Monday, August 15, 2011

A Book Club!

I'm excited. I'm starting a Book Club! I love to read, and I want to meet more people that like to read, so I'm starting an actual physical meet-in-someone's house book club!

We are starting small, with just a few members, and we're going to make up the rules so they fit us. But I have a few questions, and if anyone has been part of a book club, feel free to chime in and help us out!

  • What's the best way to pick books to read and share? Should we pick a book that a member has read and recommended - or choose one that no one has read yet? Should we vote on what we'd like to read, or should everyone get a chance to choose a book? Should we make a list ahead of time, say three-six months in advance, or decide each month what the next book shall be?
  • What is a good number for the group? So far, we are starting with 3-4, but I'm sure that number will grow as people hear about us, and some will drop in and out, show up or not. Should we try for 8, or 10, or 12 people?
  • How should we decide what to talk about? Does everyone bring one question they'd like to discuss? Or should the person who chooses the book develop a list of questions to discuss?
  • Is it important to keep everyone on track, and talking about The Book? Or is veering off into other discussions part of the fun of the group?
I have never been part of a Book Club before, and I don't know how it's going to go, but I can hardly wait!

Have you been part of a Book Club?
If you have any helpful hints or ideas, feel free to share them in the comments.
I'd love to hear from you!


Monica said...

Ooooh fun! This sounds exactly like my cup of tea, but I've never belonged to a formal book group before.

My critique group meets in person, and we often turn into an informal book club. It's so interesting our range of tastes, etc.

Have fun!!

Let us know how it goes!?

Linda Benson said...

I will let you know how it goes, Monica, and I don't know how formal this will actually be, and how much we digress.

I would like to keep it mostly about books, though, but don't want to be the "bad guy" moderator ;-)

Dreaming said...

I think the great thing about a new book club is that the members can shape and mold it as it goes/grows and it can eventually take the shape that works for the folks in the club.
The one that I was involved in picked different genres for each month and members suggested titles in that genre. Some were books that had been read by a member, others were books we had heard reviews about. I liked that we chose different genres because it forced me to reach for a different shelf in the library and sometimes surprised me! Members took turns leading and those that suggested a genre or a title would volunteer to lead. When it was my turn, I did find some questions on the Internet to guide discussion. I had preselected a few - but in short order our conversation went down a different track... and that was good, too.
I like the idea you propose of members bringing their own question or prompt for discussion as that lends itself to getting at something each person views as important.
If you get too many people in a group not everyone can be heard. But, if the group becomes really popular, it would be fun to break into smaller groups, discuss the book and then come back together to share the highlights of each group's discussion.
We conducted our meetings at a local Panera Bread Co restaurant - so we all had our choice of beverage and goodies and could get more if the discussion was extended!!
Good luck. Sounds like fun. Now that I've moved, I'd like to find another group! Since I've just found the library, maybe they can steer me to a club!

Mary Hunter said...

My mother has a book group in Dallas that she has been a part of for 25+ years.

They sit down at the beginning of the year and make a list of the whole year. Everyone gets to offer a suggestion and they work together to compile a list for the year.

I would lean toward choosing a book that at least one person has read (or that has gotten really good reviews). You don't all want to read a book that turns out to be not so good.

How formal you want to be about questions, off topic discussions, etc. really is up to you. I know with my mother's group, sometimes they spend the whole time talking about the book, while sometimes I think they probably spend the whole time talking about other things.

I think 8-10 is a good size. Not too big, but still large enough that if several people can't come to a meeting, you still have enough people to have a good discussion.

They take turns meeting once a month in each other's houses. They have either a light dinner or refreshments/desserts.


Linda Benson said...

Thanks so much for your comments!

Dreaming - I like that idea of different genres for each month. I'm sure it will cause some of us to read outside our comfort zone, but if it's good stuff then that's okay, too. I'm glad you found the library in your new town. Let me know if you get involved in a book club.

Mary - Thanks for the insights. Wow - 25+ years! That's a long time to keep a book club going - they must be doing something right! I know when I choose books I often rely on Goodreads or some other rating system, like a recommendaton in a library magazine. It should be really interesting to try and figure out books. I think we'll try and choose a few months in advance at first, until we all get a feel for our readings tastes and how the group works. I'm getting excited now ;)