Clarice James

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction

Starting a Book Club?

Thinking about starting a book club? Then you might find these suggestions helpful.

  • Meeting Place: If the idea is to enjoy the book along with some fellowship, then choose a comfortable place to meet such as a good-sized room in a person’s home, a private room at your local library, or a meeting room at your church. You may want to consider having a back-up meeting place, too, in the event the regular meeting place is not available. Some prefer to rotate their location; although I prefer to keep the location the same.
  • Time: Keep it to two to two and a half hours, depending upon the size of the group. Morning groups might meet from 9:30 to noon; evening groups from 6:30 to 9:00. Realistically, there will be socializing time in each meeting. That’s why we pad the meeting time with that extra half hour.
  • How Often? As often as you like– but I recommend monthly or twice a month meetings. If you meet monthly, make it the first Tuesday or the second Monday, etc. Remember if a member cannot make one monthly meeting, they will have to wait another whole month to meet again. If you’re studying one book over time, they may lose interest. IMPORTANT: Meetings times should not change unless the group makes a collective decision.
  • Hosts & Leaders: It’s good to have co-leaders, perhaps one to handle the communication (email, text or calls) between members and the other to lead the book discussion.
  • Choosing a Book: It should be expected that all Book Club members who suggest a title should have already researched the book prior to making the suggestion, including reading excerpts, reading book reviews and finding out if the book includes discussion points and questions. The co-leaders should then ask the members to vote on which book they prefer. Or give each member a turn at choosing a book.
  • Book Discussions: Everyone must commit to reading the book and come prepared to discuss it. Keep it interesting, keep it challenging, stay on topic! An unfocused discussion leads to chaos and unrelated conversation. Reading an especially well-written excerpt is a great conversation starter, too.
  • Set the Tone: Decide in advance if you want your discussions to be academic, esoteric, or light. Sometimes it’s more about fellowship.
  • Club Size: Eight to ten people is best.
  • Refreshments: It’s up to your group, but I prefer to stick with just beverages, mainly because it helps keep our eyes focused on the book, not the dessert. Besides, some locations do not allow food or beverages.

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