10 ways to celebrate your love of books at home

Over the past month, we've all been spending a lot more time indoors. You may miss browsing the shelves of your local bookshop or be wondering how to connect with other booklovers.

We've compiled a list of ways for you to celebrate your love of books at home, whether joining a virtual book club, watching a live adaptation of your favourite book, or embarking on your first readathon – we've got your bookish needs covered! 

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1. Attend an author event from the comfort of your living room

Were you looking forward to an author event that has now been postponed? You're in luck! Independent bookshops Forum Books, Booka Bookshop, Linghams and Book-ish have created At Home With 4 Indies to bring live author events to readers during lockdown. Their upcoming Facebook Live events include: At Home with Sebastian Barry on 27th April, At Home with Marian Keyes on 30th April, and At Home with David Baldacci on 7th May to name a few.

There are also plenty of events out there for young adult fiction (YA) fans, including Twitter chats with YA Book Prize 2020 shortlisted-authors. Next up is Holly Jackson, author of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, and Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Deathless Girls, on 29th April. Until 7th May, we're also giving you the chance to win a complete set of the YA Book Prize shortlist

For more YA book chat, Lucy Powrie, author of the brilliant The Paper & Hearts Society, hosts a weekly #UKYAChat every Friday on Twitter. Go along for bookish discussions and games – and to meet the occasional special guest author!

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2. Support your local bookshop

Many of our favourite bookshops have had to close their doors due to lockdown, but there are plenty of ways for you to continue to support them.

Check out the Music Books Recommendations list compiled by Tim Burgess of the Charlatans, Pete Paphides, Eavie Paphides, Bob Stanley, Dave Haslam, Amy Raphael and Ian Rankin. The team have put together a list of music books and when you choose to buy you will be taken direct to an independent bookshop where you can get the book. 

We've included more information on their virtual events and book clubs below, but you can also follow them on social media for expert book recommendations.

Don't forget, when it comes to choosing a new book, many independent bookshops are accepting National Book Tokens over the phone, so check with your favourites to see whether they can do this for you. 

Tip: Why not write an appreciation post on social media for your favourite bookshop to spread the book love?

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3. Join a virtual book club

Meet other likeminded booklovers and add to your ever-growing to-be-read list with a virtual book club, such as those hosted via Zoom by October Books in Southampton and Griffin Books in Wales!

For those with a soft spot for non-fiction, take a look at The Hyphen Book Club, created by Emma Gannon, author of Ctl Alt Delete and The Multi-Hyphen Method – this month they're reading On Being 40(ish).

Tip: Why not set up your own virtual book group with friends or family over video chat?

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5. Watch a live adaptation of your favourite book

National Theatre launched their National Theatre at Home series, where you can watch one of your favourite books or plays come to life in theatrical form on YouTube every Thursday. Currently streaming is Treasure Island, which will be followed by Twelfth Night.

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5. Listen to a bookish podcast

For podcast fans out there, we thought we'd share a few of our current favourites. Try the Waterstones Podcast for discussions that go beyond the book and focus on themes such as family, friendship, and community. Vintage, the publisher of Margaret Atwood and Haruki Murakami, also have a fortnightly books podcast. Tune in for author interviews, and genres ranging from literary fiction to graphic novels.  
 
If non-fiction and memoirs are more your thing, listen to The London Review of Books podcast for conversations about current affairs, close readings and author interviews, including Leïla Slimani, author of Lullaby and Sex and Lies.  

For YA fans, check out Book Riot's Hey YA podcast

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6. Participate in a readathon

Now's the perfect time to participate in your first readathon! Set yourself your own readathon challenge, such as aiming to read as many books as you can within 72 hours, or read 50 pages a day.  

You can also join a readathon with other booklovers. Check out The Reading Rush on Instagram. Although their next full event is 22nd July to 28th July, you can still join in with their Reading Challenges. Plus, they have live read-ins every day on Instagram at 11am!  

Tip: Challenge your friends and family to read as much as they can in 8 hours. 

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7. Keep entertained with an online book festival

Just because you're indoors, doesn't mean you can't attend a festival – Blackwell's have launched Blackwell’s Live, a series of virtual events where authors discuss their new books on Twitter. Upcoming events include Philippe Sands, author of The Ratline, who will be discussing his new book on 24th April. Keep an eye out for The Lockdown Litfest, a new online festival full of author interviews and content. The digital line-up already has fifty authors signed up, including Ian Rankin, Joanna Harris and Philip Pullman. 

If you’re in the mood for music inspired by books, then check out The Bookshop Band’s Lockdown Book Show every Friday at 8:30pm. The duo has teamed up with bookshops including Daunt Books, Kew Bookshop and Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights to bring you live music inspired by books that the band love.

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8. Test your literary knowledge with some bookish quizzes

As you know, we're partial to a book-themed quiz, and there are plenty play online. Take part in Foyles’ Book Game, where you can share bookish puns every week, and Gary Wigglesworth, author of the upcoming The Book Lovers' Quiz Book, hosts weekly quizzes on Twitter (and off Twitter pre-lockdown!) – his next one is the The Great Orion Twitter Book Quiz on 28th April.

Tip: Host your own bookish quiz on video chat for your friends and family.

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9. Find the book titles with our Hidden Books Game

Hundreds of thousands of you have enjoyed finding the book titles with our fun games for booklovers – there are eight available to play, which is sure to keep you busy! Visit Caboodlers’ Corner for more literary quizzes.

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10. Share a gift with a friend or loved one

It's always a great time to choose a new book – and to treat a friend or family member, too! National Book Tokens gift cards are the perfect gift for people of all ages and can still be bought from many bookshops over the phone, in person at WHSmith (with post offices) and supermarkets, and online.  
 
For that extra special gift – a National Book Token with your own photo and message – we're currently offering free personalisation and free delivery.    
 
Whether a gripping thriller, a graphic novel, or a familiar classic, they'll be sure to pick just the right book for them. 

 

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