Starting a book club - how-to, hints and tips, please.

(20 Posts)

I would love to be in a book club, but the only one I know about locally, meets on a Monday night, when I have choir rehearsal, so I am considering starting one.

Has anyone else done this, and if so, how did you go about finding other members (it might be a bit dull with just me), and do you have any hints or tips on how to start and run a book club?

I want it to be the sort of club where we can read a variety of books, and they don't all have to be Booker Prize nominees, iyswim. Lighter fiction, autobiographies, childrens books, sci-fi etc.

CoteDAzur Thu 07-Feb-13 12:33:47

Do it with friends, people who already know & appreciate each other.

6 is a good number. Don't exceed 7 people.

I hadn't thought of numbers, Cote - thank you!

froggers1 Thu 07-Feb-13 12:39:04

I started one a couple of years ago. I basically started with about 4 friends and they have invited people so now we have about 8. We meet at the pub every 6 weeks. We all have little ones so thought it would be easier than at people's homes. We take it in turns to pick the next book and we always agree the next date while we are there. Make sure you send reminders to people just before the next one as people tend to forget/ not book babysitters etc!! Its fun!!! Go for it!

PandaG Thu 07-Feb-13 12:41:46

I started a book group about 9 years ago, just asked a few friends if they were interested, and one or 2 friends also brought along someone they knew.

We take it in turns to suggest books, range from Booker prizewinners to lighter stuff, just read an autobiography for the first time. No strict order on choosing, people ofetn come with an idea or 2. Usually try to have a couple of books chosen in advance. We meet about every 6 weeks, monthly was too often for some.

We generally have a takeaway and wine as we are interested in having a night out as well as discussing a book! We have a rule we must start talking about the book once the food has arrived. Usually the person who suggested the book leads the discussion - ofetn downloading questions as a prompt.

I think 6-8 people is about right, there are usually one or 2 people who casn't come for whatever reason, and you need at least 4 for a discussion.

I really enjoy our book group, I have read some books I wouldn't have done otherwise, some I've loved, others not so much, and I have made soem new friends too.

I sorted of started one - well, I was in at the start anyway - which has been going about 8 years now shock - although I'm the only one of the 'original' members now. Humm, that doesn't sound great does it?

We started up as friends of friends/neighbours around one particular person - but it evolved, as people dropped out & more were invited in. Agree that you want about 8 people (there's always 1-2 who can't come/haven't read the book) - we've had more and it's a nightmare, as everyone doesn't get heard/you need to moderate a lot more - plus you need a big room!

We don't do the choosing in the 'normal' take a turn way - instead anyone who wants gets to bring along a book and pitch it to the group, then we vote. Sometimes we choose a theme that books need to meet (autobiog, classic you wish you'd read, poetry, romance, graphic novel...) but mostly now it's just whatever!

We used to have some broad question types we always looked at (eg. all rated the book out of 10 and why; what did we think of characters; writing style; ending etc) - and there are also lots of downloadable book group questions on anything classic/book-club-y if you just google them.

One thought - I like the fact that our book club isn't (just) my 'normal' mates - they are a group who've grown together. Might be worth getting a few people to invite a friend so you get that dynamic (rather than you being the lynchpin iykwim)

HTH!

All that does help - thank you everybody.

Cooroo Fri 08-Feb-13 07:42:30

I was in a group that flourished for about 10 years then stagnated. It was revived a year ago with a 50:50 male female ratio. That has been really fun. We're all in our 50s or 60s (oh god that sounds really old, we aren't like that really).

We take it in turns to choose a book, alphabetically by our names. So you know when your turn's coming up. We have some keen shoppers/cookers so they usually bring nice food and I turn up with a bottle of cheap plonk and a bag of crisps and feel inadequate! I strongly recommend sorting catering early - takeaway sounds great to me, otherwise just crisps/nibbles. My lot are beyond help, but it is an issue for me.

