Currently, there is a great interest in book clubs; they seem to be popping up everywhere. Unfortunately, many of these clubs disband before they ever really get started. The success or failure of any of these clubs depends upon the participants. In order to have a successful book club where people are sure to participate, I recommend the following:
1. First, think of why you want to start a book club? Do you want to find people who are interested in reading the same genre as you? Do you want to have themes where you explore different types of writing and stories? What are your goals for the group?
2. Where would you want to meet? If you are meeting complete strangers for this, you may not want to have them in your home until everyone gets to know each other a little better. Local libraries often have meeting rooms you can call and reserve. In fact, they can help you obtain enough copies for the whole group! Coffee shops, restaurants, and community centers are great places to check into as well.
3. Be open-minded. In a group of intelligent people there are bound to be differences of opinion. That's exactly what you want in a book club, differing perspectives is the spice that keeps the conversation flavorful!
4. How are you going to find the people for your group? Again, the library is a good place to start. Put up fliers with an email address that is anonymous but you have good access too. Post around the internet where people from your area frequent. Choose members wisely. It is a waste of everyone's time to include members who only read one book a year.
5. Select titles, which have been read and are recommended by at least one member. This gives members a vested interest in the group. Mix up your selections. Few want to read the same things over and over. The great thing about joining a book club is that it gives you the opportunity to read something that you may have missed on your own.
6. Meet on a regular time schedule We all lead busy lives. Having a predetermined time makes it easier for people to insert the meeting into their schedule.
7. Choose a format. Predetermined discussion questions cuts down on confusion and goes along way towards making meeting flow smoothly.
8. Schedule activities outside of discussing books. Have a book swap, go out for a group dinner, etc.
Do you belong to a book discussion group? Let us know about your experience in the forum!