If you’re thinking about starting a book club, there are a lot of factors to consider. Who will be in it? What kinds of books should you read? How often should you meet? Where should you meet?
The decisions can be overwhelming, but we’ve got you covered. Our how-to guide should help streamline your decision-making process so that you’ll have your book club up and running in no time.
One of the most important parts of your book club will be the members. Obviously, you want it full of people who like to read and discuss books, but that’s not the only factor. You’ll need to consider what genres they like, how long it takes them to read, how social they are, and if they have the free time to commit to a book club. You’ll also need to consider how many people you want there. Remember that not everyone will be able to make it every time, so a group of 4 or 5 may not be enough for a well-rounded discussion. On the flip side, 12 may be too many—with that many people, the conversation is likely to spend far more time derailed and/or fractured than productive.
Your book club picks will likely be influenced by the group of people, but you may want to limit the scope. Do you want to only read official book club picks? Those usually have discussion questions in the back, which relieves the pressure of having to come up with questions yourself. Is there a specific genre or two everyone likes? Your club could just read mystery or historical fiction if that’s what floats your boat. Or perhaps you’ll read exclusively the classics or new releases.
Once you’ve limited your scope (or not! Some book clubs are eclectic!) how will you decide what book to read? Is it a true democracy, where every meeting people can nominate books, and then vote on which one to read? Or perhaps one person nominates books for everyone to vote on? You could also skip the voting and have one person just pick the books. Or you could rotate who’s turn it is to pick. The possibilities are endless.
Where can you meet? Are you going to host it at a local coffee shop, the library, or over dinner at a favorite restaurant? At your home, or someone else’s? There’s also the option of having a wandering book club—one that either rotates locations or goes to a new place every time. You can actually tie this to your method of picking a book—if you wanted to do a rotating schedule for both, you could say that whoever picks the book hosts the next time, or alternatively, whoever hosts gets to pick the next book. With a wandering book club, you’ll want to make sure you have a solid means of communication—an email list, a Facebook group, something—to remind people where the next meeting is. No matter the location, make sure that you remember that this isn’t just academic—this is a social event. There should be plenty of seating and food/drinks to go around.
When planning a book club, it’s important to have a consistent schedule so the members can keep that time clear as often as possible. However, how often the group meets should be dictated by the reading habits of the members. Is your group full of excited, avid readers, who will pick up the book the day after the meeting and be done by the end of the week? If so, you may want to have the meetings more often, like every other week. Or is your group full of people with lives so busy they can hardly make time to read? If so, you may want to have the meetings less often, like every other month.
Do you have any other tips a great book club? Let us know below!