How to Start a Book Club: 10 Easy Steps to Get You Going

By: Audie Lauf

Summer is the season of outdoor activities. Summer is also the time to schedule leisure activities to better yourself. Take the time off from school to keep your mind sharp. Organizing a book club will allow you to stay close to friends and engage in intellectual stimulation.

Here are ten easy steps to help you start your own book club.

1) Invite Your Book-Loving Friends

Invite friends that you have common interests in whether that is hobbies, classes, sporting events etc. Inviting friends that have a common interest can also spark new relationships. Make sure to have your friends spread the word to anyone else they feel would enjoy themselves. Having common interests could influence the book choices the club suggests.

2) Set a Meeting Time

Once you have established an interested group, figure out a time to meet. A good suggestion would be twice a month. This will give the group enough time to read half of the book, and then discuss the first half in depth. This can also give the group time to discuss if there were any intense situations throughout the book.

3) Create an Atmosphere

Remember to create a welcoming atmosphere. A good idea is to host the first meeting at your place. Provide snacks and beverages. People are always happy when there is food present (make sure to acknowledge any food allergies). Set up the area with seating in a circle. This will create an open discussion on its own. Make sure everyone feels welcome. Start the meeting by having everyone introduce themselves.

4) Choose Your Books As a Group

Deciding on a book to pick is the hardest yet best part when planning a book club. Make sure the first book is interesting to all in the organization. On the first night, have everyone bring their first suggestion. This will also give everyone else in the group a chance to get to know others better.

5) Use Your Local Library

After deciding on the first book, instead of purchasing it, have everyone check the local library. Ordering the book online is still possible, but could get costly.

6) Branch Out

Make sure to choose books that give a variety of experiences. One month you can dive into historical-fiction, but next month choose a mystery novel. Expanding your horizons is what a book club is all about.

7) Come With Questions

Make sure to have everyone provide stimulating questions that make you think about the author’s intent. Critical thinking will drive elaborate discussion and develop your own opinions naturally. Suggest that everyone bring in a set list of questions — that way, everyone is prepared and can fall back on a question if the discussion comes to a halt.

8) Show Respect

Remember that there is no right or wrong answer. Be respectful of other’s opinion and try to see from their point of view. If you do not fully understand their ideas, make sure to ask them to go into further detail in a polite manner.

9) Give Spoiler Alerts

Set a rule to have discussion only focus on the dedicated section of the book. There is nothing worse than spoilers when you are so engulfed in the story.

10) Have Fun!

Make sure everyone is having a good time, and keep everyone’s feelings in mind when making decisions. The most important part of having a book club is enjoying yourself — so have fun!

Creating a summer book club will allow not just you but everyone in the group to develop their critical thinking and expand their horizons. Keeping your mind sharp when school is out is always important for setting up for an efficient academic year.

Happy reading!

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