Starting a book club... errrr, how do you do it?(7 Posts)
I am setting up a book club for a small group of friends to meet every 4-6 weeks. A publisher friend has provided 6 copies of our first book to get us started but just wondering how you get discussions going... i know some newer books have questions in the back to get things going but obviously not always. Do you tend to find discussions get going anyway or is it a good idea to try and think of some questions beforehand? if so, how do you work that out? does everyone come with questions? or just the person who nominates the book? Also, whats the best way to choose next book, have a few options and vote on it or just take it in turns to nominate?
any tips would be great as i don't know what the fark i'm doing to be honest - i read a lot of books but have never discussed them in a club sort of setting!
Most libraries have a list of books they can lend out in multiples. Get a list off them & ask everyone in the group to bring a list of 10 or so suggestions themselves to your first meeting. (not set in stone add other books too)
Then you can get a core list for the next year sorted & alert the library to ensure supplies.
A good fair way to spread the load is to say whoever chooses the book that month is host & "chairs" the discussion- you'll find after a few opinions & "what did we all thinks" you'll probably not need a formal list of questions!
Another good cheap source is Ebay I often get books for about £1 (plus a few for P&P ) so get my own for the shelf.
Go to your local library and sign up your book club, they should give you a pack and a list of what sets they have but they can also usually source more, especially of there are only 6 of you.
I work in the area that sorts out our county reading groups so some tips if you are going down the library route.
We have nearly 400 registered reading groups.
Newly published books will not go out to reading groups for a year.
Put in lots of suggestions as that will help the people who sort out the lists some flexibility.
Be warned that the most popular books have a waiting list, some of ours are booking into 2013 at the moment.
A friend set ours up. Whoever hosts choses the next book and hosts are decided for the one after next so the can come prepared with book choice information.
We have done a mix of formal questions and more free flowing discussion. We don't have rules on who can and can't ask questions, I think that could prevent discussion flowing really as sometimes one person has interpreted something very differently that rest of group haven't considered. We also maybe buy three or four copies and pass them round.
We let the library choose which is good, as it's a surprise then.
However, they do provide lists of books that they have multiple copies of so you could copy the list and ask your friends to star/tick the ones they like the look of at the first meeting if you don't want to leave it to chance.
If a book is particularly discussion worthy (good or bad) I put a large post-it on the inside of the front cover and write comments as I think of them while reading it. I read a lot, so sometimes when I get to the actual book club I can't remember what I thought of it and the post-it is really useful.
Ours works like this...
Whatever book is chosen, it's up to everyone to get hold of their own copy. Some buy it, some borrow from library, friends etc
At the end of each meeting we pick a theme e.g. War, historical romance, Africa, Christmas etc. Everyone then brings a suggestion along to the next meeting for a novel that fits the theme. We all vote on which of the suggestions we want to read that month. So each meeting we a) discuss the book that was chosen the meeting before b) vote on the suggestions brought to decide what we'll read before the next meeting and c) pick a theme to find suggestions for.
We go for a free flow approach to discussions. Someone always has something to say! Someone always disagrees, it always leads to a healthy discussion. We also score our novels out of 10 - that in itself can set off the discussion. people can bring questions if they want.
In December, we go out for a meal and hold a secret Santa. Everyone wraps up a book and puts it secretly into 'the sack'. In theory, it's supposed to be something you've read and loved yourself. So we all read something different that month and then report back next time. We've taken to guessing who put the book in, and whether the recipient will like it or not - well, we don't get out much - it amuses us.
It's all very informal and a great night out. It's all interspersed with general chat and laughter.
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