An Articles Club

Three years ago, I posted about a random idea I had for an articles club. “An articles club would be just like a book club,” I wrote, “But we’ll read articles. We’d all read the same story—from, say, The New Yorker or Elle—and chat over wine and snacks. It would be fascinating, timely and a much easier commitment than a book club (because, honestly, who ever finishes the book on time?). And it would make the winter feel fun.” Well, my friend Anna and I started one, and here’s what it’s like…

The evening starts at 7:30pm, so Toby can stay up a few minutes late and say hi to the ladies. He gets to eat some guacamole and chips and tell a few jokes before padding off to bed.

He always tries to sneak in a few extra minutes:)

Then the evening begins! We discuss the article and share anecdotes and philosophies. We also drink wine and eat snacks, of course.
articles-club-cupofjoWe usually choose an article that feels relevant to our lives—typically about friendship, career, work/life balance or relationships.

The fascinating thing about an articles club is how close you get to—and how much you learn about—the women in the group. The conversations get intimate pretty quickly—we’ve talked about marriage, breakups, parenting, career goals, what success means, the saddest and happiest times in our lives, depression, body image, aging, feminism, religion, everything under the sun. I’ve learned things about my friends that I hadn’t known after years and years of friendship, since we end up talking about such specific, deep topics. It’s wonderful.

Here are some of the articles we’ve chosen:

Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear

The “Busy” Trap

Why Is It Hard to Make Friends Over 30?

Surprised to See Me: The biggest shock of losing weight is the (sometimes weird) reaction by my old friends

Why We Cheat

Is There Life After Work?

Why It’s Smart to Court Your Friends

How to Be Polite

Masters of Love

Would you ever set up an articles club? They’re so much fun and the best part is you can read the article on the way to the club! I always leave buzzing from the female friendships. :)

  1. Wendy says...

    Just read this and immediately sent an email to a close group of girlfriends to start our club. Long ago I belonged to a “Book Club” that was really the “Restaurant Club That Occasionally Read a Book”… so this is just what I need. A quick read and a way to spend quality time with the girls. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  2. Susan says...

    What is your opinion on the best number of women to have in the articles group? My book club has 20 and that can sometimes be a bit too big for good conversation

  3. This is such a brilliant idea! What I like even more about this is that I could even do this with my friends that have moved to a different state – via Skype. Thank you for the great idea!

  4. Michele Messer says...

    Love it! We do something similar called “The Mixed Media Guild.” We’ve expanded to include everything fromarticles to podcasts to checking out the author series at our library. It’s great!

  5. June2 says...

    Love this idea. And just discovered the Hey Vina friendship app via the article on courting new friends above, so thank you!

  6. LOVE this idea! My best friends are currently far away (from 3 hours to across the ocean), so book/article/anything clubs are hard to create! I am happily longing for next May when one of the moves into the same city as me again!

  7. Liv says...

    I love the article club!! Is it still alive and would you suggest any articles that lights the spark in 2016??!

    All the best from Norway ;o)

  8. Laura says...

    I remember reading that post about an articles club. I’m so glad you did it! I totally wish I could join in the fun!!

  9. TB says...

    You have great taste in articles. Thanks for the suggestions, and for posting them.

  10. Great idea Joanna. :)

    I often think about being a future hostess in my own home. It’s hard nowadays because I don’t have many nor acquaintences. Yet with the little (3) I do have I can surely host an article club!

    It sounds so wonderful and exciting.

    Thanks for posting, and enhancing ideas for me to better myself and loved ones through transparency and friendship.

  11. Brilliant! It’s easier to find a group of people agreeing to read an article vs suffer through the same book.

    I launched Sister Media – Women’s Business and Survival Magazine.

    I would love to get feedback. Warning! It’s very, ummmm, authentic and tongue in cheek ; )

  12. This idea is great. Also, could you tell me where you got that aztec/geometric black and white throw you have on your couch in a couple of the pics- I love it!

