Book clubs are such an underrated hobby. They're a great way to meet new people, really interesting people who you may have never crossed paths with otherwise. You'll learn more about your likes and dislikes as a reader and learn to broaden your horizons, discovering genres that you'll go on to fall in and out of love with. And for all of those books that need to be discussed, within a book club they have a home to have their every corner explored. No longer do you have to force family and friends to read a book just to have someone to discuss the shocking plot twists, the hidden meanings and where the characters are now. A book club deals with that for you.
Then again, if you're reading this you're probably very aware of these benefits. You just haven't found the right book club for you. So, why not start your own?
How? Keep reading and we'll reveal all.
Take time to think about all of the book clubs you've been part of previously. What didn't you like about them? What did you love about them? Make a list, check it twice and implement changes to your own book club accordingly.
Never been part of a book club before? It's straight to step two for you.
How many people are you willing to welcome into your new book club life? There are no set rules here, simply personal preference. Are you happy to have a large group or would you prefer something more intimate?
Consider the pros and cons of both options. With a larger group comes a wider variety of viewpoints which means more room for discussion. However, if you're shy this may hinder the likelihood of speaking up and participating and furthermore, how much enjoyment you get out of the book club.
With smaller groups, although there is more opportunity for everyone to participate, not everyone will be able to attend every meeting and you may find numbers dwindling around busy times of the year such as holidays.
If you're not sure about group size, this is where your list from step one comes in handy. It may be easier to start small and build from there while you work out the optimum size for your book club.
You have a few options for recruiting your members:
1. Ask friends if they would be interested in joining. Encourage everyone to bring another friend.
2. Use community resources to your advantage e.g local school or neighbourhood community. Social media is a great way to get the word out and find people who may be interested in joining.
3. Ask your local librarian if he/she knows of others who are looking for a book club to join.
The venue options are much more extensive than you may initially expect. It will be easier to find the right venue depending on the group size but in most cases all you have to do is ask.
Members' homesCoffee shopsRestaurantsLocal libraryAnywhere with a private function room (may only be applicable to bigger groups)
If none of these appeal to you, you could always go down the online route. This is a great option for those living in more remote areas, those who lead busy lives or rely on technology to keep in touch with old friends.
Choosing which books to read within your book club is probably the hardest part but try not to make it more complicated than it needs to be. If you decide to start a book club that focuses on a particular genre, make that clear to your members from the outset. Challenge yourself by trying books you wouldn't normally pick from the shelf.
Decide on how book selection will be determined going forward. You could allow books to be chosen by the member hosting the meeting that week or month. Another option is to go by a voting system. There are plenty of pre-made lists available too which will help you to create a list of books in advance.
Everyone's reading speed differs so while most book clubs meet on a monthly basis, this may not suit the needs of your members.
If possible, when inviting members to join try to pick people with similar reading speeds. No one wants to be left twiddling their thumbs or struggling to keep up with everyone.
It will take some work to organise and establish your book club in the early stages but don't forget to have fun. Remember why you started the book club in the first place.
If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below.
We'd love to hear about the book clubs you've successfully set up in the comments too!
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