Five Baby Steps to Starting a Book Club

Jennifer
January 12, 2011

If your lust for literature has dwindled to making it through The Hungry Catepillar three times in a row, then a Savvy book club is just what you need.  Book clubs encourage you to read, and actually finish, an interesting piece of literature, and they help you to set aside a little time each month to engage in stimulating conversation with friends. Here are five Savvy steps to start a book club of your very own. The time spent reading, sharing with friends and hanging out together is certainly worth the effort.  Some book clubs can last a lifetime!

1.  Invite Friends.  Ask three to five of your friends to commit to your book club. Decide if you want a spicy, eclectic group or a comfortable, casual group.  An all mom book club is especially fun because you can have some social time with mom friends without little ones around.  But inviting friends of all ages and backgrounds adds diverse perspectives to book discussions.  A group of seven to ten works best, but even three to five friends will allow you to get started on a book club.
 
2.  Set up guidelines.  Set the ground rules early to have the most effective and well-attended book club.  Make sure all the participants know how the books are selected, how often you will meet (once/month works well), how many people are invited, what time of day the meeting will be held (later evening after the kids have gone to bed is a popular choice) and how long each meeting will last (two-hours is usually sufficient). Be sure to email these guidelines to all the members so everyone is on the same page from the get-go.
 
3.  Decide on a theme or genre.  Determine if your group would like to focus on one particular genre, if you want to jump around to a variety of different of genres, alternate each month between fiction and non-fiction, or add in the latest parenting book once each year. This part of the book club process can be set by you, as the leader, or it can be a malleable part of the club adjusted month-to-month.
 
4.  Choose a meeting time and location.  The simplest plan for a meeting spot is to have each member host a meeting one or two times each year. Each month the host will provide appropriate snacks and drinks for the time of day you select and choose the book selection for the following month.  If you don't want the pressure of entertaining, then choose a local café or restaurant that is quiet enough to allow for good conversation and has large enough tables for all the members to sit together.
 
5.  Book selection and discussion.  Part of the fun of a book club is being exposed to literature you might not have chosen on your own.  Rotating the book selection to a new member each month creates a dynamic and varied batch of books to discuss.  To keep your book discussions fresh, have everyone bring a page number with a pertinent passage and a question or two to share.  You can make this as complex or simple as suits your group.  Having the book selector bring a little history on the author and book also adds context to the work and enhances the discussion.

 

From the Parents

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