  13. I absolutely LOVE the idea of an articles club! It is hard (for me, at least) to make friends and have deep relationships with other women after college! This seems like the perfect excuse for women to get together, to chat and get to know each other over wine. Love it.

  14. I love this idea and I am definitely going to try to start it up in my group of friends! Quick question; where did you get that great New York Poster in your last photo? It’s great!

  15. Great idea. Passing it along to my book club. And thanks for the link to the Masters of Love. Fascinating read. xo.

  16. This is a wonderful idea! I love sharing articles with my friends, and would love to facilitate a conversation about them. Thanks for the brilliant idea, and for sharing your articles!

  17. What a brilliant idea! I’ve always wanted to be in a book club but I live in a tiny village where none of my neighbours are willing to commit to reading the same book as everyone else. I’m pitching this article idea… if I throw in the wine, how could they refuse!? Thanks so much for sharing.

  18. I love this idea and so much more manageable than book club at this time in our lives (well, at least mine!). Thanks for sharing! I’m going to start one with some of our school-mom friends. Will keep you posted! Cheers.

  19. I love this idea. So much more likely to happen and have longevity than a book club.

    I often read articles that I would love to talk about with other. Maybe I’ll start this for my group of friends too.

    Thanks for sharing the idea! xx

  20. Love this concept. I can’t wait to try it with my friends. Thanks for sharing the articles. :)

  21. This is the best idea ever. Having just finished my Masters, this would definitely help fill up the void left of no longer being a student. A great way to have conversations both laid back and intellectual! and spend time with your friends!

  22. This is an absolutely fantastic idea in theory. In practice, I think it would tend to generate more stimulating/cerebral comments than, say, “I loved that character in the book…”As well, the length of articles would be ideal for those who simply can’t find the time to indulge in reading novels. Going to discuss the idea w/ friends over dinner this eve!

    Bath Tub Bliss

  23. We start next week a discussion club around work/life, mothering and general contradictions of modern women’s lives.

  24. Oh I love LOVE this idea. I’m going to try that -online and in real life!

  25. I love this idea! I just wouldn’t know ow to get started, though, being in a new city where I’ve already got quite a few friends, but not many of them into reading. Did you invite women who you were already close with or bring in someone new? I would love to get to know new people.

  26. I find it very fascinating that this article club has created deeper connections with friends by discussing meaningful issues that might otherwise be passed over for surface chatter that we North Americans are so good at. I am Canadian. I get it. We do not open ourselves up as well as other cultures.

    I have been taking advantage of the young-and-free-and-no-responsibilites phase of life by travelling like any post University grad. I have spent months travelling Europe and recently lived abroad in England. In this time I have definitely learned to open up more and have real discussions with new people I meet. It really is amazing that I have been able to learn so much about new friends over a pint one night than I have learned about friends I have had for years. And I am so grateful for the new relationships I have created because we were able to talk about something meaningful instead of simply discussing how good the beer is. I think it is a combination of interacting with people from different countries who express themselves more openly as well as the immediacy of only having one night to get to know someone.

    I think that this article club is a fantastic way to make those deeper connections within existing relationships. It is definitely something that I would be interested in starting at home. Thank you for the great idea!!

  27. I just read the “Those are not fighting words, Dear” article – wow! I would have loved to discuss that one with a bunch of women. What a great idea!


  28. This is such a fantastic idea!! I love this idea.. you are inspiring me on trying to start my own articles club!

  29. Sharon, right? Love that you guys are friends! Love both of your blogs!

  30. Check out RoleReboot!

    Role Reboot is a contemporary culture magazine about living “off script.”

    From the statement about the founders…”They thought about the millions of American women who get together each month for book clubs. They thought of TV shows like The View, where women meet each day to hash over current events and issues. They decided to convert the curriculum into a format for small groups, and tested it out using printed “course packs,” with an intergenerational discussion group of women in Boston”


  32. this looks like such a lovely idea!! i’ve never thought about an articles club before and it really look great!! i’m gonna keep this in mind! have a nice weekend!

