How to Start a Book Club

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In this increasingly digital age, we often lose touch with the friends and fellow book geeks, who were once a mainstay of our bookish lives. We fall out of touch, or our interactions are brief and meaningless. Fortunately, there are ways to reconnect with your friends and colleagues–both online and in a more traditional book-club setting. This is the perfect opportunity for you to start a book club.

Here are ideas you should consider when you start your book club.

Focus Your Book Club:

  • Determine what types of books you want to read (and discuss) in your book club
  • Make a list of genres–focus on just one genre?
  • Consider reading along thematic focal points
  • Request input from friends (potential members of the book club)
  • Open it up for the possibility of a scheduled selection of books–by vote, by individuals, etc.
  • Look at award-winning book lists (often popular for book club selections)

Call for Book Club Members:

  • Post messages to social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
  • Advertise in your local newspaper
  • Post on Craigslist
  • Pin up flyers at your local library, church, laundromat, coffee shops, or bookstores

Hold a First Meeting:

  • Discuss the rules or standards your club will follow
  • Survey attendees about expectations
  • Determine the location(s) of the book club
  • Decide on a meeting schedule (taking holiday and summer schedules into consideration)

To Moderate (or NOT):

  • Discuss how (and if) the group will be moderated
  • Determine what (if any) responsibilities the moderator will have
  • If the reading selection will be determined on a rotating schedule, the scheduled person could moderate (or facilitate discussion)
  • Think about questions for discussion

Potential Issues (Items for Discussion):

  • Consider: smoking, pets, tardiness and telephone calls during book club meetings
  • Determine if the book club will be limited (as far as the number of members, as well as whether guests are welcome)

Remember! The idea behind a book club is for you to get together with friends and fellow book geeks–to have a good time. It’s about reading (something you enjoy) and then discussing your opinions with others, who may offer their (very personal) take on the reading selection. You may not always see eye-to-eye, but (I hope) that you will build a group based on respect and mutual friendship. If the group becomes a gathering of frustrated rantings, or even violent outbursts, it’s time for you to find a different group.

Of course, you may find yourself in a community that’s too small to support a book club. If you are unable to find a group of people who are willing (or able) to join you for a book discussion, I encourage you to search online for a book club that will meet your needs. Or, you can start an online book club yourself.

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Esther is a full-time freelancer, who draws upon her background to deliver fun and compelling stories. To her, the story and the vehicle(s) of expression are important, but sometimes it's just as essential to explore those areas just outside one's comfort zone. She loves to jump head-first into that deep ravine, and discover where her parachute will take her.


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