One of the things that I’ve really enjoyed being a part of lately is a book club. We kicked off last August, and it has been a blast so far. We are by no means perfect, but it is always fun to get together. When I first started thinking about a book club, I searched for tips on how to start one. All I could find were tips from book blogs and such. But what about the average Jane without an English degree? Here are a couple of tips to help get you started if you have been considering joining or starting a book club.
1. Who to Invite
For our particular book club, I asked around to a couple of friends and co-workers to see who was interested. Once we had a core, we asked people to bring friends of their own. It worked out that it was nice to get together with old friends and also meet some new ones! I was surprised to find that some of my friends simply were just not readers, and not as surprised that some just didn’t have the time. We are just getting to that age, sigh.
2. Choosing a Theme
Do you like romance books? History? Fiction? Are you a serious reader? For me, personally, I mainly read for fun. I do not consider myself a literary expert by any means. Symbolism? Metaphors? These were long lost on me after high school. For others, symbolism may be interesting topics to discuss. It is all up to you and the direction you want your club to go. Ours includes a variety of books, since the rotating host picks the books.
3. Frequency of Meetings
An important decision is how often do you want your book club to meet? It should be consistent so that members do not get confused. Do you want to meet bi-monthly, monthly, every other month? It will all depend on all of club’s obligations. People will miss meetings…it happens. We originally did a book a month. After a few meetings, we found that it was hard for members to finish a book within a month, and changed to reading a book every other month. It is what works for us, but it may not work for everyone. You may want to meet more or less.
Tip: If you decide to meet monthly, I recommend meeting at the beginning of the month. This minimizes the need for schedule changes around the holidays. For example, we meet the second Tuesday of the month.
4. Pick a Location
There are several options for meeting locations. A lot of libraries have rooms available, you just have to reserve them. I think Books a Million/Barnes and Noble may also have this option. Quiet restaurants and cafes are another option. For our club, we rotate hosts for every meeting. Every once in a while, we will hold it at a bar or restaurant to mix it up. If you are wandering, yes we are the cool people holding a book club at a bar : ) You know you want to be friends with us.
You’ll need to figure out the best way to communicate updates, book decisions, reminders, and meeting locations to the club. I know one club that utilizes facebook to communicate. Not all of our club is on facebook, so we use good old reply all on emails. I also keep a list of the books we have read and the upcoming book here on the site under “Not Your Average Book Club.” Another option is setting up a private website if your club is tech savy : )
6. Picking a Book
One easy option is to follow a popular book club like Oprah’s or Books-a-Million. If you have a specific theme, it will not be too difficult to pick. Your club could always have a vote. Remember earlier when I mentioned that we rotate hosts? To make picking a book easier, we have the next month’s host pick the book. We get a good variety that way also. I borrowed this idea from another book club I visited once. Whenever we meet at a non-host location, it always takes us a while to come to a decision.
Every book club is different. I’d say our book club is semi-serious. For the first book club, I googled discussion questions for the book. We talked about the book for about 10-15 minutes, would get sidetracked, then would somehow make it back to the book lol. It works for us. Sometimes only the half of the group has read the book…and that’s okay, we don’t judge 🙂
Some books actually have book club questions in the back of the book. Your club may want to have a set of questions ready before you get together so that everyone can prepare. Or maybe you don’t have any questions at all and just go with the flow.
Once you become comfortable with your book club, consider informal get-togethers. On our off month, we plan some sort of get together. Once we rented a movie of one of the books we read. We also went to see Divergent since most of the club had read it. We’ve also thought about getting together for a craft night, dinner, or drinks after work. It isn’t hard for us to find an excuse to get together and hang out : )
Hopefully this post inspires you to start your own book club, rather it be for serious discussion or an excuse to get together with friends 🙂
Thanks for stopping by!