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“Hi guys, welcome back to Book Club,” the model Kaia Gerber said with a California lilt. Seated in her bedroom in Malibu late in February, Ms. Gerber watched as thousands of viewers trickled into her discussion with the playwright Jeremy O. Harris, recovering from an all-nighter.
“It’s great to wake up and get energized hearing someone speak so kindly about you and their experience with your work,” he said.
Over the next hour, Ms. Gerber and Mr. Harris discussed the racial and sexual politics of his Tony-nominated “Slave Play,” the Reconstruction Era and the impact of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Federal One arts program. At one point, Mr. Harris shared a list of Black and queer theory texts including “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book” by Hortense J. Spillers, which Ms. Gerber promised to pass along to her millions of followers.
Like many, she began her virtual book club during lockdown last spring, discussing Sally Rooney’s book “Normal People,” with the actress Daisy Edgar-Jones on Instagram TV. The videos since have racked up hundreds of thousands of views. (In-person book events tend to draw between 20 and 200 people.)
Ms. Gerber has joined a blooming ecosystem of book clubs, “bookstagrammers,” “BookTokkers” and promotional venues (like podcasts) that did not exist a decade ago. “Over the past 10 years, we have been remembering how important it is not only to consume great books, but to talk about that consumption,”
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