offer, book clubs can be a wonderful way to stay connected with a diverse community of readers and open yourself to new reads. 

With a little more time to enjoy a good book, University District is sharing some of our city’s book clubs and a must-read list from our team of book lovers.  Whether you’re looking for a suspenseful thriller, another sweeping slice of historical fiction, or are in the mood for an epic love story, you’re sure to find something on our list.

Time to move from the toasty shelter of our homes to our sun-soaked patios and nearby parks now that warmer days have arrived! Settle in, grab your reading glasses and get ready to devour your next literary find. 

From working every day and studying time to daily distractions like our phones and kids, finding time in a busy schedule for reading can be tough. U/D is here to help with these simple tips to help you get into the routine. Before you know it, you won’t be able to stop reading!


A Book Club For You: Like Birds of a Feather, Let’s Read Together! 

We’re sharing some local book clubs that are sure to please the bookworm in you. Let’s read on!

A Novel Idea

Whether it’s learning a new skill, reading classic and contemporary novels, diving into an autobiography or branching into fresh genres, A Novel Idea book club is the place to be!  

A monthly club open to all, this local easy-going and light-hearted group aims to spark conversations about books and authors in fun, fresh ways.

Here’s how it works: Every month, A Novel Idea selects a book for participants to read, reflect upon and review. Members read along at their own pace and those who choose to can meet for insightful conversation.

Calgary Public Library Book Clubs

 With monthly clubs that touch every literary genre possible and virtual clubs on the horizon, it’s no wonder U/D residents, neighbours and friends rave about Calgary Public Library (CPL) book clubs. From parent-and-child to teen to adult and senior clubs, CPL members can share in the pleasures of reading with fellow bookworms.  

While CPL book clubs and programs — such as its Book Club in a Bag — are temporarily suspended, there are plenty of other programs to enjoy including its Storytime at Home! 

Here’s how it works: Join Calgary librarians and even Mayor Naheed Nenshi as they read books and sing rhymes and songs. Follow along with these virtual storytimes any time, anywhere. It’s your very own family book club! Click here to get watching.

Calgary Women’s Literary Club

No small talk here, folks! At 114 years young, Calgary Women’s Literary Club is one of the city’s longest running book clubs where the focus is strictly on… books.  Started in 1906, the club serves as a meeting place for women with a love for prose. 

Each year the club chooses a different literary theme and during a handful of sessions, members present papers on authors and books relating to the theme chosen. This year’s theme is cultural awareness in literature! 

Calgary Women’s Literary Club isn’t for the faint of heart. If you’re seeking a women’s-only club that’s light and fun, consider Calgary Women’s Social Book Club! Join the group’s virtual June discussion on Into The Water by Paul Hawkins! Simply visit the club’s online meet up page here and request to join.

Here’s how it works: Members of Calgary Women’s Literary Club meet Tuesday afternoons in October and November, and again in March and April at Calgary’s Memorial Park Library where they mingle over refreshments and listen to presentations. All members are expected to present a paper every two years on an author whose work relates to the year’s literary theme. The membership fee is $40.00/year.

Tip: Looking for new school and old school ways to keep your kids entertained this season? Beyond reading a good book, check out these inspiring ideas.]

YYCSBC Silent Book Club

“No homework. No pressure!” That’s YYCSBC Silent Book Club’s motto. With no assigned reading, members of this club can focus on taking time out of their busy schedules to simply relax and enjoy a good book. Bring on the coffee and power down your phone to enjoy what it’s all about… literature!

Here’s how it works: Members meet twice a month in person at some of Calgary’s trendiest cafes and coffee shops, like local favourite and future U/D retailer Analog Coffee. For the first half-hour, clubbers mingle, order drinks and reflect on their readings, which is followed by a quiet reading hour. For the last half-hour, members can keep reading or socialize with fellow literary lovers. With U/D’s retail main street taking shape this year, hopefully we’ll even see members enjoying a meet-up in the neighbourhood!

