What’s more fun than getting together with friends and talking about books? Well…I could name quite a few things. However, being able to talk and discuss stories that engage everyone is exciting and honestly quite enjoyable. Starting a book club with friends, coworkers or even strangers can help build stronger bonds. Why? Because we are able to discuss topics that may not occur in our daily lives, and from the discussions and opinions expressed during the meetings, you are able to learn more about the people involved in your book club. For example, reading Lexicon by Max Barry, I learnt what the members of my book club would do if they were able to control the way people thought. Not a typical conversation over a glass of wine, but completely normal during a book club meeting (yes, wine was still involved). Although book clubs can be fun and filled of jokes, there is more to starting one than what one might think. To help make sure things are nice and smooth with your book club, here are a few questions and pointers to help you get started.
- Who are you going to invite to join your book club?
This is where you decide on who you are looking for to join your club. If you are to invite friends, make sure to take in account the level of commitment that a book club needs and what your friends are willing to offer. Sometimes friends aren’t as committed to reading the books and meeting at the set times.
If you are looking to ask strangers, using sites like kijiji, Facebook, Craigslist and so forth can be quite useful in finding individuals who are interested in joining a book club. Make sure you understand that your members may not have a lot in common and opinions can massively vary. But also consider that this can be a good thing, being able to hear other’s opinions can actually broaden your views and help fuel some good conversations or debates.
- Where will you meet?
Locations, locations, locations! Where do you decide to meet? If you are looking for a more intimate setting, maybe host the book club at one of the member’s houses, taking turns on who hosts. If you are looking for a more public setting, places like Panera Bread, local coffee shops, and restaurants can suit your needs. Just keep in mind the noise levels at the location you pick. Online meetings are another option that some groups are beginning to use, one where people can discuss books all over the world through discussion boards.
- What are you going to read?
Book selection is one of the most important pieces to a book club, hence the name book club (obvious right?). Together as a group you need to decide on if you are looking to read books of a specific genre, author type (i.e Canadian authors), maximum pages and so forth. Are you guys going to take turns choosing books? Choose from the current bestsellers lists? Open selections, where each member brings a book option and you choose from the options?
4. Have fun!
Another thing you can add to your book club is to come up with little assignments or discussion questions based on the books chosen, which can help keep your meetings from feeling stale.
Book clubs can be difficult to start, but once started it can be quite fun. Enjoy a glass of wine, even a bottle of beer, gossip once the meeting is over, and catch up on each other’s lives. Not trying to sound repetitive, but the key tip to having a successful book club, is to have fun!