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How to Start a Book Club

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to read more?  Participating in a book club is a great way to accomplish that, plus it’s a fun way to share the books you are reading with friends.  Here are some tips on how to get a book club started.

  1. Look for a book club in your area.  If you already have access to one, why start your own?  Ask a friend in a book club if you can join, check to see if one of your coworkers has organized one at work, or go to your local library or book store.  There are probably some great options in your area.  But if you would rather have a book club with your friends or you want more of a say in choosing what to read, go ahead and start one of your own!
  2. Think about how you want to organize your book club.  How often will you meet?  How will you choose the books?  You can vote on each one or take turns selecting them.  What sort of books will you read?  You can limit it to novels, pick a certain genre, pick a theme, or just read anything that sounds good to you.
  3. Invite some friends. Don’t think you have enough friends interested in reading?  You can just invite a few, and encourage them to spread the word.
  4. Choose a location. You can take turns hosting or find somewhere to meet.  Coffee shops are a nice option (check out our “literary eats” posts for cafes in DC and California!) but you could also choose a restaurant, bar, ice cream shop, etc-anything your club would enjoy!
  5. Select your first book.  Even if you are planning to choose books together in the future, it’s a good idea to choose one book for the first meeting, just to get the ball rolling.  My favorites are The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a book about a book club, and The Lace Reader, a book that got picked up by a mainstream publisher partly because the author’s self-published version was so successful in local book clubs.
  6. Read and discuss!  As you read your book club book, keep an eye out for things you want to bring up at your book club’s meeting.  It can be a question that occurred to you as you were reading or just something you noticed while reading that you’d like to explore further.  Many recently published books and author websites provide discussion questions for book clubs to use, if you’d like to be sure that your group will have something to talk about.

All you really need is a few fellow readers and a great book!  Best of luck and happy reading!

-Elizabeth

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