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How to Start Your Own Book Club

Are you an avid reader? Do you enjoy discussing a good book over a cup of coffee? Well, then maybe starting a book club should be your next endeavor!

Why Start Your Own Book Club?

A few months ago, whilst reading the final chapters of Brent Weeks's Night Angel, a trilogy I highly recommend if you're into adventure books, I thought to myself how fun it would be to discuss the book with other readers. I had recently watched the movie The Book Club, and realized that I wanted to start my own. Being a Masters Student, I read a lot of scholarly articles for school, but almost never make the time to read just for fun. With a Book Club, what better excuse to force myself to read for pleasure? Not only would such a club give me an occasion to discover new types of literature, it would also be a fun way to meet my friends and hear their views and impressions of different novels.

How to Start Your Own Club?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that starting a Book Club was something I really wanted to do. Because I was in a study program, it was easy to find a platform in which to promote the idea and attract members. The first thing I did before creating it, was to ask two of my fellow classmates (who both were avid book worms as well) to join me. Enthralled by this new idea, they quickly agreed, and we began brainstorming ideas. By reading online articles such as, How to Start a Book Club That Doesn't Suck, we came up with a few guiding principles for the club:

  • Our classmates and members are busy, so full commitment to the Club is not something that we need to enforce. Realizing that reading an entire book per month could be quite demanding, we decided to stress the fact that the Book Club was open to all to join at any time they seemed fit. This meant that it was a commitment-free club, to which members did not need to feel obligated to attend each month. This made the club more flexible and easy going.
  • Switch it up between short stories and novels. Concomitant to the fact that our members had busy schedules, we decided to switch up the duration of the selected literatures. Until now, we continue to alternate between novels and short stories. We noticed that when we select short stories, more people are able to join. Because they are so short, it's also easy to assign two short stories for a single month.
  • Create a process by which to nominate the literature of the month. As a rule of thumb, we also decided to change the theme of the literature every month. Within each theme, we come up with 3-4 literature choices which the members can vote upon through a Doodle Poll. This method works well because it gives the members the ability to choose the literature they want to read. We also encourage our members to give us suggestions for upcoming themes.
  • Be creative and have fun. By far, the most important lesson is to make your Book Club a fun and safe space to express ideas judgment-free. It is also good to be creative and explore new themes of literature. Some of the themes we included so far are: holidays/christmas, African short stories, dystopian novels, and clash of civilizations. 
  • Bring snacks!!! Everyone will always appreciate it when you bring cookies or chocolate to the meetings. Especially for evening meetings, having snacks will be sure to keep the energies going for longer.

Inspired? Make Your Own!

Starting a Book Club does take some planning and commitment, but once it's up and running, I guarantee you it will be worth the effort! So what are you waiting for? Gather your friends and start your own!

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