How To Start A Book Club

Kevin Coolidge
Kevin is the creator of The Totally Ninja Raccoons and lives in Wellsboro Pennsylvania
Arts And Entertainment

Jan 03,2018

Do you insist on re-arranging your personal library by the Dewey Decimal System? Is your local library threatening to cut you off? Before the gentlemen in the clean, white coats come to take you away, perhaps you should consider joining a book club. A book club, you say? “I won’t have to serve those damn tasteless cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off, or weak tea like a lame garden party, will I? And tests, there won’t be any tests, will there? I forgot to bring my pencil.”

Relax, there are as many types of book clubs as there are books, and the types of people who read them. I’m going to give you a couple tips for starting your own book club, and as a bonus, I’m going to share the recipe for my world-famous scones.

The process can begin by simply asking around for like-minded people and having them help organize the first gathering. You could check within a group that you are affiliated with-such as MOPS, or your poker buddies, or check places where book lovers gather-such as the library or bookstore. You’ll want to take into consideration the idea size of your group, if you need to recruit, and how you will extend those invitations.

Consider the atmosphere and logistics when you are starting to organize. Once you assault the beach, overrun the pill boxes form a spearhead and. Excuse me, I mean, what type of atmosphere are you looking for? Serious, academic, social, or just plain fun? What types of books do you want to read? Do you want to focus on specific topics or genres?

Where will you meet and what time slot? Will there be refreshments? Beer? What time will be specifically designated for socializing? It may help to consciously separate the socializing from the discussion. For example, house opens at 7pm for coffee, desert and conversation. Discussion starts at 7:30pm.

Other questions to consider include-how will you choose your books? How far ahead will you plan? How will your members obtain copies of books? Try to choose titles that will take you places where you’ve never been before and will warrant a collaborative and interesting discussion. It is a good idea to choose a selection process.

There are several methods: mutual vote (democracy); having a member make three selections and then vote one those (republic);or having the host choose the book (dictatorship). If you are having trouble choosing (bureaucracy), a good places to start is with award winners like the Pulitzer Prize, National Book award, Nebula and Hugo awards (science fiction), or try reading from the list of commonly banned books. You should plan far enough ahead that members have time to read and find the book. Consider putting one member in charge of obtaining copies of the book.

How will each discussion be lead? Will you designate a leader? Can members who haven’t read the book attend? Be spontaneous in your discussions. Make sure everyone has a chance to speak his or her mind. Don’t be afraid to speak up, but be courteous and listen to others. To avoid a lapse or total collapse of the regime-er, discussion-you may want to have everyone formulate three questions, or passages to discuss.

Read passages out loud to hear the voices and the language as this can be revealing. Formulate questions that do not have “yes” or “no” answers. Turn statements into provocative questions that probe and stimulate conversation.

Life is full of questions, such as what is the meaning of existence? Yep, grab those pencils. It’s time for the essay question portion of the article. Just kidding: if I gave you a quiz, it’d be true/false.This article can’t give you all the answers. For further reading, I recommend The Book Club Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to the Reading Group Experience by Diana Loevy.

Remember that there is no right and wrong in the art of literary interpretation. Read the book, but don’t be afraid to be yourself. Share your thoughts and insights, have fun in discussing the process of shared exploration, and grab your pencil for my famous scone recipe….

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