  33. Great idea! I really enjoyed the “masters of love” article. I especially like that it ends with hope. Couples who do not exhibit the right qualities for a lasting, happy relationship, need to practice kindness. Can’t we all use a lesson in grace and kindness in ALL our relationships, not even just with our partners. Love.

  34. This is an absolutely adorable idea. I never get to see my girlfriends enough, and I would like to do something that doesn’t involve us going out to a bar (which is usually what happens in NYC, it’s just so convenient).

  35. Kelsey, most Canadian households (and Asian, I understand) are shoes off! People automatically take off their shoes at the door, unless otherwise instructed, for precisely the reason your husband gives. I don’t want gum, spit, or dog poo traipsed around my house. Shoes outside, slippers inside!

  36. Hi Joanna! I started one and wrote about it a couple of years ago. We’re an anti-book club, actually called the Ladies Short-Form Media Auxiliary, which means read short blog posts, articles and Youtube videos and chat about them. Here’s the piece I wrote:

    Sadly, we’re defunct now…We all had kid #2 and now we can’t even find the time to read articles. But this post makes me want to revive it!
    Sarah Lazarovic

  37. I love this idea! What a sweet way to get together. And thanks so much for posting the articles you’ve discussed so far. I’m looking forward to reading them!

  38. If I still lived in Brooklyn, I’d totally angle for an invite. ;)

    I did actually become friendly with a woman whose blog I used to read when we both lived in Brooklyn! One day she sat down right next to me on a bus and I felt weird saying something to her, but I also felt weird NOT saying anything, so I told her I recognized her and introduced myself. We have a lot in common!

  39. This is genius! Book clubs are such a commitment and we just end up drinking wine and talking about life anyway. This is way more doable and interesting. Love it.

  40. What a lovely idea!!!! I might adopt it :)

  41. I love this. As a 27 year old that has moved away from good college and even high school friends, I have discovered how hard it is to 1) make new friends at this age and 2) come up with activities that don’t always include going to clubs. Sometimes I just really want something much more intellectual and this article club hits the spot. Thank you for your insight, Joanna!


  42. This is fantastic! What a great idea Joanna. Now I’m off to read these articles and see if anyone wants to start an article club with me.

  43. Love this! We are all reading so many articles online that it would make sense to share them with our besties. I’m hosting a girls’ weekend at my parents’ cottage next weekend and printed an article to share. Can’t wait. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Oh and that article on the woman who waited out her husband. Man, I loved that!

  44. WOW! I love this! Most of my friends have children (I do not yet) and they work. Before kids, we did book clubs for years. This seems to be far more feasible and a great way for us to reignite the book club flame! Thank you!

  45. I love this idea! I’m currently in school studying Graphic Design, and I have to admit that one of my favourite things about it is the intelligent debates and discussions we get into! We talk politics/feminism/healthy eating and so much more- being around like minded intelligent people is so rewarding for the brain and soul!

  46. I LOVE this idea! I’ve wanted to do a book club, but the idea of reading a book on a set schedule is overwhelming to me as a mother with two young kids. Thanks for the idea!

  47. Love this idea. But…. we have 2 young ones (4 and 1), and after we get them in bed, we keep the house pretty quiet. This will sound crazy to some, but we just don’t have people over in the evening as it might be too noisy and keep the kids awake or wake them up. The baby does have a white noise machine, but still. Another reason is we’re just so tired at the end of the day, after work and childcare. So it looks like a good idea for when the kids are a little older, perhaps.
    But I miss the chance to get together and have that kind of intellectual community in person. Thanks for providing the list of articles.

  48. I love this. What a good idea. Thanks for sharing!

  49. I LOVE this… but my friends live far away. Maybe we’ll skype :)

  50. That’s awesome! If anyone else wants to set up one in NYC, I’m down for it. Xx, Fernanda

  51. Thank you so much for sharing! I’m very curious – how do you choose your articles and does anyone come up with questions to discuss?

