How Not to Kill a Book Club
Have you ever killed a book club? I mean, accidentally. Maybe you suggested a book that flopped, or the entire group just flaked out on you? Now what was once a lively discussion group that debated hot literary topics has turned into a sad bunch of people gnawing on cheese.
Let's chalk it up to teachable moments, right? We asked your fellow readers how to avoid killing a book club, and, of course, they had great advice. Here are some of our favorite takeaways (but you can read through all of the ideas on Facebook and Twitter):
1) Do Your Own Thing
"I recently joined a book club with a slightly different approach that I really like. Instead of all reading the same book, everyone reads whatever book they choose and then at the meeting each person gives a short summary of her book's content and what she most liked or disliked about it. I've already discovered several new (to me) authors based on other members' recommendations," wrote Marilynn White.
"Don't force them to all read the same book; instead, focus on a theme. Allow them to teach the book to everyone," writes VPS Secondary ELA on Twitter.
2) Be Aware of People's Pocketbooks…and Their Time
"Don't assume everyone can run out and buy the newest book just because it's popular. Also make sure that the meetings don't get stretched too far apart. Three months is too long. And, yes, wine," wrote Jessica Skinner
3) A Bit of Democracy Doesn't Hurt
"We have one person, different each time, bring three to five book suggestions with synopsis and everyone votes. First choice (1), second (2), etc. Lowest 'number' is the book that time. Next meeting the person who brought the book suggestions hosts questions. Not everyone reads every book entirely, every time, and no one minds. We usually segue to relative topics/themes/characters from the book. So there is no 'your books always suck' because we all contributed to the choice," wrote Carol Anne Gartland.
4) Find a Tribe of Like-Minded Readers
"Don't read the typical crap just because it shoots to the top of the bestseller list. Start a book club based on similar reading habits and interests then stick to that. Re-evaluate the needs of members regularly, make changes to accommodate people when possible," wrote Mags Kondrat.
5) Reinvent the Book Club
"Don't start one [a book club]. Do a silent reading gathering and everyone can enjoy their own books at their own pace with some nice nibbles and nice drinks and can chat about what they are reading afterwards," April Koenig wrote on Facebook.
6) Take the Pressure off!
"We only 'have' to read as many pages as our age…most [of us] are between 50 and 70. If by then you are not enjoying it, find one you do enjoy [there are] lots of good books out there. We have a set day and time…rotate who brings snacks…and once a year do a movie of a book we all enjoyed with lunch, everyone brings a dish inspired somehow from the book," wrote Linda Briggs.
"Plenty of wine and nibbles, accept not everyone will read/finish the book, agree to disagree, everyone takes turns to host, read lots of different genres. Get drunk, have fun, gossip, have a large group and have no pressure to make every meet up. We all have busy lives so book group needs to be a fun catch up with some discussion of the book—if it becomes a dull duty event it will die. Our group is called "Probably the Worst Book Group in the World" and we have been going for 9 years," wrote Lindsey Blake.
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!
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