Starting a Book Club

Thursday, October 14, 2010

October is National Reading Group Month which works out because it brings up a topic I've been wanting to discuss.

Starting a book club.

I've never participated in a real life official book club with multiple members and monthly meetings with in depth discussion about the topics brought up in a book. I picture good food and drinks and lots of interesting discussion and laughing.

And I realize most people don't have much time for anything extra, but I do know that many people out there have successful book clubs. How do you do it? Where would I find a group of girls with whom I want to spend time who are willing to commit? Do I do it at work or try to convince the few readers I know outside of there to commit even though geographically we're fairly far apart? And realistically, do I even have time to commit? Maybe it's something I should aim for sometime next year after I'm done with school. Or maybe I should join in on one through a bookstore or something like that?

What thoughts and/or experiences can you share?


Tina said...

I love Book Clubs.. I have one, its small only 6 of us but we meet once every other month. It gives all the gals two months to read a book and we always meet on Thursday nights. Sometimes we will pick a book thats becoming a movie so then we have an excuse for a GNO movie night with it. We try and mix it up taking turns at all our homes or going out for coffee to discuss. You should find friends who love to read or perhaps invite co-workers it could build new relationships.Start off easy say only meeting once and awhile, when I started my group at first it was once every three months but all the girls thought that was to long so we went to the every other. My group started as 10 but is now only 6 of us. We named ourselves too...The Nolas....:)

Bonnie said...

My friend and I formed a little informal book club and we would email each other weekly with our thoughts. Altho she enjoyed reading as much as I did, work and other activities kept getting in the way so we dropped our book club :(

Amanda said...

I'm curious - why a group of girls and not just a group of people? I have guys in my book club and they're great. To me,the best thing about book club is having people from all walks of life, old and young, male and female, different religions, upbringings, etc.

My book club has been around nearly 4 years now and I still absolutely love it.

Zibilee said...

I started a book club a few years ago and it's still going strong. There are only a handful of members, but we always have such a good time. I originally got a few people interested at church (though it is not at all a religious book club) and then started recruiting people in my area who I knew loved to read. We meet once a month at a restaurant, and discuss our current read and pick for the next month. everyone gets a chance to pick a book since we rotate. If you are close enough (the UCF area) we would love to have you come join us! I also know that Sandy of You've Gotta Read This lives in Orlando and has a great book club. I hope that you find (or start) a great one!

irisonbooks said...

I wish I could help you, I have never been part of a book group myself. I'd love to, it just hasn't happened. I imagine that it'd be very hard to find a group of people who wants to read the same books.

Juju at Tales of said...

I want to be in a club.
But where do I find willing local bookworms, I wonder?

Jennie said...

I want to join the local book club at our library but I am terrified to go on my own where I don't know anyone. I just need to put on my big girl panties and do it.

Carin S. said...

Starting a book club (as opposed to joining one) is a bit of work, so you might think about that. Also a B&N bookclub isn't as much of a committment - so if you wanted to try it, you could later quit without much angst. I've started one before and it was small but interesting. Now I've joined a big already-existing one and I'm liking it a lot too. If you start a new one, you might give it six months and then all the founding members bring a friend to see if you can expand. One of our members also belong to the B&N bookclub so you could double up like that, too! Whatever you do - good luck and keep us posted!

Erin said...

I've only just started going to a book group; I moved to a new city last month and decided to take the plunge. I actually found my group via GoodReads. There was a group formed for my city, and within it there was a thread for people interested in joining a book group.

I really like that the group is made up of new-to-me people. Our strongest bond is books, so that's the focus of our get-togethers. Sure, there is other discussion, there is snacking and such, but it never turns into a complaint-fest about work or a planning session about what to do over the weekend.

So, I guess I'd say try the library or GoodReads. Or, actually, even an independent bookstore. The one where I used to work had enough people ask about a store book group that we ended up starting one. It's been going now for almost 2 years. A bookstore may also know of other groups in the area who might be accepting new members.

