© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Each week, KCUR's Adventure! newsletter brings you a new way to explore the Kansas City region.

Love to read? Here's a guide to finding the perfect Kansas City book club

 Cori Smith is the owner of BLK + BRWN, a Kansas City bookstore that elevates and amplifies authors of color.
Vicky Diaz-Camacho
Cori Smith is the owner of BLK + BRWN, a Kansas City bookstore that elevates and amplifies authors of color.

Historical fiction? Romance? Memoir? Mystery? No matter the genre, there's a book club in Kansas City that is right for you.

This story was first published in KCUR's Creative Adventure newsletter. You can sign up to receive stories like this in your inbox every Tuesday.

Have you ever dove into a really good book, finished it, and then had the urge to talk to everyone you know about it?

Well, if this is you — and your friends don’t want to hear about something they’ve never read — don’t fret. No matter what genre you’re into, Kansas City has loads of book clubs that are more than happy to indulge your obsession.

Many of them have begun meeting in-person again (go away, COVID), which is a bonus.

There's too many Kansas City book groups to count, but here is an incomplete list to get you started:

Spread the local love

People gather around tables under a sign that reads "Be Amazing."
Brittany Burdick
Members of The Kansas City Book Club choose a different regional bar or restaurant they would like to meet at each month.

The Kansas City Book Club is designed for bookworms who also like to support local businesses. Once a month, a club leader chooses two books, from 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 they would like to meet at. To join the Kansas City Book Club, simply request to join their group on Facebook and follow along for updates.

BLK + BRWN, a small Black-owned bookstore located on 39th Street in Midtown, has a couple of book club options, designed mainly for readers of color. The bookstore itself is a small business, so attending 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 of Blackness, womanhood 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 on.

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 Black and brown storytelling. This group focuses on a wide array of genres. The ideal member is a person of color, but this group is not exclusive.

Bliss Wine & Books got started as a popup in 2019, but went entirely online when the pandemic hit. For anyone who loves pairing memoirs with merlots or romances with rosé, their Wines & Spines Book Clubmeets virtually on the first Wednesday of every month. Keep an eye out for their brick-and-mortar store, which should be opening on Gilham Road in Midtown this year.

Would you like to join a book club but you want to go rogue and choose what to read? Or maybe you need a regular spot to get good book recommendations. The Big Open Book Club, hosted by Flagship Books in the Strawberry Hill neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas, is a great place for that. The club meets once a month and you don't need to read an assigned book to participate. Just come and talk about your favorite reads or maybe find your next page-turner to take home. Check their Facebook page for more information.

Less talking, more silent reading

Four women and one man sit at a picnic table and smile at the camera.
Silent Book Club of Kansas City
The Silent Book Club meets monthly at various restaurants and bars in Kansas City.

Would you like the comradery of a book club without all the chatter? If so, the Silent Book Club of Kansas City is the place for you. The Silent Book Club meets monthly at various restaurants and bars in Kansas City, including Afterword Tavern & Shelves or City Barrel Brewing Company.

Unlike most book clubs, members select their own book to read and everyone 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, members pull out the books they are working on and read — quietly — together.

Pairs well with murder

Love a good thriller, true crime, or mystery novel? This book club is made for you. Wines and Crimes Book Club meets once a month for either brunch or dinner for their official meeting. Members vote on Facebook for a time and place and also on future reads.

Most members get along so well that they also attend non-book-related events or do activities together, which get posted for the whole group to partake in. To join the club, send a request to the Wines and Crimes Facebook group.

Your local library, the O.G. of book clubs

Children sit around a table with books and snacks on it.
Kansas City, Kansas Public Library
Local libraries host different book clubs for different ages and interests.

Unsurprisingly, several area library branches have lots of 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 several types of genres to choose from, like 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 create your own book club.

To read 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’s the Blended and Beautiful African American Book Club for adults and seniors. It meets virtually on Zoom. Or the Minecraft Book Club for children in third to sixth grade, which meets at West Wyandotte Library. To find other book clubs at KCKPL, take a look at 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 diverse range of genres, has been meeting for ten years. Sometimes, they take a field trip to meet at local coffee shops. The Fantastic Voyages club meets at the Southeast branch. They focus on books with deep world-building storylines.

To browse some of the Kansas City Public Library’s book clubs, check out the webpage linked here.

Johnson County Library also has a wide array of book clubs for all age groups, as well as the opportunity to start your own. At the Central Resource Library, the Two Chapters Book Club is perfect for families with children ages 7-11.

A librarian will read aloud the first two chapters of a book, and then children can decide if they would like to check it out. The group meets on Wednesdays, and there are also snacks and book-related activities for participants.

Did we miss a book club? Let us know by emailing bekshackelford@gmail.com.

Bek Shackelford-Nwanganga reports on health disparities in access and health outcomes in both rural and urban areas.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.