Like many modern-day fairy tales, the story of Florence Welch’s book club began on social media. When two teen disruptors and committed Florence + The Machine fans – Leah Moloney and Kate Litman – spotted a faded Polaroid on the enigmatic front woman’s feed, to be precise. “The idea came to me in 2012. I remember seeing that Florence had tweeted a photograph of herself outside of Powell’s bookshop in Portland, with the caption ‘booksbooksbooks’ and I thought it made sense that Florence should have her own book club,” Leah, now 21, tells Grazia, and Between Two Books was born.
“It seemed she was an avid reader and this was at a time when celebrity book clubs were uncommon, why not use her platform and passion for books to advocate for literature? We set up a Twitter account. We never thought Florence would even find out about it, but the next day she discovered us and thought it was amazing idea. Ever since, we have been her official book club.”
Now with over 100,000 followers on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – where bite-sized discussions take place – Between Two Books has become a creative collaboration. “Florence is in charge of the recommendations. Initially, she recommended some of her favourite books, but over time she began to ask her favourite artists what they were reading. This way she gets something new to read and we have the joy of receiving a recommendation from someone who has influenced her. The book club has expanded to become a flowing chain of inspiration – many of our book clubbers admire Florence as an artist, so it’s very special that we get to collaborate with her inspirations too.”
Among the celeb friends of the recording artist who have recommended titles are Nick Cave who suggested Here I Am by Jonthan Safran Foer and Adwoa Aboah who offered Geek Love by Katherine Dunn and The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur.
Leah continues, “Social media is usually seen as something which diminishes our attention span. The book club shows that reading doesn’t always have to be at odds with technology. The online community we have built allows people from all over the world to connect over the experience of reading the same book, and to bond over their shared love of reading.”
Kate, also 21, and in her final year at Cambridge University, agrees. “I think this helps build community – we’re connected not only by a love of reading but a commitment to working for a better world. I believe that reading forms a part of this work. Through reading, we can empathise with experiences very different from our own and hone our capacity for compassion and care. To me, the book club is about global community and connection.”
With release of Useless Magic Florence’s new book of song lyrics, complete with her often heartbreaking, handwritten notes and illustrations, comes opportunities to bring the book club to life beyond social media at events and literature festivals this summer, including an exclusive reading from the book by Florence herself. Grazia loves a happy ending.
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