Book clubs are great. They’re social, you can meet likeminded people, they boost your brain power and they can be really rewarding. They can also be a disaster. With this in mind, we’ve pulled together our experience of what works – and what to avoid…
Do set ground rules. Yeah, this is meant to be fun and enriching, but everyone needs to be on the same page (groan…) about reading expectations and when and how the club will be run. Use your first meeting together to all decide on how it’s best to proceed.
Don’t stick to your normal group. This is a great chance to make new friends so don’t just keep to your regular set of mates that always meet up. Instead invite friends of friends, your sister, that girl at work you always talk to, your dad. Mix it up and you’ll get a wide variety of opinions.
Do keep it to small numbers. If you have too many people, you won’t have time to all contribute to the discussion. Equally, you probably need more than just two people.
Don’t go with the flow. Being prepared will ensure everyone gets the most from the club. You don’t have to be too regimented but agree a set time when you’ll talk about the book – after that you can gossip and catch up. It’s also good to come with a few questions/themes to get things going.
Do make sure there is someone in charge. Having someone (or perhaps a couple of people) in charge ensures there will be a book allocated and a time and place will be arranged, otherwise it could go months without the book club ever meeting.
Do be hospitable. If you’re hosting the book club at home, provide a few nibbles. Just keep it simple such as olives and crisps.
Don’t overdo the booze. A glass of vino or two is fine to get people opening up, but any more and you’ll ditch the book and end up having a gossip session. Plus who needs a mid-week hangover?
Do switch up the location. While it’s nice if someone hosts the book club, switching it up can be fun. Choose a new café or a quiet-ish pub – or when the weather gets good, go outside.
Don’t lose momentum. Make sure you set a time and date for the book club each month. If you leave too much time between meetings, you may find it peters out.
Do join our book club! You can create your own book club and read our choices or if it all seems like too much hard work, join our online book club. We have a Facebook group, where you can voice your comments, plus a page on thisgirlisonfire.com, which will contain all our monthly recommendations, author interviews plus a chance to leave your review.