I have a dear friend who is a member of a book club. She enjoys meeting up with other readers and discussing the books that the group has chosen to read. I asked her to give me some tips on how to start a book club. Here’s what she suggested:
1. Decide on the “tone” of the club. Will the feel be seriously academic, highly social, or somewhere in between?
2. Genre matters! What kind of books will be read? Will the group focus on best-selling literature or mass market genres such as mysteries, romances, thrillers, etc?
3. The “when” and “where” also matter. How often will the group meet? It seems once a month is about the average. If you want to meet more often, breaking the reading into chapters (read chapters 5 through 10 before the next meeting) will work. And will you meet in someone’s home? Or rotate meeting locations? Meeting in the local library might be an option.
4. Decide on the size of the group. Probably between 8 and 16 members is a good size. Large enough to have a good conversation even if several members are absent, but not so large as to make the discussion overwhelming.
5. Naming the group might be a fun “ice breaker” at the first meeting.
6. Keeping in touch: exchange emails and set up a “loop” or create a phone tree for meeting reminders or emergency cancellations.
7. Going above and beyond—collect dues and use the money to buy books for the local library, a school, or donate the money to a local literacy program.
Here are some suggestions on how to structure your meetings (with or without a leader).
Find ideas for promoting discussion here.
Are you a book club member? How often do you meet? What types of books does your group read?