Good luck! It's definitely fun. And if you find a group with the same reading tastes as you, reading the book each month just fits right in with what you were going to read anyway!

Booksnyc said...

I have joined a few bookclubs via - some work out, some not but I have always met interesting people.

Carin S. said...

Just to let you know - I included your post today in a round-up of NRGM posts. Thanks for supporting it!

Barbara said...

Thanks so much for supporting NRGM. I support and am a sponsor of NRGM. I love anything book club! Please go to to find ideas, activities, tips to starting a book club, ice- breakers for first meetings, etc.
Books club rock!Thx.

pburt said...

With my groups I just looked for people I knew who read and who would occasionally comment on what they read. Many people know at least one fellow reader and you just spiral out from there.

I like to keep groups small (6-8) because it keeps the side conversations down.

Then you have to decide - how will you choose the books? My one group rotates the pick and we generally don't have much lead time. My other group also rotates but one member has requested more lead time so we will come up with a schedule.

Where will you meet and what is the back-up plan if the hostess gets sick, etc. Again, my groups differ - my longest running group will either change locations or dates. My new group meets at a local restaurant if the hostess' house is unavailable.

Will you have a rule about finishing the book? again it varies by members needs and even in my one group we refine this rule as we go along.

How will you handle the discussion? My mom's group has a discussion leader who does research on the author or an other pertinent information and makes a brief presentation. She also has a set of questions to help spur the discussion. My groups do not have a leader and only occasionally use set discussion questions.


bermudaonion said...

Right now, I'm in a book club that meets monthly via Skype. I'm hosting a group of real life friends for a one time only book club later this month that I hope will turn into a regular thing.

Lynne said... should have a list of book clubs in your city.

leeswammes said...

I've started a book group in my town! It was not that hard. I talked to a friend who was also interested, and then we found one more lady, via my kid's school (I saw her a lot when picking up the kids).

From that, other people heard about it and joined, and some of the members are really good at getting new people for the group. We're at 12 now, have existed for about 3 years, and have lost 2 people along the way (so that's 14 in total).

12 is the max. We meet at someone's house. They get to choose the book for next time, although the others can veto it if they really hate the idea of the book.

So, we're all friends of friends and that makes it easier to meet at houses rather than somewhere more public. When the hostess can't make it, it's at my house. I never volunteer as hostess so we have my place as a back-up.

Good luck with starting a group!

Kristen said...

I love when Carin (her first post above) talks about me behind my back. I am the person in both the big existing bookclub (mostly a neighborhood group) and the B&N group so yes, it is possible to double (or triple or quadruple up--which I did when my kids were smaller). It's hard to walk into an existing group if you don't know anyone but it can be incredibly rewarding once you find the courage.

As for starting one yourself, if you don't live in a neighborhood (we have an e-mail list in ours) or an apartment building where you'd be comfortable throwing out the idea, why not approach your favorite bookstore or coffee shop about putting up a flyer to try and find like-minded people? You should probably know some basics that you want going into it like how often you want to meet, whether hardbacks are fine or if it should be all paperbacks, whether you would like people to have done some research on the books before coming to the meeting or if more free form is your ideal, etc. Choose a day and time that works for you and then just go for it. Things can always be tweaked down the line if that makes sense. Bookclubs can be wonderful or they can be "meh" but I wouldn't trade my many, many bookclubs throughout the years for anything.

Trish said...

If you start one, let us know how it goes!! I'm part of a work book club and the interest really varies (and there's only 5 of us in the whole company who are interested enough to even read a book every month). I'm constantly disappointed in the discussion and the books and the venues. I really wish that I could find a good outside of work club, but not many of my friends are readers. Most don't even know I have a book blog because they could care less! And those who do know, think I have some weird online book club. They'll ask "how's your online book club going?" HUH? LOL--sorry to hijack. Bottom line--will be interested to see if you come up with anything!!

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