Sunday, June 2, 2013

10 Keys to a Successful Book Club

Book discussion groups add enjoyment to reading.

If you’re an avid reader, there’s a chance you have thought about being a part of a book club or maybe you already have participated. Whether you’re a book club newbie or a seasoned pro, these tips can help you keep your book club alive and thriving.

  1. Pick the Process. Are you simply going to discuss the book or is the meeting going to include food, drink and discussion? This will help inform the location selection and length of meeting. Will you be reading fiction or nonfiction?
  2. Picking the Books. There are many options for selecting the books your club reads. You can pick books of the New York Times bestseller list. Come up with a theme or common thread that lends itself to easy book selection. Refer to Oprah’s Book Club. You could always try a book from a small publisher. Check out Just make sure that the book is one that most or all of your readers are interested in pursuing. Vote, if necessary.
  3. Picking Locations. Some people like to have their book clubs take place in the privacy of a member’s home. In fact, some groups even rotate the location with each new book. Others will pick a public location for their meetings. If in a public location, you need to ensure that distractions are kept to a minimum.
  4. Scheduling. The timing of your club will really depend on the reading rate of the members and the amount of juggling that is necessary to coordinate multiple people’s schedules. In general, monthly meetings are more frequent than weekly.
  5. Pick a Leader. Your book club can have one designated discussion leader or the position can rotation with each meeting or book read. If you rotate, maybe the person in charge has a connection to the book either through their job or a hobby.
  6. Finding Discussion Questions. Some books have discussion questions posted online as go bys for book club discussions. A quick Google search for your book’s title and “discussion questions” or “book club” should lead to several options.
  7. Stay Focused. Since the point of the meeting is to discuss the book, ensure that is the main topic of discussion. Having a discussion leader helps with this. Also, setting aside time at the beginning of the meeting for some socializing can help minimize it throughout the book discussion.
  8. Handling Disagreements. It’s not uncommon for two readers to have different impressions and opinions of the same book. The reader’s life and experiences will influence their reading. The discussion leader’s role is to prevent any disagreement from halting or waylaying the discussion, while allowing for contrary positions to be discussed.
  9. Contact the author. Before the discussion occurs, have someone reach out to the author with questions. If they’re local, maybe they can participate in person or by Skype if they live far away.
  10. Have Fun. This, of course, is truly the most important key, because if it’s not fun, people will stop attending.
What Just Write Book title will you be including in your book club’s “must read” list?

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