Once you’ve gathered a good core group, decide on the whens and how
oftens. You can organize a preliminary gathering in order to talk
logistics in person, or go the email route to determine what’ll work
best for all involved. It’s good to set aside a specific day of the
week for your meetings – mine generally meets on a Wednesday, for
instance – to make it easier for everyone to plan for that in their
busy schedules. And bi-monthly, we’ve found, seems to work best,
allowing everyone plenty of time to actually read the selected book.
how to choose your books
There are many ways to go about selecting what books to read, but
here’s one that works for my book club. Since the meetings rotate
around at different members’ homes, at the end of any given book club
meeting, whoever’s hosting the next one offers up a handful of books
that they’re interested in reading. The remaining members of the book
club then vote on which book they’d most like to read for the next
book club meeting. If you’re worried about picking a dud for your
club, you can make it a rule to suggest only books that one person in
the club has read (and liked, or feels may generate interesting
discussion), but personally I think that takes away some of the fun –
I look to book club to introduce me to new works that I might not
have stumbled upon otherwise, and if sometimes those works are less than
impressive, so be it.
how to get the discussion going
Nobody joins a book club wanting to get lectured,
high-school-English-class style. A book club is a discussion forum, a
way to get everyone talking and sharing ideas. The setting of your book
club will, of course, help to set up the proper tone for the gathering.
Meet at a public place like a library or a café, and you’ll almost
certainly have a different sort of discussion than if you’re gathered
around on comfy plush sofas, or sprawled out on big floor pillows, in
the privacy of someone’s home. Personally, I far prefer the relaxed
ambience of the latter.
Of course, plenty of food and drink helps get the conversation
flowing as well. In our book club, whoever’s hosting a given book club
night generally takes care of providing some libations and munchies,
though it’s always appreciated if you come bearing a bottle of wine
yourself. But a potluck style gathering would work equally as well.
Either way, just make certain to establish how it’ll all work early