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Coronavirus Isolation Prompting A Boom In Virtual Reading Clubs

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - There's nothing like immersing yourself in a great story.

But in these times, discussing the book with others now mean putting up a Zoom meeting, reports CBS2's Mary Calvi.

Virtual book clubs are thriving: The number of digital meetup groups using Zoom and Facebook chat has skyrocketed, with more than 3,000 of them forming in just the past two months.

The group finds that's it's been a nice escape from the heaviness of the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis. There's a driving reason behind the sudden spike.

"Doing it through Zoom and doing it through a Google Hangout is really the next best thing, and not that much is lost," said reader Jennifer Enderlin. "You basically sit around in a circle together physically doing the book club, and now you sit round in a circle on a screen. It's only slightly different.

"I think people are finding a lot of comfort in it too, being able to reach out and have a commonality of something that they share, a book that they read together," she said.

Authors are going virtual too. Mary Kay Andrew's cross country book tour for Hello Summer which was to take place this week but is now happening online.

CBS2's Mary Calvi was recently invited to join a book club's Zoom discussion of her novel Dear George, Dear Mary, about George Washington's first love.

With more time at home, book lovers like Lauren Tyler are reading more than ever.

"I have read more in the last six weeks than I have read in a very long time," she said. "I have read four other books."

But bringing together book lovers in one place won't happen until America turns the page on the current pandemic.

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