Starting a book club can be a fulfilling hobby for all age groups. Here are some of the ways you can go about to start one.
- Find people with similar interest
Since a book club is a community of book lovers coming together, it is essential to get in touch with people with the same enthusiasm for the love of reading books. The best way to begin is by finding members within your social circle, existing friends who love to read or maybe co-workers who can spare time after office[i]. Sending emails to these friends can help connect. For finding like minded members outside of your social circle, you can put up flyers/notices on the bulletin boards of libraries, coffee shops, etc. A more digital friendly approach can be creating an open or a closed group on Facebook, Instagram, etc.
- Zero down on the Purpose of the book club
It is highly essential to work on the purpose of creating your book club[ii]. Ideally, it should be a gathering where you discuss what you have read, but at times it becomes a gathering of mere socializing and refreshments. So, be clear in what the outcome of each meeting should be so that the expectations of all the members are set right, and there are no frictions.
- Choice of books to be read
Next, you need to determine the types of books to be read and discussed in your book club. Candid memoirs or genres like romance, mystery, etc. can be decided on, or even books of a particular author can be discussed. While it is essential to draw a structure of your book club, ensure that it does not sound like imposing rules on the members. Remember, the idea is to indulge in a conversation around books to relax!
Some book clubs select books that do not take long to finish while some encourage readers to read out of their comfort zone with graphic novels or longer texts. You can think of a title or a theme and put it to vote and let the members decide what to read next. Another way could be of taking turns with the members in each meeting to determine what to read.
- Chose a name for the book club
Once the theme around which the books will be read and discussed is finalized, selecting a name for the book club will be easy. The title should be able to target and attract book readers of a particular genre or age group or specific multicultural community[iii]. You can also attract members with names that are fun to listen to! Always remember, a club name is its identity, so chose a name that all your club members can quickly identify with and take pride being associated with.
- Location and frequency of meetings
Lastly, you need to figure out a meeting place for the members of the club. This has to be chosen wisely, keeping in mind the preferences of the club members. Some clubs prefer meeting at their homes, taking turns to fix up meetings at all the member’s house one by one. You can also take turns to bring in a dish and a bottle of wine to share! Location can also be a library or a coffee shop or even a bookstore. Since, everything these days is digital, setting up a meeting location in a park or by the lake can provide a natural backdrop for reading and relaxing. You can also choose a destination that matches the theme of the book in a discussion like a museum if you are reading a book related to history.
Frequency of the meetings will depend on how long a book takes to complete. Again, the schedule and up to you to decide, so decide on something realistic.
Further, structuring the meeting also determines the success or failure of the club. So, it is recommended that the flow of discussion is set once the members meet so that the meeting proceeds smoothly, and the aim of gathering members is achieved.