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setting up a book club/ book choices

(16 Posts)
sockmatcher Sun 26-Apr-15 17:14:01

I've agreed to set up a book club.

I'd really appreciate any ideas on its format.

I've never attended a book club before and not read a book ages.

Recommendation on suggestions for choices appreciated.

OP’s posts: |
holeinmyheart Sun 26-Apr-15 21:55:45

I set up one about 15 years ago.
This is what I did.
I put a notice in a local ' Freebie' calling all book worms' stating my intention to start a book club.
I asked them to come to my house on a certain date and time.
Nine women turned up. We only ever had Women. That suited me.
I wanted the minimum of paperwork and no committees or extra unnecessary meetings.
What was decided on the night was to meet in a persons home. The meeting was to be held in the home of the person who chose the book. No pressure was to be put on anyone who couldn't host the book club, ever!

We decided on Fiction only. ( this is a very important point as otherwise you might find non fiction tomes on the list)

I took everyone's email numbers and asked them to come to the next meeting having decided on a book. I decided on the first book. I then did a little data base of the choices, with the addresses, choice of book and date of the meeting and emailed it to everyone.

It grew, word of mouth to around 15. That is enough people really.

Eventually we had a Christmas Jacobs Join and a Summer Party and sometimes we went to the theatre and films together.

I did a lot of the organising during the first year and chose the book of the month twice until more Women turned up, but as they were mainly interesting and capable women, I really didn't have to do much to get it off the ground.
We never advertised and it grew from word of mouth.
We had July off as everyone was on holiday.
Best of luck.

sockmatcher Sun 26-Apr-15 22:25:12

Thank you that's really informative.

We have a venue as its through a community centre.

I want to make it as inclusive as possible and appeal to a wide range of people so hoping this works!

OP’s posts: |
holeinmyheart Mon 27-Apr-15 06:05:07

Great to have a venue.
I wasn't setting it up for anyone except myself. Not for the community. The local library has one during the day as well, for all comers.

The suggestion that I made about not having non fiction books, probably does not apply to you if the book club is going to be in a venue.
There is a book list knocking about the internet ' I think it is called the most important 200 books, have you read them' , or something like that.

Almost every book written has a review somewhere on the net.
Initially I did have a list of questions about the book to start a discussion with. Otherwise it could just become a night out chatting.

What is likely to happen is that you get some people who are confidant and willing to talk, and then you get others who can't or won't offer their opinion.
My book club is still going but I don't involve myself in it any more as I have other things to do. I have GC etc.

I found that there were a couple of people who were dominante and unless I put my foot down and made room for everyone to speak, only they spoke.

Unfortunately you might find the same situation arising. However, you can't make the introverts speak. If you do get some one very dominant then it will prevent some people from joining.

During the time I ran my book club I saw people come and go. It was fairly intellectual. I learnt about a lot about different writers as everyone had diverse tastes.

I must say I do think I am fairly well read now.

holeinmyheart Mon 27-Apr-15 06:22:06

Here are some book choices to get you going, but they are not Mills and Boon.
Perfume by Robert Susskind.
The Tin Drum by Gunther Grass.
The short stories of F Scott Fitzgerald.
For the love of Seven Dolls by Paul Gallico.
Old Man Gorot by Balzac
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist by Robert Tresswell.
I hope they are all spelt correctly as I am am slightly dyslexic.
Margaret Attwood is a wonderful writer and Doris Lessing. Doris has written some powerful and interesting books. Anything by these two writers is worth reading. I liked Alias Grace by Attwood and the Marriages between Zone three, four and five. by Doris.
Hope it goes well.

Slothlorian Mon 27-Apr-15 06:29:22

It's easy! Go on your county's library website! If yours is the same as mine there is a whole section for bookclubbers - advise on how to set up and best but is you can all take turns choosing a book, book up to a year in advance and u can borrow 10 copies of thousands of books. It costs £1.50 per annum per group! It's brilliant

ShanghaiDiva Mon 27-Apr-15 11:44:49

Also the lit lovers web site has tips and also a list of popular book club reads.
Some of the books we have enjoyed:
Life after life - Atkinson
Hunger games trilogy
Great gatsby
Wuthering heights
Cutting for stone
The secret garden
Little women
Burial rites
The dove keepers
The red tent
100 year old man
The glass castle
We live in China so each year choose a classic, a YA novel and a book about
China. The rest is usually fiction.

madeinkent Mon 27-Apr-15 22:49:28

We are all rather busy in the evenings, there are six main members, so we keep it to a meeting every two months but choose two books. We do try to choose one book that is perhaps lighter and less thought-provoking than the second, but that doesn't always work out.

