Book Club Do’s (no Don’ts)

I’m notorious for starting book clubs. This one stuck though. We watch books that are made into movies. We read the book, watch the movie, and judge both over drinks and food. In that order.

Three books deep now and I decided to share a list I compiled about book clubs. There are no don’ts because books shouldn’t come with no-no’s. It’s reading for crying out loud and we should do more of it together. Now, the list:

-You need regulars who will commit to reading (and watching in this case) and who aren’t afraid to discuss. Pick friends. Strangers are a risk to the larger group sometimes.

-Keep it small. The bigger the group, the harder things are to coordinate. Exclusivity works in this case.

-Sending questions ahead of time (shoot for one week before the deadline) helps provoke better discussions. It’s also a good reminder for those who may be falling a bit behind on their reading.

-Keep the timeline within two or three weeks. People get uninterested after too long. By the time you announce the book, get a copy, start reading and pick a place to discuss should be no longer than one month out.

-Don’t be afraid for the conversation to scatter on the day of the event. You can reign it back in when it gets silent. You’d rather have people talking nonstop than saying nothing.

-Food. Always have food. People talk more around food and libations. 

-Pick a book that’s easy for people to get at the library. That usually means it’s going to be an older title and that’s okay. Better than forcing people to buy books they may be hesitant to purchase.

-Themes are fun. One of my favorite book clubs was one where we volunteered before discussion and the cause was tied to the topic of the book. 

-Take notes during your own reading and encourage others to do the same. I usually keep a piece of paper and pen as my bookmark in my book club books. 

We’ve watched and read Great Gatsby, Mister Pip, and just finished reading Jobs before the movie arrives in NZ. With this club in particular, it’s helpful to not watch the previews or read the reviews  of the movie. Which can be difficult but it’s better than spoiling the book. I would get distracted thinking about Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby or had a Baz Luhrmann lens to my reading. This time around should be a good discussion because the book is HUGE and Ashton Kutcher as Jobs sounds interesting. Either way, enjoy your reading and the company. 

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