  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

  53. This is so genius!! I’ve always been so intimidated by a book club and yet I get lost in a black hole of internet articles regularly. I also love that Toby makes an appearance!
    In Dramatic Fashion

  54. An article club is such a great idea, thank you for sharing great articles to start with

  55. This comment has been removed by the author.

  56. Such a great idea! It’s so hard getting a book club group to agree on a book, because it’s such a long term commitment. Articles are the way to go!

    Looking forward to starting an Articles Club! Thanks for the idea Joanna.


  57. I’m hoping to see a house tour soon! I love your decorating style and am curious to see how your Brooklyn place is looking. So happy to catch a glimpse in this post! :)

  58. Joanna,
    Slightly off topic but your mention of body image made me think of something. It’s a topic that I don’t think you’ve ever covered on here, despite it being such a major issue in so many women’s lives. I wonder if this is because you’re thin, and there’s this idea in our culture that thin women should shut up and be greatful for what they have. There’s an ocean of stories from women struggling with their weight, but I’d be interested in hearing about body image from someone on the other side. Have you found that it affects how other women treat you? How about men? Does having a twin sister affect the way you feel about your own looks? Anyway, I thought it would be in interesting read and a departure from the expected!

  59. I love this idea! I love reading books but clubs are hard to do because everyone has different tastes and reads at different paces, and then sometimes it’s hard to know how or where to start a discussion, but I feel like it’s easier with an article. I didn’t even read all the way through before I’d sent this link to my bestie hoping that we do this (and then came back to finish reading). Thanks for including the links to some articles to get us started!

  60. so many reasons I love this idea.

    1. I love when people choose to expand their horizons after “formal” education. While a job does keep your brain engaged, the field of vision is definitely narrower when all your “smart” conversation revolves around work. We could very easily spend all our free time reading gossip and getting manicures. I’ve seen it.

    2. I think it’s so important to build female/same-gender friendships throughout your life. I really think they should be valued as much as the one you have with a romantic partner. As kids, we obviously don’t think twice about making friends, there’s none of that complicated “having the same values stuff” We don’t realize how easy it is to make friends by sheer fact that we have to interact with our peers every single day. It’s a numbers game. When we’re older, everyone breaks off into their own familial units. I don’t think it should be like that. I do think the whole world is a village. We should cherish our husband/wife and kids, definitely, but I don’t think we should not care about others just because they’re not blood (” why should I help him/her? that’s not my kid”) We’re all a community!

    And not to be morbid, but I think the circle of life would be a bit easier in a sense if we didn’t have just one love of our lives.

    3. I’m going to go take a look at those articles. I feel so guilty for not having read them (even if I’m not part of your club!)

  61. Great idea. Couldn’t help but notice that everyone looks the same, however. Would love to hear how the conversation would change if more racial diverse women were represented. Invite a new woman from work! The woman you see on the train, a different mom at the park. xo

  62. This sounds like such a wonderful idea. I have no clue why other people (including myself) haven’t really thought of it before! Even though articles like this come up in conversation between my friends, I feel like setting aside a specific time to really engage with one article over wine and cheese would be so fun. Would love to hear more about how your meetups go- it would be cool if you made some posts that recorded some of the points people made (if they’re comfortable with sharing) and all the turns your discussion took!

  63. I love this idea! My friends and I have an outdoor movie night this summer and even though the weather in LA doesn’t get too much colder we have ended our series for the year. This would be such a great way to continue a regular get-together! And who has time to read a book that fast? I am such a slow reader!

  64. I want to be a member!! My closest friend and I live 8 hours away and recently started reading the same books and also box swapping. We’ve had a harder time keeping up with books so I’m going to suggest these articles!! I’m still searching for woman friends in my area that are actually willing to commit to gatherings like these. I feel like most of the time woman like the idea, but won’t commit. Or maybe I’m just not finding the right ones yet!!

