Readers to the Rescue: Your Best Book Club Tips
The first rule of book club? We talk about book club! We wanted to know what are the best rules, ideas, and tips for being part of a wildly successful book club, so we turned to our experts…you. One of the first things we noticed: Y'all drink a lot of wine. The second trend: You put a lot of smart thinking into your groups!
Here are some of our key takeaways on how to have a successful book club (but you can read through all of the ideas on Facebook and on our Twitter page):
1) Ground rules matter.
Decide how many members you want in your group for the best discussions (a lot of you said you like a group of fewer than a dozen people), what types of books you'll want to read, and how you'll pick the next book. Popular methods for picking books include: Everyone picks a month for their book recommendation or the group votes among a few books. We also liked this suggestion: "Everyone nominates two books, all go into a hat, next two books are chosen. Everyone has a stake in what is read," from Sorcha on Twitter.
Also important: Decide who will host each meeting and what that entails. Some of you cook dinner and the guests bring the wine, some of you throw out a bowl of chips and others provide beer. Pick the vibe that will suit you and the members of your group. Some book clubs have a rotating schedule among friend's homes, while others meet at a restaurant to save everyone the hosting duties.
Oh, and it helps if folks actually read the book.
"We set rules at our first meeting, cooperatively. For the example: We set a page limit, the book has to be easy to get hold of and affordable, we don't allow books that are part of a series and don't stand by themselves, and we don't allow books that you love so much you can't take criticism of (we all have one!)," wrote Fran Lane.
"It is important to pick good club books. Those are books that keep the group interested and lend themselves to good discussion. Not all books do this. Each year a person signs up for a month they will host, they pick the book for that month, which is revealed the month before. They have club in their home, provide snacks, and lead that month's discussion," wrote Kandie K. Sweeney.
2) Get opinionated.
Create an atmosphere where everyone is comfortable sharing their opinions—and make sure one or two people don't dominate the conversation. A number of people said it's a bore when a "pushy" person take over, so keep a watch for book-club bullies! Several of you mentioned having talking points or leading off the discussion with a bit of background about the author and book. Remember, it can be boring if everyone agrees and sometimes the best conversations are about the books you didn't like.
"As a leader have questions prepared to guide the discussion. Otherwise the group ends up talking about everything but the book," wrote Bobbi Harman.
3) Be creative! Remember, this is fun.
We loved your ideas on how to shake up the traditional format of a book club. Among the groups we want to crash? Those who have monthly themes (beach reads for July!), those who pair food with a book's theme, and the groups where members also bring a book to swap.
"My favorite book club experience was where we did NOT read the same book. (I have found that the conversation often fizzles out quickly in that type of club.) Instead, everyone brought in one or two books they had recently read and informally presented them to the group. Everyone left with at least a couple of new ideas for their next book!" wrote Stephanie Le Francofille.
"Have everyone list 5 words they had to look up in the dictionary while reading the book. Compare the words and definitions," wrote Amy Stone Shepherd.
Looking to join book club? Goodreads hosts thousands of groups and one is sure to be perfect for you. Need more advice on a great bookclub book? Check out these readers' most successful picks!
Check out more recent blogs:
25 Big Books of Spring
Celebrating the Joy of Rereading a Favorite Book
Most Anticipated YA Books of 2017
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