Are you considering starting a book club?
Have you evaluated your life recently? I do this all of the time: where am I doing really well? Where do I want to boost my efforts to create a life that is more rewarding? I have discovered my biggest shortfall is in the area of connection with others. I get so busy doing my life, which I enjoy, that I forget how important it is and how much I like the company of others. I have made it a goal to find ways to connect.
If you have also determined one area you want to “beef up” in your life is your interaction with others, why not start a book club? Book clubs can be done online or in person, can be a fabulous way to connect with others, give you a topic of conversation, and spark a lot of fun!
Online or in person
I love and need real connection in my life. For me, it just isn’t the same in Zoom. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled we have Facebook Chat and Zoom, but sometimes I just want to say “hi” with a hug and “feel” the energy of those around me.
I will be showing you how to set up an in person book club. However, if you want to do one online, you will still need to do the following steps outlined in this article, just gauged towards an online meeting. Facebook events can help you set up your book club super fast and easy. You can set the privacy so it only allows people you invite, people you invite plus their invites, or anyone.
2. Choose your type
There are book clubs for almost everything. You are starting and organizing this one, so you should love it! Many churches have weekly “study” groups where members of the group read a book together and discuss its effects in their lives. This is simply a book club that focuses on a specific genre of book and discussion. I have seen “masterminds” that have entrepreneurs read a business or personal growth book together and discuss its implementation. Again, this is simply a book club with a purpose.
There are many different genres of books out there: historical fiction (which usually has many great conversation points), Young Adult, Fiction, Oprah’s Picks, Non-Fiction, etc. I belonged to a book club of women who read all kinds of books. I loved this style, simply because it opened my mind and eyes to types of books I would never have picked to read on my own. Did I like them all? Nope. I did love the experience and conversations around them.
I am an avid reader. I have been "collecting" titles of FABULOUS and FUN Books for years.
In this list I share:
- 30+ Books
- I have read EACH and EVERY book
- What I think of each book
- Each one leads itself to great discussion
- Different genres and audiences
- They do all link to Amazon- if you buy...Amazon will send me a very small "thank you."
Great for discussion
Description for each
I have read EACH one!
- How often
Do you want to meet and discuss the book while people are actively reading it or when they are done? Asking for a weekly commitment can be daunting to many and may limit members who can join your book club. I recommend a once a month meeting when you discuss the book in its entirety. The weekly meetings are very suitable for people who are trying to change their lives based on the books or implement the lessons in them like the church groups or entrepreneurs.
Do you want to host the meeting at a home or a business?
A home feels, well homey. A home puts everyone at ease and conversation can flow; you do not have to worry about talking too loudly or offending a nearby table. However, a home also puts a lot of pressure on the host: cleaning, chairs, beverages, maybe light snacks, directions to the home, parking, getting children/partner out of discussion area and taken care of.
How long will it take for each meeting?
When you ask people if they want to join your book club, they will want to know what kind of commitment they are signing up for. I recommend 2 – 2.5 hours. You need to allow everyone to get home from work, eat dinner, and do whatever family/pet obligations are necessary.
Which day? For example, the third Thursday of each month. By keeping it a regular “time” it is easier for people to schedule, they always know when it will be. Chances are very good people will still forget, since the third Thursday is not a set date.
As the organizer, be prepared to send out an email a day or two after each meeting telling everyone which book is next, what the day and time the meeting is at, and if you are rotating where you are meeting, directions of that location. There may be members who did not make it to your meeting and some people just like to have it in their email.
Then, one week before you meet, send out another reminder.
4. Find members
You are ready to find people to connect with!
Which groups do you already belong to? Where do you already go where many people are? I started a woman’s group 15 years ago. I gave hand written invitations to moms at pick up at school, at sporting events, to favorite teachers, to women I interacted with and saw repeatedly in places like the grocery store or bank, etc. I did not “know” most of these women. I just knew that I had interacted with them before, mostly small talk, and enjoyed their company. This is definitely a “boots on the ground” method that requires an outgoing personality.
I started a “Coffee Connect” as a Facebook Event. This style may be easier for you due to time or interaction with others. I simply created the event, set it to private, but allowed my friends to invite their friends. Then I chose people on my Facebook feed (many of whom I did not know) that were in my local area, and invited them to the event. I chose people in my local area because we meet every second Saturday at a local coffee house. I simply copy and paste the event and the guest list each time. I also make a comment in the event “feed” a week before the event and say @everyone to remind them. Facebook events is a really easy way to manage the event.
A method very similar to the Facebook event is “Meetup”. I have done one of these as well. The advantage to Meetup is that they post your event to all of their members who may be interested. The disadvantage is that it costs money, much more now than in the past when I created a group using this method. I have not done a Meetup in awhile, however, it used to be that if you went through the entire process of setting up your group, entering your information, etc and then “backed out” when they showed you how much it would cost, Meetup would send you a “coupon” in your email. I think they sent me 50% off the first 6 months.
5. Plan your first meeting
Success! You have most of the hard work done. You are ready to start your book club.
You know how you will be meeting, the type of books the book club will be reading, the format of the meetings, and your fellow book club members. Now you get to schedule your first book club meeting.
I recommend you choose at least 3 books. One that everyone will read for the first meeting and two others for sequential months.
Know how you will choose books for future meetings. You may ask that everyone submit a list of 5 favorite books or books of interest prior to the first meeting. This way you can all choose your top one and you have as many months as members done.
This is also a great opportunity to “share the burden” of being hostess. The person whose book choice it is can be the person who hosts the club at their house, or chooses the restaurant.
I like having discussion points for book. You can find this online for almost any book. Just because you have the discussion points does not mean you have to follow or use them. However, what if, horror of all horrors, no one has anything to say? No impressions? No likes or dislikes? You can get the discussion started by talking about a couple of the points you have previously gotten. If you are “sharing the burden” the host is also responsible for getting the discussion points.
6. Most importantly-have fun
You are meeting with others.
You are talking about “stuff” that is not politically motivated (unless your book club chooses this).
You are most likely relaxed and having fun.
You may even be laughing!
A book club is a great way to meet other people and experience human connection. You can get together and enjoy each other’s company while discussing something of no real world relevance-keeping conversation light. These 6 easy steps to starting a book club are designed to help you create connection in your life.