Community & Current Events

Book club guide: Everything you need to start a book club

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Community & Current Events

Book club guide: Everything you need to start a book club

If you love to read, and know a few like-minded friends and family members, then starting a book club could be right up your alley. A book club is a great way to see your friends and make new ones, exercise your brain and share your thoughts with othersbut that's just the beginning. Here are a few simple ways you can start your very own book club.

Get the word out. Is anyone else in your network interested?
The first step to starting your book club is to ensure you have enough people interested in joining your group. You can put a call out on social media or ask your coworkers to join. Better yet, reach out to your community via posters (perhaps in the local library) and flyers to get a sense of interest.

You don't need too many people to start your book club—three to four people should do it—just enough to engage in a fun discussion about the book du jour.

Sort out basic logistics. Make it fun and for everyone.
Once you get a better sense of who's interested and numbers, you can start planning. Ask yourself questiosn like, 'How often do we meet?' or 'Will we meet at my house, a neutral place, or do we rotate through the homes of various members?' Location plays an important factor in your overall success because you want a space that allows for free discussion and, not to mention, convenience. The last thing you want is for someone to bow out because it's too far for them.

Start an email chain, or if you're on a particular social media platform, invite everyone to join a group
—and while you're at it, give your book club a fun name! This will help you all stay updated, coordinated and informed. You can post details about the book you're discussing, add reminders about upcoming meetings, locations and any other information that might be of importance. Social media is a simple, yet effective way of keeping everyone in the loop.

What will you read? Pick books that appeal to the majority, or go for something new and exciting.
To get started, ask members to post titles by some of their favourite authors on the group's page or email chain. This will help determine common ground, or draw your attention to titles you might not have heard of before. Once you pick a book, give the group notice and set a date for your first meeting. Make sure you offer enough time for members to finish reading the book.

You can even plan a few books in advance. If you have a theme, you can choose books from a certain category or by a certain author. Providing a list ahead of time will help members be more prepared and anticipate what's to come.

Who leads the book club meeting?
As the person who started the book club, you can be the default leader, or you can, once again, rotate through members. It's easiest to have the person who hosts also lead, but ultimately it's something you as a group can decide. The discussion leader should come up with question related to characters, themes, plot twists and anything that stood out in the book. Plan for about an hour or two of questions
if you're a chatty group, you won't need more than 10 (including extras).

Don't forget the frills and trimmings.
No meeting is complete without treats and snacks. Here's a chance for themed potlucks (where everyone contributes one dish from a pre-planned list), or maybe set up a rule where the host provides simple snacks and treats if the meeting is taking place in their home. This can change as you rotate through the group.

Finally... some ground rules.
Remember: This is supposed to be fun! Be respectful of all members and their opinions. It's important to have open discussions—and sometimes that can also include heated arguementsabout everything from the theme and plot to the characters and author. Make sure everyone has a chance to speak, share their thoughts and explore their ideas. Leaders should pay attention to the time to ensure everyone stays on schedule.

Good luck! Now that you're on your way to starting your book club, keep in mind these 10 benefits of pursuing this fun hobby.

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Book club guide: Everything you need to start a book club

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