This post was originally published in October 2020. It has been refreshed and republished to accurately represent why you should buddy-read with your friends.
I’m sure you’ve heard of book clubs, but have you ever heard of the buddy-read?
Buddy-reading is when you and one other friend read a book at the same time and discuss it along the way. Rather than a busy book club with lots of people and a book that the leader often chooses, you and your friend have the ability to pick a book together and read at your own pace.
This is a new style of reading for me, but I’ve done several of them with my bookstagram bestie, Kait (pictured), and it’s been a blast! It’s a really immersive way to enjoy a book because you have someone to talk with about every element. It’s okay if one of you reads more quickly than the other since you’ll eventually synchronize and be able to discuss all the things!
How to Have a Successful Buddy-Read
Your buddy should be someone with the same taste in books. This way, it’s more enjoyable to get excited or upset over the same elements. Kait and I have really similar interests, so we’ll be texting each other with crazy exclamations throughout our time of reading.
Pick a book you and your buddy are both really excited about. Kait and I read Midnight Sun together and it made the experience so special. Then we finished the Shades of Magic series (the last two books in the trilogy), and also read Vicious by the same author. Any time one of us says, “I’ve been wanting to read that too!” we plan to buddy-read.
Keep track of where your buddy is in the book so you don’t spoil anything. There have been times where one of us has finished a book before the other. We’ll update each other on which page we stopped at, that way there’s no spoilers. If there’s something really important that I want to discuss, I’ll take a photo of the page or write the page number down so if I read it before her, I can come back to talk with her about it at a later time!
If you enjoy your buddy-read, stick with that buddy! I had done a handful of buddy-reads prior to the ones with Kait, but the people I read with had really different book interests or they read at a very different pace. It made it less interesting to discuss the book with them. Once you find your person to buddy-read with, keep scheduling books to read together. It’s so much fun!
I asked Kait why she thought buddy-reads were special.
She told me that she really loves buddy-reads because they make the story feel even more alive. She added that it’s not just her, fangirling alone – she’s able to share the experience with a friend who understands. Her examples: “when there’s a character that is suspicious and your friend also finds them suspicious, it feels like being in on a fun inside-joke. Or, when there is a really sad scene, it’s cool because you can comfort each other. Whereas usually, if you’re reading alone, you can’t just tell people you’re sad because a fictional character died or something… they just wouldn’t get it. With buddy-reading, you can have a dramatic funeral for a fictional character, and your friend can play sad music (hypothetically).” She also told me that she loves buddy-reading because it helps her notice things she wouldn’t before.
This is such a great idea! I feel like I would like this more than a traditional book club because it’s more intimate. You brought up a lot of good points, especially about being able to relate to someone else that understands the characters and scenes.
Yes! Yes to this! My cousin is my reading buddy and it really is fun to read along with someone else. And It is really nice to talk to someone about the book. Some books need some venting, ya know?
I love this and I for sure do this with one of my friends! I am also in a book club but I like this more.
I never even though about finding a buddy to read a book with! Whenever I was in a book club last year we all read at different paces and then would wait until the end to discuss the book. It was fun to get together but there were so many times I wanted to talk through a certain part of a book and couldn’t! I am going to have to find a buddy to read some books together because it’s always so much more enjoyable to be able to discuss what’s going on in real time instead of once it’s all over. Great idea!
I have never done a buddy read and I’ve never even heard of a buddy read before! I would love to try this out, it would be so much fun to read a with a friend then discuss the happenings right then and there!
cute & little
Great post! I really want to try buddy reading one of these days, since I totally get that part about fangirling alone – it always more fun with a friend. I’ve been hesitant so far because I’m generally a very fast reader and keeping pace with someone else sounds terrible to me, but it might be a fun challenge too! Thanks for sharing!
This is such a fun idea! Sometimes book clubs can be so overwhelming when everyone is giving opinions and you want a sounding board instead. Just having one person to chat with is an excellent idea!
I have a girlfriend that lives in ATL (I’m in HOU), and she sends me all her books that she finishes so I have no excuse but to make time to read! I love it.
I enjoy reading this, Steph! Fall in love with all of your photos here <3 I wish I have buddy-read too. I always love reading online/offline since I was 8 ~ have tons of books to read every day! But sadly my friends around me don't have the same hobby 🙁 hope to find someone who shares the same hobby someday! Thank you for this great content x
Great post! I love buddy reading it’s so much fun to have someone to talk to about what’s happening in the book!
