The Ins and Outs of a Book Club

Book clubs need some structure to work successfully.

By FamilyTime

 Book clubs are terrific outlets for people who want to stretch their brains, both by reading and by discussion. These groups offer their members the chance to do both. If you are starting a book club and once you have a good, diverse group of members for a book club and have decided on the meeting place and meeting time, you are well on your way. Now it's time to discuss the all-important details.

Some clubs choose a discussion leader. Others expect the person who chooses the book under discussion to lead the meeting. Still others rely on the free-for-all approach, while some hire a facilitator to get them going. This is not the only topic for your group to dicuss and we have gathered a list of other considerations.

All book clubs need to establish basic rules. These could include the following:
  • Should members attend the meeting if they have not finished the book?
  • How can you encourage participation?
  • How do you handle someone who dominates the discussion?
  • How do you handle interruptions?
  • How should you handle side conversations?
  • What about smoking? cell phones? tardiness?
  • Are guests invited to join the group now and then?
  • Should members rsvp for every meeting?
  • Who will keep track of the books read?
  • Will one person order all the books? Or is everyone responsible for securing his or her own copies?
  • Will you limit your choices to paperback books to keep cost down?
  • What about books available on Kindle but not yet in paper?
  • Decide how to communicate. E-mail is a great tool for keeping in touch.
  • What about refreshments?
  • Should wine be served?
  • How long should each meeting last?

Once you get past these nuts and bolts issues, the book club will move quickly into stimulating territory. It's not uncommon to hear a veteran of a book club comment that he or she has read books they never would have known about or considered reading. Or (more surprisingly) they came to appreciate a certain book only after the discussion.

What's better than that?