Tips for Starting Your Own Book Club

When you are busy with work, home, school, and whatever else you are involved in, it can be difficult to find a way to relax and spend time with people who are interested in the same sorts of things you are. A great way to get to know people better is to start a book club. You get the benefits of social interaction, as well as the motivation to dig into a great book.

Book clubs are especially great for busy moms who want something to take them away during breaks between household chores, or students taking online courses who want social interaction that they don’t get at school. Even teens can enjoy book clubs to remind them that reading can be fun. Mother-daughter book clubs are a fun way to bring generations together, and book clubs focused around a particular hobby or interest can help you meet people who enjoy the same things as you.

Beginning a book club can fill several needs: a student whose online learning program requires reading several novels might join a book club to help her understand the concepts of a story. Or, a company might consider starting a book club for employees who want to learn new and innovative business methods. The main focus of a book club shouldn’t necessarily be the book; instead, the social element and the chance to learn from friends and peers should be an important part of a book club experience.

Getting started

To start a book club, contact people you think might be interested. Ideally, they should live near you so you can meet together regularly without too much hassle. Decide how frequently they would want to meet: you can either meet weekly and read just part of the book each week, or meet less regularly and read a whole book between meetings.

Let the people who are interested offer suggestions for things they actually want to read and pick something that seems like it would be enjoyable for all of them. One of the biggest questions is whether to read fiction or nonfiction. Fiction can capture the imagination in a way that real life doesn’t always achieve. Nonfiction books often explore ideas that don’t make their way into popular media, but that can be critical for understanding the world. You can choose one or the other for your book club or switch between them so you get to read both types of books.

Book club rules

When leading the discussion, talk about parts of the book that resonated to each of you. This is a great way to get to know the other participants, and to find out what they care about. You can talk about the characters in a fictional book and what you learned about yourselves from reading their stories. With nonfiction, you can talk about how to apply the ideas you learned about to your real life. As a discussion leader, it is your job to encourage everyone to participate and give their input to the discussion.

Book clubs will look different depending on the people you bring together and your interests, but they all help keep the participants from losing their love for books. Perhaps the most important reason to be a part of a book club is that it keeps you from getting turned off to reading. People who read together in a book club will often remember how much they enjoy reading and continue reading for pleasure, even when the book club parts ways.

Lindsey is a freelance writer and editor living in the Midwest. She’s currently considering enrolling in a online learning program to improve her writing skills.

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