Have you ever had the desire to organize a book club, but you had no idea where to start? I’m here to tell you that it’s easier than you think! I started a book club for my fellow school teachers when quarantine started last spring, and it’s been one of the best things I’ve done for my sanity during these crazy times. Reading is the perfect escape, and when you do it with friends, it’s even better!
Here are a few things to think about when starting a book club:
First, who is going to make up your group? Is it going to consist of friends, church members, coworkers, a mom’s group, or possibly family members? Are you going to keep it private or open it up to whoever wants to join? The group demographics are important for the overall feel and vibe of the group. Coworkers may be a bit more serious while friends may be more laid back. I’ve been blessed with a fantastic group of coworkers, so it’s been so much fun to read and discuss with them! When I decided to start our group, I sent out a schoolwide email and Facebook post to our school page. Anyone who was interested signed up and we went from there. I created a Facebook page to keep everyone in the loop, and it’s been extremely easy to manage that way.
Secondly, you need to think about book selections. Are you going to read fiction books or open it up to every genre? I’m a fiction girl myself, so every book we’ve read so far has been fiction. The options are endless, so make it fun! I try my best to choose books everyone will like, so even if it’s something I specifically want to read but don’t think others will enjoy, I leave it off my list. I typically research and narrow our choices down to four to five books, type up a synopsis/link each book, and then the other ladies vote on them. Thanks to technology, voting is easy. I either type up our options in a Google form for voting or put a polling option in our Facebook group. Majority wins, so once the voting is done we go from there. Another great option is letting a different member pick the book each month. That way everyone gets a chance to pick something they want.
Another thing to keep in mind when you’re choosing a book is the book/reading format. Most of the women in our club read ebooks on their Kindles or other devices, but several checkout books from their local library or listen on Audible. I make sure all of our options are on the cheaper side or are popular enough to find in the library. Reading can quickly become an expensive hobby if you let it, but nobody wants to pay for pricey books every few weeks.
One of the most important parts of a book club is the discussion aspect, so you need to think that through as well. You need to make sure the books you pick foster great discussions/debates. I love fluff books more than most, but those often fall a bit flat when you’re talking about them. If you google “book club discussion books” you’ll find a wealth of knowledge! Many novels have discussion questions in the back, so that’s a great place to start! Keep in mind, if you want to keep it light and easy, choose books that aren’t too politically heated or to one extreme or another. If you love a great debate though, go for the heavy hitters!
Lastly, you need to think through meeting logistics. Since our book club started during quarantine, we used Zoom a ton for our first group meetings. It wasn’t ideal, but it made our little group possible. If you want to have family/friends who live out of town be a part of your group, technology definitely makes that an option. Really though, meeting options are endless! You can make it fun and meet at restaurants or rotate at members’ homes. If it’s a work book club, you can use a meeting room at your place of employment to discuss your books. If it’s a church book club, you can use your fellowship hall to host your meetings. No matter where you are, the friendships and discussions will make it fun!