  65. Sometimes I think I’ll just sneak onto your blog and flick around and that’s that…. no no. That does not happen on A Cup of Jo. So many interesting posts and so much to think about, thank you Jo!

  66. What a great idea!

  67. Oh man, I wish I had friends that would do stuff like this! It’s hard making friends in your mid-late twenties too!

  68. Such a novel idea Joanna! I love it and will definitely consider starting one amongst my friends!

  69. Love this. Please keep us posted quarterly(?) on articles :)

  70. I love this idea! My friends and I often link each other interesting articles (or Mindy Kaling/Amy Poehler/Tina Fey interviews) and get into great discussions over Facebook…but it would be fab to make an evening of it!


  71. This is a great idea.

  72. I absolutely love this idea! As much as I would love to read a whole book it’s just not the stage of life that I’m in. Great idea!

  73. kelsey. my pet peeve is being asked to take off my shoes at someone’s door. it’s pretty rude. my shoes are part of my outfit. i’m not always wearing socks…i hate to go barefoot! plus, germs make us all stronger, unless you have a compromised immunity system? you must get over this!

  74. My friends and I live all over the country now. But, to stay in touch, we have what we call a “Social Justice Book Club.” Every week, someone sends an article over our email list about a social-justice related topic, and we all respond with our thoughts. It’s a great way to stay in touch!

  75. Joanna, this is such a brilliant idea and a great way to get to know your friends on a deeper level.


  76. Sorry, meant to add…would love to know if you have any suggestions on who picks the article, how to start the conversation, question topics, etc. Thanks!

  77. Love this! I’ve been running a book club with friends for about two years now, and interest has really declined. Life just gets busy! I’m going to give this a try. Thanks for the idea!

  78. This is going to make me sound so crazy, but I immediately noticed people were wearing shoes in your apartment. Does that ever bug you? I grew up in a shoes-on house, but finally my husband convinced me that it’s pretty dirty to bring the outside in with you. He’s also made me hyper aware of people setting purses on our counters (purses that they also set on the ground)! It’s like there’s a gravitational pull to set a purse on a counter. I get it, but now I’m so aware that it’s dirty. What have I become?!

  79. Absolutely would love to do this! My book club is great but a big time commitment, and there’s often too much to talk about in one session. This feels more focused–like you could get to the heart of certain important issues more quickly and then open up into an interesting discussion around those issues.

  80. I would love to start one of these! Great idea, Joanna. Can I ask where you got your necklace? Thanks!

  81. Genius. That’s all I have to say. Ge-Ni-Us.
    Thank you!

  82. Love this idea! And I’m enjoying going through your previous articles.

  83. I think this is a brilliant idea. You are so right – few, if any, actually read the whole book – or even enough to get a conversation going about it. Love this and will have to try it soon.

  84. Great idea. My group of friends tried to do a book club with books about the education system etc as the type of books we would read. We all have kids about the same age (elementary/middle school) and SCHOOL is a huge topic of conversation. We found…people did not read the books. We still did get together and drink wine, so not a total loss. We have been thinking about a TED Talk club. You could come, watch, and talk (all while drinking wine). I love this idea too and think I will propose we rotate this in.

  85. this is such an amazing idea. love it! those articles sound great, definitely going to read them :)
    xo, cheyenne

  86. I’ve been a part of several book clubs that have dissolved because most people don’t have time to keep up with the books, I think! And, that Why It’s Hard to Make Friends in Your 30’s article has been ringing around in my head since I read it a few years ago. Why is it?! xo

  87. this is such an amazing idea. love it! those articles sound great, definitely going to read them :)
    xo, cheyenne

  88. I love this idea! It is brilliant! Definitely keeping this in mind!

  89. I love this idea! And the articles were a pleasure to read. Good picks!

  90. Such great idea ! I will definitely suggest it to my girls, for winter evenings it might be just amazing movement.

  91. This is actually my job! I am a language teacher who mostly works with students who have an advanced level and just need to practice their conversation skills. So I send my students an article for discussion and then we meet for coffee and chat about the article. I try to always pick something that will arouse passionate responses since it’s easier to get a student to talk if they feel strongly about an issue. The topics have ranged from gun control, abortion, nutrition, celebrity scandals (I’ve just sent one student the Jennifer Lawrence interview about the nude photos scandal), etc. I love getting to hear other people’s opinions and learning something from hearing someone else’s point of view. Such a great idea for other people to try!