We do allow other guests to come along. We had more to start with, but some fell by the wayside - our book choices were too erudite apparently. As we are all great readers, we get through several books a week each so have many recommendations to hand, for each other, as well as the set book choices.

We start at 7.30pm and end whenever, tea, coffee, wine and soft drinks are dispensed freely, as are little healthyish nibbles, although one of us is a crispaholic. Our OHs refer to it as The Wine Club, and I have to admit that sometimes only half an hour is devoted to talking about the books! However, many other books are talked about, which easily accounts for perhaps longer than the half hour spent dissecting the set books. We do have one member who would like to discuss the books practically sentence by sentence, but fortunately she is easily distracted by a top-up.

I feel quite sad about various friends dropping out, but it is lovely to talk about books with like-minded people, and if you are the sort of person who finds it hard to read a book a month then perhaps it isn't for you, as some of our former members started to think of it as 'doing their homework', rather than finding it a pleasure.

mistymeanour Thu 30-Apr-15 22:19:49

Ask your local book club librarian to help - as said above they can lend books and have discussion topics sheets, background info on the writer and their inspiration etc. If you go to the publishers site for the book under review they often have book club material to download.

As for books :

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (on my copy it says it has been voted the best book club choice ever) is a big tome but very ripe for discussion.

Stoner: A Novel by John Williams is a recent popular choice as is A Perfectly Good man by Patrick Gale

I think during the first meet you should discuss what sort of books/topics people like and choose the books from that. Some groups like classics, some chick lit, some thrillers - you may be limited by what you can borrow/people can afford.

Halsall Fri 01-May-15 15:01:04

I'm in one that was set up by a neighbour. It's similar to the ones above; we meet in a different person's home each time and that person emails round after the previous meeting to notify us of the book they've chosen. The host provides wine, nibbles etc.

We started out with fiction only (including quite a few mentioned upthread) but have strayed into memoirs, even diaries, although tbh I'm not convinced that's a very good idea, as it seems to limit discussion. We've had some fairly tough reads though, and a few classics - in fact, looking back at our list of past reads, I'm quite surprised at how serious it all is!

Some of us though have been a bit hmm about newcomers to the group, which has changed the dynamic in a not-very-positive way - we're certainly not anti- new people joining, but dominant personalities do have a tendency to take over, which is a shame for those who just want to enjoy some good book-talk.

Pukkapik Sat 16-May-15 21:11:37

In our book club, we choose our books well in advance, (3-4 months) which is helpful for busy people who can't come every month, but want to be part of it.
Our discussions were better the less we knew each other outside book club - the more we know each other, the bigger the desire to chat. And ironically the longer we have had the book the more the tendency to chat....
The best discussions come from books that people hate!

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Sun 17-May-15 19:50:29

There are 10 of us, that's a good number, it used to be 16.

We meet every 6-8 weeks and each choose a book so everyone gets a turn roughly every year. Read it or don't read it, it doesn't matter we don't care we just like meeting up for a natter and supper/ wine.

We've been going nearly ten years. We host at home or we go out if one one suggests somewhere nice to eat.

sockmatcher Thu 21-May-15 12:15:04

Its tonight. Bit nervous. Not least because I'm finding reading very difficult at the moment.

OP’s posts: |
MargoReadbetter Sat 23-May-15 13:53:58

How did it go?

imAbeardedLady Sat 23-May-15 18:48:19

Watching with interest as I'm thinking of starting one myself...

DandyDan Mon 25-May-15 21:19:00

I run one for a group of friends which has been going for over 10 years - it usually meets every 4-6 weeks at my house and we get most of the books from the library system or cheap second-hand copies if necessary. We take it in turns to choose a book - almost always fiction and not too huge or heavy. We go out for a Xmas meal and a summer meal (during which we discuss the book). Discussion about the book tends to last about 30 mins or so, but we chat about other books and other things, and we also always do an extra thing - sometimes it links in with the book, and sometimes not - "if you can find one, bring one of your school reports", "your top five films", "bring your favourite children's book/cover illustration/Xmas poem", "write a short poem (under 10 lines) about...." etc. It's usually just tea/coffee and nice biscuits at our house, as some people have to drive.

Stonor by John Williams was one of our most interesting recent reads. Also Gillespie & I by Jane Harris.

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