Interested in learning more about book clubs? Want to form your own but don't know how? Find your answers and more right here.
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1. What is a book club?
It's a chance for book lovers to share their passion about books either in person or online. Book clubs that meet face to face are a great place to socialize and meet new friends. An online book club is perfect for those looking for a convenient way to take part in an on going discussion on a favorite book. Be sure to check out our own online book club if you haven't already!
2. How do I join a book club?
First, ask you friends and co-workers if they know of any you can join. Your local library and independent bookstores can also be great places to look. Keep your eye open for any ads on their bulletin boards or in their newsletters.
3. How do I start a book club?
Here are some things to consider when starting a book club:
Who do I want to join - friends and colleagues or the general public? How big or small of a group do I want it to be? What are you going to read? Where are you going to meet? Who is going to lead it? And the list goes on. Hopefully, we've provided some answers to most of them below.
4. How do I get people to join?
Start with friends and co-workers. Spread the word through any form you can think of - emails, word of mouth, phone calls, or even creative invitations. Posters are always a cheap and effective way to get people's attention if you're interested in getting the general public into your club. Keep in mind that an ideal book club size is no more than a dozen people. It just gives everyone a chance to speak and feel comfortable with the whole group.
5. Where should I hold it?
It all depends on the number of people in your group. You may want to rotate each meeting in a different member's home or use a room from your local library or community centre. Restaurants or coffee shops can also be an option. Just make sure that the owner or manager is okay with it. And a park can also be a great place to meet - it's such a relaxing atmosphere and it's free.
6. How do I choose my books?
Off our book list of course! When you've finished with those, take your inspiration from book reviews, publisher's web sites, bookstores, libraries and recommendations. Remember that it's important that your local bookstore has enough copies for everyone in the group. It's always handy to know which books you'll be reading in advance that way you can pre-order the books for your members. And if this becomes a regular affair, you could approach the bookstore for a group discount.
7. What questions should I ask?
Check out our suggested general questions. Publishers and authors also have their own reading guides, which are available on their web sites. You could get members involved by coming prepared with one or two questions to each meeting. Remember also to set aside time for open discussion because there'll always be more topics that the group will want to discuss. And last but not least, remember that it's leader's job to make sure everyone stays on topic.
8. How do I run it?
Having some sort of structure right from the start is important if you want your group to run smoothly. Here are some guidelines and tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure to set a routine and keep the meeting day and time consistent.
- Having food and drinks at your meetings is a good idea, just figure out how it will be provided. By the host or by all members?
- Members should have read the entire book before coming, it's just fair for everyone and it makes the conversation flow much easier.
- Debates can lead to great conversation, but make sure that it doesn't become confrontational and personal. You can chose to have your leader act as moderator for such instances.
- Make sure everyone has a member contact list. Good communication is always important.
- Leave time for socializing either half an hour before or after the discussion.
- Most importantly - have fun and enjoy yourself! Because those are the reasons you formed the book club in the first place.
9. Do I have to lead the group if I created it?
No, you don't. If you're not comfortable with leading the group, each member can take turns leading it. It's a great way for members to become more involved and feel like they are really contributing.
10. How can I make my book club different?
Doing research on the author and the book will add more depth and variety to your discussion. As well, getting guests or experts to talk to your group will allow you to explore the authenticity of the book. Try inviting the author to your meeting, especially if you're reading a book from a local author, it'll give you the inside scoop as what really went into the writing of it.
11. Can you recommend any additional resources?
Check out these books:
Book Club Cookbook by Judy Gelman. Putnam. 2004. ISBN: 158542322X
Build a Better Book Club by Peter O'Brien. MacMillan Canada. 1999. ISBN: 0771576218
Mother Daughters Book Club by Shireen Dodson. Harper Collins Canada. 1997. ISBN: 0060952423
Read it and Eat: A month-by-month Guide to Scintillating Book Club Selections and Mouthwatering Menus by Sarah Gardner. Penguin. 2005. ISBN: 1594630046
Readers Choice: 200 Book Club Favorites by Victoria Mcmains. Harper Collins Canada. 2000. ISBN: 0688174353
Recipe For A Book Club: A Monthly Guide for Hosting Your Own Reading Group by Mary O'Hare. Capital Books Inc. 2004. ISBN: 1931868832
The Book Group Book: A Thoughtful Guide to Forming and Enjoying a Stimulating Book Discussion Group by Ellen Slezak. 3rd Rev Ed. Chicago Review Press. 2003. ISBN: 1556524129
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