An Edmonton woman has started an Alberta-wide book club during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Angela Paik started the Facebook group “Alberta Book Ninjas” after taking part in a few “Alberta Wine Ninja” groups.
“I would throw a couple books in the bag along with wine. But then I thought: ‘Maybe we should start a group that’s just books,'” said Paik.
Alberta Book Ninjas was created on May 10. Within eight days, the group had 1,000 members. As of June 9, the group has 2,500 members from across Alberta.
“People have joined from places I haven’t even heard of,” said Paik. “I put in pretty much every city, village and hamlet that I could think of that had a population of more than 500 people.”
To get books, you must share your address either publicly or request an address be given or passed along through Paik.
An online security expert, who spoke on the topic of “Ninja” Facebook groups in early May did caution participants who join.
Paul Davis said putting your personal information online could have lasting implications.
Davis said he’s seen people post their cell phone numbers, working hours, even codes to enter apartment buildings in some wine ninja groups.
If people plan to continue the groups, there are ways to make them safer, Davis says.
“They need to really vet the people coming in. They need to make sure that anyone who joins the group has an incredibly locked-down Facebook account where, when people click on those profiles, they can’t find extra information.”
“People say: ‘I love this idea, thank you for starting this group,'” Paik said. “They have taken it to a level I didn’t even think was possible.”
Members of the Facebook group sent photos and videos to Global News, featuring costumes, dramatic drop-offs and gift bags filled with goodies.
Wanda Vienneau said she’s done more than 42 drop-offs.
Paik has dropped of books for 15 people, with plans to keep going.
“I’m thinking I will be doing road trips around Alberta this summer, since travelling is going to be a little more restricted,” she said.
“I’ll just ‘ninja’ in Smoky Lake and Mundare and anywhere else I feel like.”
The founder said she was surprised by how popular the group became in a short period of time.
“I like reading because it’s my little escape from life, going into a fantasy world,” she said. “But I didn’t realize how many other women felt that way and how great I would feel starting this group to help other women get that same escape.
“People are recommending books, discussing books. We discuss lots of stuff, even some mental health resources. It’s been really positive.
“I feel like I just created a group of 2,500 of my closest friends,” said Paik.