A book club is a great way to meet new people who share your interest in reading or find new things to talk about with the friends you already have! Here are a few pointers on how to get going. If you have more questions, we‘d be happy to help. Just ask a librarian!
Advertise your first meeting in your local newspaper, church or bookstore to try to find a diverse group of people. Having people of different backgrounds and opinions in the club will make for more interesting discussions. Of course, you can also choose to limit your book discussion group to a few of your close friends and use the discussions as a way to ensure you get together regularly and share great food and conversation.
Your first meeting
At the first meeting, discuss the rules the group will follow and select a book for the next meeting. Some guidelines to decide are:
- What types of books will you read?
- How often will the group meet and where?
- How many people will you allow in the group? Too large of a group can make it difficult for everyone to get a chance to talk. Too small of a group will seem intimidating to those who aren‘t sure they want to participate.
- How will you select books for discussion?
- What is the cost limit to the books and should they be available only in paperback?
- Who will host each meeting and will that change?
- What is involved in hosting, such as who will provide refreshments? Some groups like to plan refreshments that match the theme of the book up for discussion.
- Who will lead each discussion and will that change?
- Who will keep records of what is discussed and arrange for book purchases?
How to select books
In selecting books for a discussion, you must find complex stories with well developed characters. Books that are too simplistic or non-fiction stories that just state the facts won‘t give you enough elements to explore.
There are several websites that provide reading group guides and book club recommendations. Try some of these:
Suggested discussion questions
Take turns leading the discussion so one person does not always have to come up with the discussion questions. Be sure to prepare background information on the author as you may learn clues to why they write the way they do. Here are some questions to think about while reading the book and to keep the discussion going:
- Did you like the book?
- What did you think about the characters? Were there any you liked and identified with? Were there any that you did not like?
- What were underlying themes in the book?
- What is the significance of the title?
- What did you think of the ending?
- Would this book make a good movie? Which actors could you see playing the main characters?
- Would you recommend this book to someone else?