  92. Your place looks so great! Can you tell us where you got the beautiful light leather tufted chair that is in several of the photos? I’ve been looking for something similar. Thanks!

  93. This is brilliant! I love my book club (drinking club!), but the book selection sometimes competes with what i’m already reading, or just doesn’t interest me. Articles are definitely less of a commitment. i’m going to try to sell this idea!

  94. How timely, my article club is meeting tonight, we do the same thing (meet after the babies are in bed and drink wine and eat snacks:) and have chosen similar topics. And tonight, we’re discussing your husband’s recent article about living in the moment or recording it.

  95. That thing of the Articles Club looks so fun and interesting. I love discussing about everything, what I’ve read, life, relationships… so I would probably love to do one! You’re always coming up with greta ideas Jo!
    With love,

  96. I love this idea! I can never finish a book these days with two kids and work, so reading an article is perfect!

  97. Oh, my gosh…this is GENIUS! I started a book club with other expat moms in Guatemala and in the past year we’ve had 7 new babies “join the group” and three more on the way so we’re finding that NONE of us our finishing the books :( BUT an article…for sure now all of us could at least finish an article! :)

  98. Great choice of articles Joanna! Thank you so much for sharing them.
    Love the idea to get through the dark winter months.

  99. I am definitely going to do this! Such a good idea!

  100. My friends and I did this for 8 years when our kids were first born because we couldn’t find the time to read a book in its entirety . We even made a CD of the song that best describes you and I still listen to it 8 years later!

  101. That’s actually a really neat idea. My only concern would be that conversations could get heated if you choose somewhat controversial topics and don’t agree. If I liked hanging out with all my friends at once I’d totally do this, but this introvert prefers one on one interactions lol. It really is a fab idea, though. So much easier than reading a whole book!!

  102. Love this idea! (and great article suggestions!)

  103. your new place looks huge? it’s awesome.

    I love this club idea! I always end up sharing articles on Facebook and we get into the best discussions. I bet it would be even more amazing in person with snacks!

  104. Such a wonderful idea! I’ve got to implement this in my life… stat!

  105. As a mother of two, I love this idea and want to try to start something similar this winter – thanks for the inspiration!

  106. I remember reading your first post about this idea! I was just thinking about it recently so I’m glad you brought it up again! Sounds like so much fun :)

  107. That sounds like such a great idea!! Anyone in Austin want to start one with me?

  108. I was part of an articles club back when I lived in Indiana, but part of what made it so great was how diverse the group was. Now, I live in NYC and I write articles, but I’m noticing that groups like these are usually all the same race or gender, and I think something ends up being lost in the potential depth of conversation when that happens.

  109. That is such a great idea! Thanks for posting the articles you’ve read!

  110. Would love to know where your necklace in the last photo is from, Joanna!

  111. What a fantastic idea! I’ve been in a book club of five women for almost two years now and I love it so much, for all of the reasons you mentioned. We are all 24-29/single/no kids, though, and I have wondered what will happen when we all enter different stages of life and have less time for the tomes we are used to reading. Articles Club it is ;)

  112. I can’t help but notice the body language; everyone has their arms or legs crossed.

  113. Joanna, this is lovely!

    My friends and I did something very similar but it was instead of articles, two Tuesdays a month a friend would present an album for the group to listen to.

    The person choosing the record brought the snacks to share and everyone else contributed drinks. We kept up this tradition for over 3 years (and have a massive google doc. of albums listed to prove it!).

    SO special! We moved recently and I’m missing these nights big time!