I was thinking about buddy reads and the fact that I don’t do them enough for my own reasons (read: anxiety) unless I am friends with the person. And then I started thinking about books I’ve read that I’ve either buddy read or that I feel would be great to buddy read, and I realized it’s not about the single book but about the type of book or story, so I wanted to put my thoughts down in this post!
I find rereading my favorite novels one of the best feelings in the world, and sometimes you have friends in the same fandom who also want to reread, and I feel like deciding to buddy re-read can really allow you to put all your thoughts down and solidify your knowledge of the plot and your view of the characters without being afraid of spoiling anyone because you all already know what happens later in the book.
This works best if you and all your buddies have already read the book in question. It can be tricky if you buddy read with someone who is reading for the first time, but if you want to do it you’ll have to be extra careful about not spoiling anyone!
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series by Rick Riordan ✧ Mo Dao Zu Shi by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu
SFF short stories
I have a whole post about my experience reading a lot of short stories and something I realized is that short stories would be perfect to buddy read with someone. Depending on the author and the type of story, it’s pretty common for it to be confusing. Even when it’s not confusing, it’ll usually leave something up to your imagination, and it’s such a condensed format that you will have questions or opinions.
Since there’s usually not a fandom for this type of stories, it can be useful to find a friend who reads the story together with you since different people give different interpretations to things, and you might understand a part of the story that your friend didn’t or vice versa.
It doesn’t take a long time to read short stories, so I feel like you don’t even have to do a lot of planning for this type of buddy read; you can both arrange it beforehand or ask a friend to read a short story you’ve just finished and want to talk about, and they’ll be able to read it and discuss it with you after they’re done.
Thirteen Steps in the Underworld by Su-Yee Lin ✧ A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers by Alyssa Wong
This is a chill and fun type of buddy read! You get to gush about the couple and the tropes used, you don’t need to have deep discussions about plot or worldbuilding, and you can just have some more fun with your buddies on top of the fun from the novel. Also, I feel like it’s easier to arrange than a fantasy buddy read, because not everyone is always in the right headspace for fantasy and it can be hard for mood readers to decide beforehand when to read something like that, but I am always ready to read a lighthearted romance on a whim.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert ✧ Cancer Ships Aquarius by Anyta Sunday
These could be fantasy, literary fiction or a huge variety of genres, but if you know beforehand that there’s going to be heartbreaking moments (not necessarily heartbreaking endings) you might want to find moral support in a friend who will go through the same emotions at the same time as you! Of course it might also end up making you both more sad, but at least you’re not alone?
Tian Guan Ci Fu by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu ✧ Female General and Eldest Princess by Qing Jun Mo Xiao
I had to add this although this could fall in a lot of the categories I’ve mentioned before. Some novels, regardless of genre, are not very action-packed but more quiet and introspective, and they usually require a bit of work on your part. Kind of like I mentioned with short stories, but here it’s less about it being confusing and more about what meaning you give to the novel and what it makes you feel.
Vagabonds by Hao Jingfang ✧ The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow
I have been very into nonfiction audiobooks for the past 8-9 months and I know more people want to get into this genre but don’t know how to. One way to do it is audiobooking it, but if you need more incentive or if audiobooks aren’t for you I feel like buddy reading with a friend could be a good way to do it. Depending on what topic you reach for I think you can have amazing discussions and come out of the book with a lot more knowledge and perspective.
Me and White Supremacy * by Layla F. Saad ✧ In Search of Black History with Bonnie Greer by Bonnie Greer
* a note on this book: this is something you should read if you’re white or white passing, and most importantly you should only “buddy read” and discuss with other white or white passing folks, as the author notes. The examples and discussions of how racism affects Black people in their daily life are not something Black folks need to hear repeated at them, so don’t go vent to your Black friends about how much you learned about how you perpetuate everyday racism. They already know. Talk to your white friends instead, and use the buddy read to hold yourselves accountable.
Something you might not know about me if you’re new here is that I love webcomics. They are probably one of my favorite story formats and I have written two recommendation posts (here and here) in the past and will write more once I have more to group in one single post.
Webcomics can be complete or ongoing and it’s up to you if you want to exclusively read complete ones or follow ongoing ones, personally I recommend following ongoing ones because the creators absolutely need your continual support! And while it might be overkill to organize a proper buddy read, it helps following ongoing series if you have friends who also follow them and you can talk to when an update ends on a cliffy or something.
I only mentioned webcomics here but the same goes for webnovels that update each week/month!
No End by Erli and Kromi ✧ Heir’s Game by Suspu
There’s all types of different books you can make more enjoyable by reading together with a friend, as long as you’re comfortable! If you’re more extroverted you might be more prone to buddy reading with a large group of people and/or with someone you just met, or if you’re like me you’ll want to stick to a few close friends, but either way buddy reading should never be something that stresses you out.
I hope in this post I gave you a few ideas for types of book you might try to buddy read if you’ve never done it before, and if you are an experienced buddy reader (?) I hope you could see yourself in at least some of the stuff I said.