Owl’s Nest Books

Calgary’s longest-established bookstore, Owl’s Nest Books has been recommending the best novels to newbies and bookworms for more than 40 years. No matter your age or tastes, this popular destination for books has you covered, cover to cover! With monthly literary and mystery clubs for adults and two kids’ clubs, it’s no surprise it’s a fan favourite with book lovers! 

Here’s how it works: Owl’s Nest hosts three in-house book clubs where members meet at the beloved bookstore on the designated day of each month at a scheduled time.  Clubs run from September to June, are free to join and are open to new members at any time, with drop-in always welcome!


Calling fans of all things literary! While not a book club, Wordfest is a not-for-profit arts organization that produces one of Canada’s largest international literary festivals that features some of today’s most compelling writers, thinkers and dreamers.  

With year-round programming including a monthly book club, Wordfest connects lovers of prose together in a 7-day reader’s festival held every April and October. From workshops and panel discussions to in-school presentations and readings. It’s a reader’s delight beloved by word nerds and book lovers across the city (and the country!).

Don’t miss Wordfest’s upcoming free virtual Happy Hour event with author Mark O’Connell on May 28. RSVP here.

Here’s how it works: Once a month, engaged book lovers come together to mingle and discuss a book of choice at the end of each Wordfest book club meeting. However, the beloved book club has gone digital! For upcoming online club meetings, visit its website here.

Tip: There’s nothing better than a soothing cup of tea, a good book, and a side of homemade cookies. Go ahead. Whip up a batch of perfect cookies with these bite-sized tips and must-try recipes. Then choose your favourite brew and prepare the perfect cup of tea to go with some expert tips from the team at Analog Coffee! Then make your way to the North Pond and Urban Dog Park in U/D and read as you sip and munch! Ahh….]

New Reads for the Season!

Spring has a bounty of new books to suit your needs and with summer around the corner, there’s no better way to spend Calgary’s warmer days than lazing in the sun with a good book. 

To get inspiration rolling, our team offers up its personal favourites. From mystery and fiction to coming-of-age tales, U/D has you covered with some local stores where you can stock up on some new reads! 

  • The Skystone: A Dream of Eagles series by Jack Whyte
    Rich in historical detail, brimming with drama, intrigue and passion, The Skystone gives new resonance to an enduring and powerful legend.
    Shop local: Moneyshines, Pages on Kensington, Owl’s Nest Bookstore
  • The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
    The feel-good novel of 2020, this clever and uplifting novel is sure to entertain and enchant. Centred around one green notebook, six strangers come together and leads to unexpected friendship and even love.
    Shop local: Owl’s Nest Bookstore, Shelf Life Books
  • The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
    Money, beauty, crime, ghosts and moral compromise, what more could you ask for? The Glass House by acclaimed Canadian writer and B.C. native Emily St. John Mandel offers intrigue and expands your sense of possibilities.
    Shop local: Pages on Kensington, Owl’s Nest Bookstore
  • All Adults Here by Emma Straub
    A deeply satisfying story and an absolute page turner, All Adults Here is a warm and keenly perceptive novel about the life cycle of one family and all the things that follow us into adulthood. It’s simply brimming with wisdom, humour and insight!
    Shop local: Shelf Life Books, Ambrose Bookstore
  • Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova
    An epic tale of love and revenge, this inspiring read set in a world inspired by Inquisition Spain is the first instalment in author Zoraida Cordova’s Hollow Crown series.
    Shop local: Monkeyshines, Owl’s Nest Books
  • Normal People by Sally Rooney
    Wondrously wise! To many, Normal People by Irish author Sally Rooney can only be described as the quintessential coming-of-age love story for our time.
    Shop local: Appleseed Resource Centre Calgary, Pages on Kensington

Books enrich our lives in many ways. They can help us unwind, recharge and can provide encouragement during difficult times. Whether you decide to join a local book club or want to simply enjoy the pleasures of reading a good book from the comfort of your patio, we hope you continue to explore the world of literature and all the joys that come with it. We can’t think of a better time to hunker down with a teetering pile of books!

Have a book club recommendation or a must-read novel share? Share your suggestions with us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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