"What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it."
A Book Club is a great opportunity to share ideas with like-minded people, and increase your social circle. Short of being able to call up an author as wished by Salinger, a Book Club can provide a window to new and exciting worlds, intellectual stimulation, and a sense of community
However, a well-managed Book Club requires more than copies of the latest bestseller, cleverly prepared snacks, fragrant cups of tea and coffee or a bottle of wine. Below are a few tips.
Determine the kind of Book Club you want to start.
Is the purpose of your Book Club to read or to socialize? Back in ancient Greece, literature was divided into two main categories: tragedy and comedy. Today, you can browse various reading resources by genre:
Choose a (catchy) name for your club.
A Book Club's name can anchor its character and identity. Many Book Clubs' name point to a theme. A few names include:
• The Book Sisters
• Emancipate Book Club
• Cover to Cover
• Lunch Bunch Book Club
• Speak Your Mind Book Club
• Reflections Book Club
Find your tribe.
Look for like-minded people and start reaching out to friends, family, and colleagues who love to read. Tap your alumni association, faith-based groups or civic associations. Cast the net wider by going online and look at local meetups, Facebook, and other social media. Speak to the librarian at your local library. Get the buzz going. You can start a virtual Book Club as an open or closed Facebook group. Check out Skype, Zoom or Google Hangouts.
The Meeting Place
The location of where your Book Club holds meetings, whether it's in your own home, a coffee shop, or a private room in your local library can influence the number of members in the club. Keep the number manageable. Critical is that the club members can talk openly, freely, and be heard without having to compete with music or ambient noise.
Gage what is important to your Book Club. Is the continuity of meeting in the same place important or is a sense of adventure and mystery the key to mixing it up? Most of all, wherever the Book Club is held should be convenient for your members...virtual or in person.
Many Book Clubs take turns having meetings in each other's homes, a pleasant outdoor space or have a meeting place that matches up to the book selection. Imagine discussing The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami in a Japanese restaurant?
Create a reading list
Check out the American Library Association's resources available at ALA.org (Book Club Central)
New York Times bestsellers
Wordeee's book list
Ready, Set, Go!
Select the title of your first book. Send an invitation to the members requesting an RSVP. At your first meeting, set goals for your Book Club, discuss the general length of books you plan to read, and set a meeting schedule for the year. Having structure is important, so establish meeting protocols and leadership. Will all members share the responsibility or will one or more organizers keep consistency in the group? Regardless, make your Book Club an egalitarian experience giving each member the opportunity to creatively explore the work, allow them to participate fully, and have their voice be heard.
We'd love to hear from you. Share your Book Club experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org