This is such a great idea. I love to be able to do this with one of my friends. It adds a whole new type of thing to talk about.
Buddy reads can be fun. We technically do this with our book club.
This is a great idea! I love reading books with people, it makes it so much fun to talk about and get together and discuss. Xx.
I absolutely love buddy reading. I’ve been doing it for the longest time with my best friend and just being able to vent, process and learn things together is always such a great experience. Not to mention how many different things two people can take out of the same book !
Loved this, great post !
Literally always wanted to do this, except noneee of my friends are readers. Have to find myself a little online community.
AHP X George Cameron
This is such a great idea!! I love the idea of a book club but it is hard to find a group of dedicated readers who all agree on the same book so i love this alternative. thanks for sharing, steph!
xx rebecca // thecrystalpress.com/blog
I have never heard of a buddy read before, but it sounds fun! I have never committed myself to a book club for the same reason that they are too big, and I can never keep up with the books they read. I just might try out buddy read as an alternative!
And omg. How was V.E Schwab? I bought the books many years ago, but they have been sitting on my shelves while collecting dust.
I’ve never heard of buddy reads, it sounds like a great idea! Finding the time and coordinating times to chat seems like it may be a challenge but i totally want to try!
Love this idea. I’ve been known to abandons reads, and this is a great way to keep someone accountable! xoxo, Sarah
What a genius idea!! Definitely need to try this with one of my friends!
What an awesome idea! I’d love to host a buddy read too! 🙂
This is such a great idea. We have a small bookclub of 3 but if it was larger we would try this. Reading is fun regardless.
Such a great idea!! I’ve never done a book club either but this is a great way to discover new books with a friend!
I love your outfit! I’ve been wanting to read Midnight Sun… maybe I will find a buddy to read it with!
Such a fun idea! One of my friends and I will often recommend books to each other, but we’ve never read a book at the same time. Will definitely need to try it out after reading this!
I never had or heard of a buddy read, but I surely would like one now! It’s such a great idea because I’ve read so many great books that I wish I could have discussed with someone about.
The photos that you paired with finding a successful reading buddy, buddy read rather, are absolutely darling. You gave amazing tips on qualities you should look for in choosing a suitable candidate. Having commonalities in taste does help, but differences can open you up to reading new things. I like that you used personal experience to help emphasize your tips to help the next person find their perfect buddy reader!
This sounds like a way better fit for me than a book club. I’ve tried in the past, but I majored in English, so my idea of analyzing a book is way different than a lot of other people’s. I always wanted to talk about deep topics and other members wanted to point out things like what a character’s shoes looked like, etc. so I got bored easily. But reading with a close friend who also gets completely enraptured in a story like I do would work out great. Thanks for the advice.
I really love the idea of buddy reading! I don’t really know anyone that reads books similarly to me, but I would love to have. chance to fangirl and talk about them with someone! You know when you finish a book and really need to tell someone about it x
Buddy reading is such a fun. I used to do this my friends and later on we discuss each and everything for many days and that make story more exciting.
This sounds waay better than a bookclub and even more fun! xx
We have a little library at work where we all take and exchange the same books and read them. It’s so much fun to do!
Ooh this is such a fun idea! I’ve never intentionally done this but once my friend and I were reading the same book at the same time and I really enjoyed discussing it. I’ll have to talk to her to arrange it again! Thanks for sharing x
Buddy reading sounds like so much fun! I love the idea of being able to laugh, cry, and critique our favorite and least favorite aspects of a book, experience twists together, and just add another layer to the story with the companionship.
Thanks for sharing some amazingly brilliant photos too!
I love this idea! I’ve never done one but I’ve had times where a friend and I have read the same book in a relatively short period of time from one another and that’s been a lot of fun discussing it so definitely something that I’d love to do ‘properly’ one day. Great post – sounds like you both have a blast doing it and get something out of it. Plus your pictures here are gorgeous!
We love buddy reading, especially if it’s a book we’ve anticipated for a while.
I love this idea! Ive never done it with a book but I’ve done similar with TV shows and it’s always fun to discuss along the way.
This is a really great idea! I have a coworker who was my buddy-read partner while reading Where the Crawdad Sings, and it made the whole experience so much better!