How To Start a Book Club

If you love reading, learning, and sharing, a Book Club's perfect club for you. There is plenty to talk about in every book. Having bi-weekly or monthly meetings to discuss different books can leave you and the other members of your club enlightened. Try this out if you have the time. Book Clubs are fun bonding experiences for both men and women.


  1. Invitees. This is possibly the most important element in your book club. You may at first be tempted to invite your closest friends to join you in this rewarding ritual - but you will be surprised by how much strangers can contribute. Try gathering a small circle of your own friends and agree to have everyone bring someone who is not already in the circle. This way, you will not only have a chance to meet new faces, you can also get a variety of unpredictable inputs. A good mix is by far the best mix for Book Clubs.


  1. Number. A Book Club setting needs to be cozy and interactive. Having too many members could result in a lot of unspoken thoughts and unbalanced contribution. The suggested number for members would be approximately six to eight, and no more.


  1. Leadership. Some clubs have presidents and some don't. You may choose to do either for your Book Club. The main intention of having a leader is so that one particular person can be in charge when plans fall through - for example if there is a last minute change of location, the president's home will always be welcoming or if no one can decide on a book, the president should be able to provide an idea that can be unanimously agreed upon. To be less far-fetched, the president should be in charge of delegating and organizing; making sure that everyone is reminded to attend.


  1. Rotation/Location. If you have a good-sized living room and love to entertain, you may want to host the Book Club meetings every time. This is not a good idea however, because in time you may find yourself weary from the fixed responsibilities. Therefore, a rotation sheet can assure that everyone has a fair chance of contributing.

    If some members have homes that are inconvenient for entertaining, pair them up with another who does so the two can contribute together. Another need for rotation is in terms of discussion (see #9). The main thing is to keep the rotation flexible. There should be no "set in stone" rules for Book Clubs.


  1. Timing. Some members have more free time than others so they may have an advantage in getting their reading done. Others however may have to juggle their job, children, house work and reading the book all at once. The best way to come up with a good time of the week (and in how many weeks/months) is to first discuss it as a group.

    Evenings are worth considering because that's when most people get off work. Once every two weeks is also reasonable for Book Club meetings as it usually takes less than half a day to finish a book. Spread out in two weeks that isn't a lot. Once every month works too if members' schedules are uncompromisable.


  1. Treasury. Another thing to discuss during the timing meeting is your treasury. Agree on how much should be put into the Book Club - for food and books. Vote on a reliable treasurer if you have to. Sometimes, expenses such as books can be reduced if you borrow from public libraries. Use your members' judgments to decide upon a good number per meeting.


  1. Food/Drinks. Depending on the time of your meetings, different fare should be served. If the members choose to hold their meetings after dinner, lighter food and drinks should be served. If meetings are held during dinner or Sunday brunches, the appropriate meals should be provided by the member or team who is in charge (based on rotation).


  1. Books. There is no specific book that can be recommended for a Book Club. Book lovers should have a sense of adventure when it comes to picking "the right one." Sure, we all have our favorites, but when it comes to picking a book for six to eight people, one cannot be too specific. See listed sites to get recommendations for books.


  1. Conversation. Finally, you're all ready to relax and sit down to your first meeting. Pose questions about the book to break the ice. Listen to everyone's feedback. If the setting is generally quiet, and everyone is shy, make a rotation list for members to lead the discussion for every book. This way, everyone has a chance to contribute.


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Good, practical suggestions. Thanks.

By Susan N