For Reading Addicts’ Guide to Starting A Book Club

You want to join a Book-club but you’ve searched locally in libraries and book stores, the internet and local papers all to no avail. There’s nothing out there, not a single thing. What to do? Carry on reading in solitary splendour? Well you could but why not start your very own Book-club, it could be the start of something beautiful, the beginning of new friendships and the opening to new genres, authors and entire literary worlds you never knew existed.

I’ve searched the web, asked friends and family what they would want and thought about what I would want in a Book-club, put them all together and here is my list of things I’d do if I were to set up a Book-club near me.

Decide whether you want to stick to a theme, perhaps a Romance Book-Club, Thriller or Horror? Maybe a different genre each month.
Or maybe just throw it open and leave it to chance as to what book you will read next month. You might discover a whole new section of literature that you enjoy and that you’d have never tried if your club didn’t exist. Push your boundaries, you might just enjoy it.

A Book-Club without people is just you and a book. So you need to gather yourself some members together.
Ask family and friends, if you drop your children at school speak to other mothers and fathers or grandparents. Put a flyer in your local library, or local shop windows. Ask interested people to contact you via email (need to stay safe now don’t we) including their preferred genres, availability and preferred choice of venue. It will give you a good idea of the likelihood of a successful outcome to your plans.

Decide where you want to hold this Book-club, are you comfortable opening your home to people? Many clubs work on a system of each member hosting a meeting at their own homes, but if you’re uncomfortable with this idea, perhaps approach a local coffee shop or maybe even your local library and see if they’d be happy for you to hold your meetings there. You’ll just have to be slightly less raucous if you’re planning on holding your meetings in a public place.

Scheduling your meets is the next and probably the toughest aspect of running a Book-club. With everyone leading such busy lives and nothing being 9 til 5 any more, trying to arrange a time and a date where everyone is going to be available is a challenge indeed.
However nothing is insurmountable and I’m sure with a monthly meeting schedule you’ll be able to find a time suitable for the majority of your fledgling members.

Rules. No matter what we do or where we go, everything is subject to rules and guidelines and your Book-club is no exception. A Book-club without rules is, well it’s anarchy waiting to happen.
Seriously though, basic guidelines such as length of time between books, how long each get together will last, whether you’re planning on limiting the book choices you will accept as suggestions. (We’re not saying books should be banned but we understand there are going to be subjects that are uncomfortable for you and if it’s your club then you have the right to stipulate certain no go areas). If everyone knows where they stand, there are less likely to be disagreements once you are up and running.

What about setting up a blog? Or an online forum? There are plenty of free to use sites out there that you can utilise to keep track of the books you’ve read, books you plan to read and what you thought of them. You never know you might just get noticed by an author, or a publisher you’ve written about and find yourselves immortalised in print on the back of a novel somewhere.

Last but certainly not least.

The Book

It is probably going to be you who chooses the first book that your group reads, so perhaps look for a best seller, someone fairly main stream and someone you know is going to be a pleasure to read.
You’ll want something that is not going to be too contentious, something that is going to garner conversation and debate without causing argument, after all you don’t want your first meeting to end up being concluded behind bars.

And you’re ready to go. All the best groups and clubs started out somewhere and you never know, you could be the author of the next big thing.
The most important aspect of your club is that it’s fun and that you and everyone involved enjoys it. So what are you waiting for? Go start your very own Book-club.