Within their book club, there are multiple channels, including one for members to tell a little about themselves, and another for those who play the collaborative online game Among Us to have group voice calls about what’s happening.
The channel “Currently Reading” hosts discussions of books other than that month’s selection. Recently there was a debate about whether it’s worthwhile to keep slogging through books or add them to a “DNF” (did not finish) pile.
With tools to hide spoilers
They also make use of a feature on Discord to avoid ruining plot twists. One club member asked in “Currently Reading” whether anyone had read “Legendborn,” a young adult fantasy novel. Visagie replied that she had, with details of what she thought of the book — but she opted to blackout her text so people didn’t see spoilers. Only people who clicked on Visagie’s post could read her full message.
Discord is most commonly used by video gamers to collaborate on multiplayer games, but people also use its screen sharing feature to play board games and students have used it to work together on homework. (Discord has also struggled with people using its app for harm.)
A ‘saving grace’ during a tough year
Göttsche and Visagie both blog about books and started the club last year when they found that pandemic life left them less able to remember and digest what they were reading.
Like many others who found virtual communities in the last year, the book club proved especially valuable as normal life was disrupted. Göttsche finished her master’s program in Ireland mostly virtually. And Visagie has put on hold her plan to move to China after she recently finished her master’s degree.
“I miss the physical interaction,” Visagie said, “but the digital book club was a saving grace in the pandemic.”