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How to Start a Book Club

iStock_000016891655XSmallI love to read, and my book club brings me joy. But not all book clubs work. Are you stuck in a book club with no traction? Would you like to start your own book club?

You don’t have to be a great reader or have a Master’s degree in English to start a book club. Starting one is a great way to get yourself to read more and enjoy what you’re reading by discussing it with others. A monthly book club is a nice way to get together with friends you’d like to see more often. Plus, it will demonstrate to your kids that reading is a lifelong joy.

So if it’s been a while since you read anything with more words than The Cat in the Hat, you might want to dig into something meatier — with a book club to talk you through it…literally.


  • Pick People You Like 1 of 8
    Pick People You Like
    Book Club is an excuse to get together with friends. I like to talk about books with funny, nice, interesting people. Go ahead and choose what you like, but funny, nice, and interesting friends are a great place to start. It's fun to talk about books with people who see things your way, but everyone in your book club doesn't always have to agree. That's part of the fun! Get a diverse group together and see where the discussion goes.
    Photo Credit: iStock
  • Get Creative 2 of 8
    Get Creative
    We usually read contemporary fiction in my book club, but there are no rules. You can arrange a book club around any group of people or theme. Want to get your nerd friends from college together to read and talk about sci fi? Do it. Want to read the classics with a group of moms or cook your way through a bunch of cookbooks with your friends? Go for it. You can do whatever you want.
    Photo Credit: iStock
  • Come Even if You Don’t Finish the Book 3 of 8
    Come Even if You Don't Finish the Book
    My book club meets once a month which is a reasonable amount of time for most people to finish the book, but sometimes life gets busy and people just don't have time to read the book. Everyone is welcome to book club every time, even the slackers. There's still plenty to talk about and camaraderie to be shared. We aren't in school. Book club shouldn't be punitive. It should be a pleasure!
    Photo Credit: iStock
  • Include Food 4 of 8
    Include Food
    In my book club we pick a food theme to go along with the book we read. For example, last month we read The Light Between Oceans so the food theme was seafood and /or a recipe you [spoiler] stole from someone else. Everyone brings something and we eat delicious food while we talk about the book. That way people who didn't read the book still have something to do, which is eat.
    Photo Credit: Josh Bingham
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  • Try a Couples Group 5 of 8
    Try a Couples Group
    My husband and I go to a couples book club. I love it because otherwise we don't read the same books. It gives us a lot to talk about. And if one of us doesn't finish the book, we can fill each other in.
    Photo Credit: iStock
  • Take Turns Choosing 6 of 8
    Take Turns Choosing
    You may find that you have similar taste to the other members of your book club, but if not it's great to branch out and try reading books or genres you would never try on your own.
    Photo Credit: iStock
  • Don’t Judge 7 of 8
    Don't Judge
    You'd be surprised how often you actually can choose a book by it's cover! However, if someone in your book club chooses a stinker, give them a break. It's fun to talk about how much you hated a book but don't make anyone feel bad for choosing it. Book club is a safe place.
    Photo Credit: Josh Bingham
  • Go Virtual 8 of 8
    Go Virtual
    Are your besties spread across country? That doesn't mean you can't have a book club with the ones you love. Get online, start a book blog or a Facebook group and plan a Google+ hang out or use Skype to get together and discuss the book. There's just something about talking about a book you love (or hate) with a good friend. It's worth it to make the effort, even when friends move away. And since we're talking about technology, you can share or loan e-books as easily as real ones.
    Photo Credit: iStock

Read more of my writing at Babble and on my blog, Every Day I Write the Book.

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