Setting Up a Book Club

This time last week the inaugural meeting of the ‘Evesham Festival of Words’ Book Club (ahem, set up by yours truly), was in full flow! Whee!

I was a bit nervous beforehand, I must admit (mainly, in case no-one turned up!) but I needn’t have worried. The 7 people who’d confirmed had, indeed, braved the awful weather, another ‘surprise’ person arrived, plus me and a colleague, so there were 10 of us, which is a respectable number for a book club meeting, I feel and allowed everyone to have their say.

There are more expected for the February meeting which is good but also worrying because anything more than about 12 seems like TOO MANY, so I’m going to have to think about how to manage that. If you’ve got any ideas, let me know!

And just in case you’re thinking of setting up a little Book Club/Reading Group of your own, here are a few tips that I’ve picked up along the way (some of which have not yet been put into practice, of course: we’ve only had one meeting so far!).

Where/When?

First things first, decide on a day and time to meet and find a suitable venue (a village hall, a room in a pub or a library, perhaps?)

Most book clubs I’ve investigated seem to meet once a month. That gives everyone enough time to read the book (although it still won’t be long enough for some! I belonged to a book club once where several members would turn up with the book half read and would insist that we didn’t discuss the ending!).

Which Books?

Other things to consider: How are you going to choose the books each month?

We decided on the first two choices for our Book Club (books written by authors linked to the Festival), just to get things moving (The Hidden Wife in January and The Conjuror’s Bird for February) but from March onwards, the books will be decided by the group. I’ve asked everyone to ‘pitch’ a book next time and then we’ll have a vote (I’m thinking ‘secret ballot’).

The only danger with that, of course, is that the same kinds of books might be chosen over and over (if, for example, you’ve got lots of people in the group who like crime fiction. They’ll suggest it and vote for it). So, we might move away from that once the group’s a little more established and take it in turns to choose the book each month.

We’re going to give the books a score each time, so that at the end of the year we can see which was our favourite. And we might also set up a Facebook group, so people can join in remotely.

The Love Reading website features a different book club each month and it makes for interesting reading! I particularly liked the sound of the Tetbury Book Club.

But the main point of it all is – to read more, discuss books, make friends (hopefully!) and have some fun.

If you’re interested in setting up a Book Club – or you just like books – then Reading Groups for everyone is worth a look.

Happy Reading!

PS: This is what I’m reading at the moment:

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4 Responses to Setting Up a Book Club

  1. Anne says:

    Our book club of thirty years has metamorphosed from the kind you describe to one where the host provides two or three new books (we no longer insist on them all being new either) which she tells us about. We meet once a month taking turns in each other’s homes. When it is your turn to host you remove all your books from the collection – to reduce the bags of books we carry around. It has proved to be a wonderful way of meeting new authors, new genres and we generally end of deciding our best read of the year by consensus because some books simply stand out from the rest.

  2. juliathorley says:

    I’ve never joined a book club (horror!). One of the things that has put me off is hearing tales of ‘that woman’ monopolising the time with her opinions. There’s always one, isn’t there? Based on other discussion groups, however, you can’t beat a timer going off for encouraging speakers to round things up.

    • Yes, Julia, I know exactly what you mean. There are always those who try to dominate the discussion, aren’t there? I see my role as ‘moderator’ to a) make sure everyone gets a chance to speak, without being interrupted (!) and b) to try to prevent anyone from taking over …! Easier said than done!

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