Launching and hosting a book club
After reading an amazing book, you may be bursting with excitement to talk about it. Unfortunately, doing so can be difficult if you don’t know anyone else who's read it. Sure, you can recommend the book to others and have a quick chat regarding what the book is about, but you can't really dive into a discussion about the book's characters, plot twists, ending and more.
Starting a book club may be the best solution to this dilemma. You'll be able to read the same title with other people you know and have the opportunity to discuss it in a social atmosphere.
Here are some helpful tips for launching a book club that is engaging and informative.
Getting people to participate
You can certainly ask your friends, family and co-workers to participate in a book club, but you should also consider inviting people you don't know. Mary Twomey, author of the Saga of Spheres Series, explains that you can hang up book club fliers in libraries, churches, high schools and colleges to attract participants. You might also announce the launch of your book club on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to spread the word about its development.
Deciding how often to meet
When starting a book club, it's important to be considerate of members' busy lives. Set up a schedule that gives everyone time to read the book and pick a day and time to meet for discussion when members are most likely to be free to attend. Andrea Peskind Katz, owner of GreatThoughts.com, recommends meeting once a month to every six weeks. "It would be best to start the book club, give everyone four weeks to read a new book and then test the timing. I find that book clubs monthly work great from September to early December and again from late January to late May. With travel schedules, summer is tough," she explains.
Determining what to read
Don't feel pressured to pick the title that everyone in your book club will read each month. There are a variety of ways to select a book that eases the decision-making process and introduces you and fellow book club members to new topics you might not have initially considered. Twomey says her book club sometimes votes on what to read. "We try to switch genres, and if we start a series, we are sure to finish it. You could always just get an Amazon top 20 list on fantasy fiction, nonfiction, whatever your group is into and go down that list. We always make sure it's available at the library, though. You don't want to make someone buy a book they might hate," she explains.
Facilitating a discussion about the book
If you want your club's discussion of a book to feel more structured than a casual conversation between friends, prepare questions in advance. According to Katz, "Most of the major publishers have book club discussion questions on their websites. Additionally, the author of the book may have discussion questions on his or her website."
With these basic guidelines in mind, you should be able to launch a book club that's enjoyable for all participants. After reading your first few books, you can adjust the structure of the club to better suit everyone's needs and interests.