We start by scoring out of 5 (and arguing about half points!). Then usually the person who chose the book will start, but nothing formal. We chat about the book in a fairly non-academic way for an hour or so, then eat and open up the talk to books read/films seen/kids/gossip.

ggirl Fri 08-Feb-13 07:52:46

I would recommend that you have a rule that new member have to be agreed with the whole group before someone brings a new member along.

We had one member who kept bringing new people along and the size got too big.

All this advice is very reassuring and useful - thank you. It is beginning to sound like something I could actually do, rather than just dreaming about (I am a shy, depressive procrastinator - not a good combo for being someone who starts new groups!).

We choose our books twice a year so we know what the books are for the next 6 months. Everyone makes up to 3 suggestions, one person collects them all and sends round the list. Everyone has to pick 3 from the list and we work it from that. I know it sounds a bit of a faff but it does work really well, and we always have a really good mix of books.

Also, speak to your local library as quite often they have sets of books available for reading groups. Saves people having to buy them all.

Oh, and the woman who started ours put some leaflets in the library & play groups & posted in a local forum board.

Good luck - I love mine!

Yy to deciding on catering arrangements - we do drinks & nibbles only so it's not too onerous - and everyone turns up with a bottle. Plus cake when it's someone's birthday :-)

FartAtTheMaddingCrowd Mon 11-Feb-13 20:29:10

We do things differently from most other groups in that we don't all read the same book at the same time. We meet once a month and each bring a pile of books (approx 4) that we have read or intend to read (or read years ago) and we pitch them to the group and whoever wants to borrow them can. The host for that month keeps a record in our notebook of who's borrowed what. Sounds hideously complicated but it's great, keeps things fresh and you end up reading things you'd never normally choose but without the pressure to finish something you're not enjoying or to read the 'chosen text'.
Also I think a variety of age groups/life experiences is good, we have 10 members and are quite strict on admitting more

Clawdy Mon 11-Feb-13 23:15:51

We meet first Monday each month,take it in turns to choose the "book of the month" and if it's your book choice you host the meeting and provide wine and nice crisps. We've stuck to between six and eight members,and try to make sure we pick really varied books,but they have to be reasonably priced and easily available.

I started one with an ad on Gumtree and a work notice board. We were 6 but two have moved away and now we're a stalwart 4. To be fair, we're less about the book as the getting together these days - wine, nibbles and lots to talk about. We take it in turns to pick or suggest and usually buy/read three in advance. We try and have a regular monthly meeting but its flexible to everyones diaries. We're really diverse group who would never have met in RL otherwise, that makes a big difference to how we feel about it I think.

ElleDee Tue 12-Feb-13 10:08:40

Hi, I started one with friends and they all invited someone too. We actually have 10 members but almost always one or two cant make a meeting so there are never too many of us. I use Doodlepoll online to sort out meeting dates.

Juanca Tue 12-Feb-13 17:27:26

I started one three years ago that is still going - even though I left the country!

I started a Facebook group called '[name of town] book group' - that's where we got most of our members. A really oddly diverse group that works very well.

We all met at the pub (a friendly community pub that likes to promote these kinds of groups) and took in in turns to choose books.

alwayssomething Tue 12-Feb-13 17:37:08

If you have more than four members I think it's good to establish a rule about not rearranging the date once it has been set - otherwise you can end up with massive gaps between meetings due to difficulties with finding a date everyone can do, because once you've agreed to rearrange at one person's request you can't very well refuse to rearrange for another.

We score books out of 10.

We meet at each other's houses. We take it in turns to choose the book and the starting point is that we meet at the house of the person who has chosen the book, but sometimes we depart from that principle if one person needs book group to be at their house for childcare reasons, and the person whose turn it was to have it at their house doesn't mind swapping. The person who chooses the book is always responsible for bringing wine and nibbles, whichever house we meet at.

Bowednotbroken Tue 12-Feb-13 18:29:45

Ours meets at the local library - helps to keep use figures up as it is under threat of closure. They get books for us so once or twice a year we go through the list of ones they have a lot of and so it is often a surprise what we get. Great though as have read lots of things that I wouldn't have done. Do check what local policy is re using the library!

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