Thursday, April 5, 2012

How To Start A Book Club

After a handful of fun book club meetings, I thought I would share how the one I attend was loosely started and tips for sustaining the club.

1. Brainstorm a list of people who might be interested. Consider personalities and interests in how that will make up a discussion group.

2. Get an initial meeting date and time set up, then send out invites via email or snail mail. This invite could include a book to discuss the first month, or could just be a come-if-you're-interested-and-give-your-input-for-our-first-book. 

Designed by Michelle from The One With The Cupcakes

At the first meeting:

3. Have everyone introduce themselves and the types of books they typically enjoy reading. This is fun as you will see commonalities over what types of books best fit your group. (Our group seems to love historical novels, particularly related to WWI & II.)

4. Assign the next couple months/weeks worth of books based off of people's suggestions and settle on your dates. One member made bookmarks for us with the dates on the back and a quote on the front.

5. Discuss where book club will be held. Always at same person's house or a rotating host? Ours is always at the same house just because...well she is the most pulled together, stable one of the bunch. She will laugh when she reads that, but in reality, I'd say mostly it is because out of everyone, she probably has the best space for hosting a group.

6. If desired, have people sign up to bring refreshments. (Maybe one person for drinks, one for finger food.) Our first meeting just happened to have refreshments appropriate to our book, which was fun.

7. Decide if you want to have someone think of questions to answer, or use the ones that are often in the back of the books or easy to find online. This person will "lead" the meeting more or less. It can be a rotating basis, or whoever  We start with a few questions but are really good at getting off topic.

Tips for sustaining the club:

8. Do your best to stick to the schedule (dates/times/book selection) as it will be easier for everyone to follow, but be okay with being flexible to accommodate schedules. Obviously, everyone may not be able to come every month. For example, December was crazy since we meet on the weekends, so we didn't read a book that month.

9. Encourage everyone to come even if they don't get through the book. A lot of the time, they will still be able to participate with the limited knowledge they have. Of course this depends upon the style your meetings run - whether the discussion is heavily based around the issues in the book, the academic literary elements of the book or a combination of the two. Ours tend to lean toward the issues in the book, which everyone can usually voice their opinion on.

For other tips on running a book club, check out these tips, or Oprah's assistant's pointers.

A few of the books we have read  so far:

This post is linked up to some of the parties listed under my Show & Tell tab at the top of the page.


  1. What wonderful ideas! I love the tips on how to sustain...something we've struggled with. And the bookmark is lovely (and smart). Would be delighted for you to link up with us over at Mop It Up Mondays (going on all week):

  2. This blog post is wonderful and very helpful. Definitely made me want to start up a book club.

  3. Fun tips. I've always wished I had an in-person book club because I love to read. I was in an online one for years though, and still have a friend from it.


  4. Love this! I am the head of an online book club and even though we've been doing it for nearly a year, it's always good to get some more pointers! Stopping by from Mix It Up Monday


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