How to Start a Book Club

Book clubs are great for meeting new people and learning about books and authors. By assembling a variety of members, properly planning, you can start your own book club.

At your first meeting organize yourselves:

When, where and how often your book group will meet?

How long each meeting will last?

Whether you will serve refreshments?

The role of the leader (or if you will have one)?

Who develops the discussion questions?

What types of books will you read and discuss?

Most work well when you meet once a month and each member has to host and pick the book for their host month. The host then leads the discussion and sets out a small assortment of appetizers or desserts. You do need someone who makes sure the discussion gets started. Below are more ideas of how you can run yours.

Food and Themes

Themes can keep the book club fresh and exciting. Food and drink allow members to be creative and curb hunger and make people comfortable. When planning your reading schedule, consider the time of year, summer books and winter books. You might also consider a theme where you read books only from the best sellers list, classics, mysteries, romance. Use movies made after books you’ve read to enhance the discussion. Your book club can just do books that involve food. For example, have an Indian dinner when we reading The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. Or a tasting on cheese when reading Goat Song by Brad Kessler about a journalist who takes up making goat cheese. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender might make for a dessert only night. Is your book club reading a book based in England? Consider serving some tea and biscuits as a snack. When making a schedule of book club meetings and deciding which books to read, ask different members to contribute to the food and beverages. Split these details up so not all food and beverage choices land on the shoulders of one club member each week. has some book and recipe suggestions.

Continue inviting new members.

Do not feel as though you have gathered a group of people who work well together as book club members, you have to stop allowing and inviting new members. People’s lives and schedules change. This means members who used to make every meeting suddenly have new family commitments, education and work schedule changes, and other reasons for not making the group any longer. Continuing to invite new members which will keep the book club alive and healthy.

Choosing Good Books and Questions for Discussion

Look for books with complex characters who are forced to make difficult choices under difficult situations.

There are many guides available to help book groups focusing on genre fiction and find good books for discussion.

Use handouts when assigning reading. Conduct some research before the meeting to assign the next book and put together a handout for book club members.

Devise your own questions based on articles and interviews found online to give out to book club members.

You can start with everyone’s reactions and thoughts, but it can be nice to have a little more direction too.

LitLovers can add some context and interest to the discussion.

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Author: erinpruitt

I believe the best stuff is passed along. I will be sharing insider "tips" for your home, and fun ideas for your free time.


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