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TMW Featured Article

How To Start a Book Club

Starting or joining a book club can be a great way to expand your social while meeting other literary enthusiasts. While book clubs are not new, research shows they have grown popular over the past few decades. Book clubs have become so popular that even celebrities have started their own, where they share their favorite reads, discussions, and goals.

Book clubs are great because there’s always something for everyone. Whether you prefer to go online (like Goodreads or TikTok) or start in your local community, you can expect someone will undoubtedly showcase their interest.

So, if you’re interested in starting a book club, here are some steps you need to do:

1. Choose a genre or theme you want to focus on.

Many book clubs cover a genre or theme where they share a common focus and goal. For instance, Reese Witherspoon’s book club chooses a book with a woman at the story’s center every month. They aim to introduce fellow book lovers to new female voices, authors, and perspectives.

Picking a theme or niche is essential because it helps attract readers who also like the same books as you. It also enables you to decide what your next book of the month shall be and can inspire activities that hopefully create a stronger bond with your members!

2. Figure out the size of your club.

You may start a reading club with your closest friends, or you could create one where it involves new members. Whatever the case, it helps to start small; eventually, your group may grow over time. Intimate and large book clubs offer unique advantages, so there’s no correct answer on which is “better.”

For instance, small and intimate book clubs ensure you get to know every member. Meanwhile, large book clubs online or offline can help you expand your social network and still create a wonderful community with more diversity. If you are still starting, consider beginning with a few members and figuring out how it will function before eventually expanding them to include more members.

3. Offline, online, or both?

Now that you’ve figured out your club’s niche and initial members, you may start wondering when and where you should meet. If you and your members live in the same area and want to meet somewhere, consider picking someone’s house or a cafe. However, online-savvy folks may consider starting a Discord channel to call each other and discuss the group’s current read while they stay at home.

Of course, there’s also the hybrid option. Considering that some companies have adopted the hybrid work schedule option where they might work some days in the office or at home—book clubs can quickly adopt the same schedule, making it convenient for some members.

4. When should you meet?

Most book clubs meet monthly to discuss the group “Book of the Month.” However, there are some instances where work schedules and personal lives get in the way. If so, you can choose the best plan that benefits everyone involved.

5. Decide on how you choose the books.

Many book clubs adopt a common theme for their next “book of the month.” Some groups may choose a historical event, a specific author, or something that has inspired a Netflix movie or series. When choosing your next read, consider making it a democratic process by letting members chime in their suggestions and vote on it, like creating an online poll.

6. Make sure the books are accessible.

Only a handful of people can afford to go to the nearest bookshop and buy a new read every month. Some people may even join a book club, hoping to borrow a book while meeting new people. If you have members with a limited budget, consider choosing reads that are accessible yet still enjoyable.

One modern solution is subscribing to Kindle Unlimited, where users pay a monthly fee to “borrow” specific eBooks available. Another solution is to visit your local library and ensure it has enough copies so members can read it too.

7. Plan how the book discussion will go.

No, you shouldn’t plan every book club meeting to the finest detail. However, it does help to have an “itinerary” of things you may want to discuss. For instance, you can plan a discussion where every person must start sharing with the group:

  • Their first impressions of the book;
  • What they like about it;
  • What they don’t like about it;
  • The characters they like; and
  • Their favorite parts of the book

Starting with general questions and working your way up can help keep the discussion natural. It also prevents it from being too stuffy and unstructured, which can make the atmosphere awkward.

If you’re at someone’s house, remember to prepare the snacks or ask people to bring a treat too!

8. Accept that some things may not work out.

Book clubs are diverse because there is one for everybody. While they share the same goal of discussing books, making new friends, and having fun, certain group members sometimes may not “mesh well” because of factors beyond their control.

Nevertheless, welcoming new people can be fun! Members come and go, and that’s normal. Starting a book club can help you meet new people with the same interests despite these challenges. After all, it’s a social club for a reason!

Summary:

Book clubs have become a mainstay in social circles for a long time. Book clubs or discussions are so classic that America has been doing it for over 400 years!

However, starting a book club requires some degree of planning. While it may take some effort, cultivating a fantastic book club can offer many benefits, like expanding your social circle, developing a reading culture in your community, and finding an excellent way to spend your free time.

Still, if you’re a little shy about starting a book club, you can join one instead. Consider checking online for the closest book clubs in your area and even ask a friend to join you. With social media creating online communities every day, there are multiple options for you.

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