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For those of you who belong to book groups

(8 Posts)
posey Mon 30-May-11 18:09:51

i'm thinking of starting one up at school (we have different parent groups that meet up in part of the school on Friday mornings, crochet, zumba, etc) and thought it would be a good chance to belong to a book group. I've always wanted to go to one but they're always in the evenings when I can't attend.

Can you help me a bit with how each meeting is run? I know it will be different for all groups but a few pointers would be good. And how do you choose books? And how long between get togethers?

Thank you smile

AgentProvocateur Mon 30-May-11 19:15:20

I started one up about five years ago, and we're still going strong. We meet once a month on the last friday of the month. That way, everyone knows when it is, and can put in their diaries in advance.

We have run it two ways:
Initally, at the start of the year, we all put details of two books we wanted to read into a hat, and they were drawn out randomly. We picked 2 books each month, and people could read one or the other or both. The advantage of this method was that if you didn't fancy one of the books, there was another to read. The disadvantages were that it was too set in stone - there was no scope to read a newly released book, for example. It was also divisive - when people were talking about the book that they'd not read, people lost interest.

So now, we all choose one a month, but the list of who's chosing when is decided at the start of the year. This means everyone knows when their turn to choose is, and they have time to think about it. We choose two months in advance - ie, I chose in March for the book we discussed in May. This gives people enough time to order the book from Amazon or the library.

We have no rules about the types of books that can be chosen (apart from no hardbacks).

We talk about the book at the beginning of the night (before we've drunk too much wine!) and then we mark it out of 10. I keep a book with the scores.

Your local library - if you still have one! - may provide you with a list of books that they have multiple copies of. Mine was really helpful, and gave me a separate ticket and let us keep books for six weeks and don't fine us for late returns.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

kikidee Mon 30-May-11 19:29:48

Our group has been meeting for two years and we rotate round each others houses. That month's hostess chooses the book for the next month and there are no official rules about what you choose but it does have to be a length that can be read in a month. Some members really struggle to get through the book in a month. We meet on the first Thursday of each month and discuss the book first for 30 minutes to an hour and the person who has chosen the book normally starts the discussion. We then hear what the next book choice is and then we're free to talk about anything we like and eat cake. I absolutely love it most of the time but it can be hardgoing if you get a run of books that aren't really your kind of thing but it makes me read books I might not normally try. I'm very glad we started it.

CristinaTheAstonishing Mon 30-May-11 19:36:31

Posey - I've belonged to quite a few book groups over the years. They were all in the evening and involved wine at some stage. Are you sure it would work on a Friday morning at school? Gossip just wouldn't be the same smile

posey Mon 30-May-11 19:49:20

Thanks for the replies. Really helpful.
Yes I wondered about the lack of wine by having it in the daytime at school. However the other groups have been really well attended, even just with coffee and biscuits. I know a lot of mums just go out for a coffee on Friday mornings ( all the part timers seem to have Fridays off!) so free coffee and a natter about a book may not be such a chore. We also have quite a lot of Muslim mums who don't drink and therefore avoid a lot of school functions might be interested.

Can I also ask, how do you start off the discussion? I would just hate it if I couldn't get people to open up so might need pointers on how to get discussion flowing.
Thanks again.

CristinaTheAstonishing Mon 30-May-11 20:53:55

You could start just by asking who liked it, who didn't, then why one or the other. It flows easily after that. Who was your favourite character, who did you hate, would you have done anything differently etc. I think for some books you can even get questions off the interent specifically for book club readings but you'll soon find your own way. Depends how deep you want to get into the discussion and deeper implications. Good luck!

sonearsofar Mon 30-May-11 22:07:40

One of my BGs runs on tea or coffee and it's fine.
To start off, the person who chose the book just says briefly why they chose the book and what they thought of it, then discussion goes round the room with everyone saying something. This doesn't appeal to everyone, but ensures that everybody, not just the more opiniated members, have their say.
We score each book, but record the average and the range of scores. The latter gives a better measure of how interesting the meeting was.
Don't worry if it doesn't gel immediately. I've found that new groups take up to a year to settle in.
Have fun - I love my bgs, especially as they make me read books I wouldn't otherwise have chosen.

posey Mon 30-May-11 22:35:35

Brilliant, that's been really helpful smile

Think I might put out a few feelers for interest after half term then take it from there. Getting quite excited about it!

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