9.18.2014

:: How to start your own book club ::


I had never really thought of joining a book club. That is, until a girl friend at work who attends one suggested that I join her one night. And so, I did! I simply jumped right in so to speak, and I've never looked back! I've enjoyed it a lot. And made a very good friend out of my co-worker as well. I think the world of her. We have so much fun that we do lots more than just book club these days! But, anyway, reviewing the success of our book club, I have some wonderful suggestions on how to start a book club on your own if you don't have any in your area you can join. Don't be intimidated. Putting together a successful book club is easier than you might think.


the books my book club has read...

1. Determine who you are going to invite. Do you want to invite friends only? Co-workers too? Or, open to anyone?  Don't worry if your group starts small at first. As members enjoy themselves, they can start inviting their own friends and co -workers and your group will grow faster than you can believe.

2. Determine the frequency of your meetings and set the schedule. I'd recommend evaluating your group and your sense of their schedules to set the right frequency. For us, once every month is perfect. It gives everyone enough time to read the book, while others can read 4-5 books in that same time period. Everyone is different.


3. Find a meeting location. We have an incredibly easy solution for this. We've started using my friend Missy's place. It's perfect with its eclectic Library upstairs, it really seems to fit us and all our variables perfectly. It even has a fireplace! It's so warm, comfortable and inviting to the eye.  Coffee shops, restaurants and even community centers could be wonderful alternatives, as well.




4. Determine how the books will be selected, and who will be doing the deciding. The most fair and agreeable approach that my book club uses, is that we all suggest some books, and then we all vote on them for the next 6 month period. The voting is done online, and gives everyone an opportunity to participate in the selection process.

5. Narrow the focus of your book club. Or not. If you'd like the possibility of exploring recurring themes, or just want to help your participants to narrow their choices, consider establishing a theme or other guidelines. For even more focus, you could select a genre like mystery, chick lit, or even young adult fiction. How fun might it be to meet with friends to discuss old favorites like "The Babysitter's Club" or "Nancy Drew"?! But, in my book club, we are open to anything, and to be honest, I have read some of the best books ever, and I can tell you that if it had not been the monthly book, I would have never read it. And I would have really missed out.


6. Establish ground rules. Consider establishing a rule around what types of books are not allowed. Perhaps establish a rule that while non-fiction is allowed,

you will not be reading non-fiction that focuses on politics, religion or business.
It may save some unnecessary bad feelings.




7. Set the structure for your meetings. Will they be structured and guided by the host? Will you allow more "open" discussion based on the interest of the members? Or a blend? There are wonderful resources online to find discussion questions to help guide your book club discussion. My personal favorite is Lit Lovers; and Book Clubs Resource has also been very helpful. In our group, the President is the host and leads the discussion. It works out very well.


8. Lastly, determine how you will send invites and collect RSVPs. An easy and free solution is to use FaceBook; you can have a private group where everyone can post messages and through which I you can send the invites. The group I'm in has been using meetup.com and works really good too. Don't have a tech-savvy group? Paper invitations are always an option.


Tonight, my book club meets to discuss Reconstructing Amelia by  Kimberly McCreight, an absolutely thrilling read. I think that we all value our time together, and appreciate the push to find the time to read. It's truly been a fulfilling experience participating in a book club. If you love to read, I'd definitely encourage you to jump in and start your own book club.








No comments:

Post a Comment

About this blog