Starting a book club is a great way to expand both your mind and your social circle by introducing you to different genres, new ways of thinking and people from all walks of life. But how do you recruit members, choose the right books, and lead interesting discussions?
Here are some tips and resources to get you off on the right page:
calling all book worms
How large you want your book club to be will depend on where you plan to host it. For example if you want to host it in members’ homes, you’ll probably have to limit the number of people who join, whereas if you have it in a café or bar you can probably accommodate more. Many book clubs recruit solely from friends, friend of friends and work colleagues, but it can also by fun to meet totally new people. Posting flyers at your local library, book store or café or registering your club in an online forum are good ways to find members.
the devil’s in the details
Once you have a core group together, you’ll need to figure out some details such as how often your group will meet, where you’ll host discussions, how you’ll choose books, and who will lead discussions. Most book clubs meet once a month at a set time to avoid continually having to juggle everyone’s schedules. One idea is for a different person to host the meeting each month – they can choose the book, lead discussion and provide snacks. Another idea is to ask a book shop, library or café to host your book club regularly.
don’t judge a book by its cover
With so many books to choose from, deciding on one isn’t always as easy as it seems. And leading discussions can be particularly daunting for some members. But luckily there is a wealth of ideas and resources for book clubs online. So if your book club is struggling, check-out some of the websites below:
- The Man Booker Prize has a range of readers’ guides and reading group toolkits.
- Random House Australia has a range of recommended books and discussion questions.
- Hachette Australia has a list of books and reading group guides as well as a facebook page for discussions with other reading groups.
- Allen and Unwin posts new recommended books each month, along with notes and tips for book clubs.
- First Tuesday Book Club, the ABC’s televised book club also has a website crammed with information and ideas.
- The Age Book Club is an online book club with articles, interviews and discussion points.
- Bookcaffe specialises in book club recommendations and supplies, and if you’re in Perth can even host book clubs or put you in touch with one that’s already established
- Better Read Than Dead in Newtown, Sydney, offers a group reading room, recommendations, trial reading periods and specials discounts for book groups. They also offer open book clubs on the second and third Wednesday of each month at 7pm.
- Readings Hawthorne runs several book clubs for adults and children – call 9819 1917 for more information.
- Avid Reader in West End Brisbane runs a variety of book clubs for different genres.
- bookclub.meetup.com is a website with book club listings around the world. Just type in your city to find a book club near you.