The Ultimate Guide to Starting Your Own Book Club
So: you're a book lover, you've always wanted to start your own book club but you don't know where to begin. Did I guess right? I did?! Uncanny!
Well, mind-reading abilities aside, that's great news, because you're in the right place: look no further than this ultimate guide to starting your own book club!
Step 1: Find Like-Minded Individuals
Now this is a hard truth you'll have to swallow: no matter how strong you are, no matter how clever, no matter how brave, you can't go it alone. If you want to have a book club, you have to, have to, have to have other people involved. And finding these other people can be tough. They need to be the sorts of people interested in the same sort of books you're interested in, and keen to discuss them with people like you. Thankfully, this very website is a great place to dig up such people. Go ahead and give us a browse!
Step 2: Determine Logistics
Once you've found a few interested parties, it's time to determine the logistics of your book club. Some key considerations include:
- How often will you meet?
- Where will you meet?
- How many people will be in the club?
- Will there be a theme or genre for each meeting?
- How will you choose the books to read?
The point here is that there are no right or wrong choices. Your book club can behave however you (and your fellow members) want it to behave.
Step 3: Choose Your First Book
Choosing your first book can be daunting, but there are a few strategies you can use to make the decision easier. You might consider:
- Starting with a classic that everyone is likely to enjoy, such as To Kill a Mockingbird or The Great Gatsby.
- Picking a recent bestseller that has received rave reviews, such as The Vanishing Half or The Four Winds.
- Choosing a book that relates to a particular theme or topic that your group is interested in.
Our top tip: Choose something short. There's nothing so daunting as being faced by a 700-page monster if you haven't had a bit of a run-up. So start off with something nice and short so everyone can get their eye in.
Step 4: Establish Meeting Norms
Rules are rules, but norms are a different matter. Any politician will tell you (wistfully, in some cases) that it's impossible to legislate everything, so you need something softer to keep everything running smoothly. Here are a few examples:
- Setting a time limit for discussions to ensure that everyone has a chance to speak.
- Agreeing on a format for discussions, such as going around the circle and giving everyone a chance to share their thoughts.
- Encouraging everyone to come prepared with a few discussion questions to help guide the conversation.
The idea here is to build a structure that makes the book club actually fun. I know, I know, structure and fun sound incompatible, but it's better than a chaotic mess in the long run.
Step 5: Keep the Momentum Going
Starting a book club is one thing, but keeping it going is another. To ensure that your book club stays active and engaging, consider:
- Creating a shared Google Doc or spreadsheet where members can suggest and vote on future reads.
- Assigning a different member to lead the discussion each meeting to keep things fresh.
- Organizing social events outside of the meetings to help build relationships and keep members engaged.
I know, I know, it sounds like a lot of hassle. But if you're going to plant a seed, you also need to be prepared to water and weed it if you want one day to be able to smell the flower. Trust me: it's worth the effort.
Starting a book club can be a fun and rewarding experience for anyone who loves to read. By following these steps, you can create a community of fellow bookworms who share your passion for literature. Happy reading, and catch you next time!