I love it when I am reading the same book as a friend and we can talk about it. I have a lot of friends who enjoy reading and many times we are reading the same book. Often we get excited when a particular book is released and we talk about the authors like we know them personally. It was just a matter of time before we created a book club. When you are in high school or college, it is mandatory to read and have discussions about the material. When you are out in the real world, you may find that you actually enjoy reading and would love the chance to sit with someone and talk about a book. How did it make you feel? Did you agree or disagree with the characters? Does the story relate to your life or is it completely different? Do you enjoy that particular period in time or history? What made you laugh? What made you cry? We wanted to share our love of books and have deeper conversations. So, we created a book club. Here is how we did it:
Find members! We each came up with a friend or two we knew who liked to read. Ask around! One of our members found me on Facebook after I posted about our first meeting and sent me a message. You never know who else secretly wants to be in a book club. And don’t assume you know someone’s taste in reading. Even if it is different from your own, or you think it is, keep an open mind. You may enjoy getting out of your comfort zone and reading a different type book. Especially if you get to talk about it with other readers. Keep your group small. Our book club is six ladies strong and that’s about perfect. We can all fit around the dining room table and each have a chance to talk. Also, it’s big enough that we don’t feel like we are each constantly hosting. It’s nice to have an intimate setting rather than a formal meeting.
Set a (fairly) firm meeting schedule. How often will you meet? Where will you meet? Usually, once a month is a perfect amount of time to get your book and finish it. Set a firm time, like the third Wednesday of each month, and try to stick to it. This helps reduce scheduling conflicts if you already know the meeting time each month. We decided to hold our meetings in a different member’s house each month and the hostess provides appetizers and drinks. It’s quieter. We feel more relaxed. And, it’s cheaper than a restaurant. But, you may decide to meet in a restaurant, coffee shop, church or any other place on which everyone agrees.
Come up with a plan on how to pick a book. Each member hosts a month and the month before it’s their turn, they get to pick the book and everyone puts in their two cents. Have they already read it? Are they absolutely against it? We agree on the book, and who is hosting the next meeting, at the end of the meeting prior. Everyone has different tastes and we respect that. We started reading funny memoirs and now we are reading a historical fiction book. Some book clubs have everyone make a list of all the books they’d like to read for the year and then they vote. The top 12 books are what they read for that year. Or maybe you can do a 6 month vote. It’s okay if everyone doesn’t finish the book, but give it a try! You won’t have much to talk about if you don’t read it. Everyone is welcome to all meetings, even if they haven’t read the book.
Get your book. We have had four meetings and I have only purchased one book. I bought it used on Amazon for $9. One of my friends bought this month’s book on Amazon for $1. All of the other books have come from the library. Keep in mind if you live in the Northern Kentucky area, you can get a library card for more than one county. I have both a Kenton County and Boone County card. And, my jet setting husband also has a card for Cincinnati libraries. Most likely, you’ll find your book at a library. If not, post on Facebook to see if you can borrow it from a friend. You can use an e-reader if you’d like, but I enjoy having the book in my hands to flip through. I also like to make notes or mark pages (see the next section!). The Kenton County Public Library has book kits you can check out for your personal book club. A book kit has 12-15 of the same book, as well as information and questions to use for discussion points. You check it out like you would any other item. For a list of the book kits click here.
Make discussion notes as you read. You may also want to use a book club reader guide. In the backs of some books, there are recommended questions for discussion during book club meetings. If you have access to those, great. If not, google the book title with “book club questions” or “book club guidelines”. We have not yet used a guide. I like to use Post It Note tabs and mark parts of the book I found interesting or would like to discuss. If it is my book, I’ll make notes in it. When we meet, we just take turns talking about our favorite parts or interesting points. We don’t have a strict agenda. Depending on the personalities in your group, you may have a more structured agenda. We make sure we stay on task and discuss the book. Of course, the last part of our meetings is more socializing, but we’ve read a great book and discussed it as much as we want.
Communicate! How do you communicate changes to meeting times, book selections or any other information? Our group uses email. Of course, we only have 6 members, so that’s a manageable method. Some groups create a Facebook page. This is a great way to stay in touch, post updates or links about books and even create a voting system on what to read.
I am so glad to be a member of a book club. I enjoy reading our selection during the month knowing that my friends are reading the same book, thinking about the same material but maybe having different opinions about it. Sometimes I’ll call one of them to see if they are reading the same chapter and have a quick discussion. But, we save the ‘meat’ of it for our monthly meetings.
That’s really it! It’s not that hard. Now, go out there and find some readers and a couple of good books!
Check out our summer reading list to give you great ideas on books you might like as well as some fantastic resources on where to find books for your book club.
When not blogging for Family Friendly Cincinnati, you can find Michelle writing at her personal blog, I’m Living the Good Life.