Anyone who has ever been part of a book club knows how quickly they can morph from a fun activity to a dreaded obligation. However, stilted conversations from participants who frantically skimmed the book hours before the next meetup are not inevitable. A book club should be relaxing and fun, a group that gets everyone excited about reading. With the tips below, you can keep your book club lively and entertaining.
1- Be Honest
One pitfall that book club participants can fall into is suggesting titles that are meant to impress rather than what they really want to read. There’s nothing wrong with tackling difficult literary novels, but if some or all of the participants would rather read something light and escapist as well, they should feel free to be upfront about their choices. A good mix of different genres and styles helps ensure that everyone gets to read one of their favorites periodically. In addition, participants should agree that they can talk honestly about disliking a book.
2- Dig Deep
Being honest about reactions to a book is a good start, but for a successful book club, members need to go beyond saying whether or not they liked it. However, too often, the questions listed for clubs in the back of books feel a little too much like a high school English discussion. Digging deeper into personal reactions to the story and the questions it raised will make for a more interesting meetup. Lively disagreement should be encouraged.
3- Have Cigars
The book club space should feel like a special one that’s outside of dreary routines, and one great way to achieve that is with indulgence. Having cigars on hand for all members both sets it apart as a special occasion and conjures a bookish image of literary types meeting in a cozy home library next to a fire and talking literature. For nonsmokers, there can be other special treats on hand such as wine, cocktails, or canapes.
4- Interact With Authors
Thanks to the internet, authors today are more accessible than ever before. Some might even be persuaded to participate in a brief video chat with the book club. If the author is a local one, they could be willing to attend. However, even if the author isn’t available in real-time, they might answer questions over email or social media, and the answers to these questions can liven up the discussion.
5- Mix It Up
Book clubs can start to feel monotonous if they meet in the same place every time or even if they rotate through members’ houses. Try mixing up meeting spots, perhaps going to a park if the weather is nice or to a local brewery or cafe. Mixing it up can also mean shaking up the reading list. A group that feels like their reading habits have fallen into something of a rut can experiment with something different, such as a book of poetry or something translated from another language.
Book clubs need to stay fun and engaging to keep member interest high. Finding the right balance of an interesting reading list, strong discussion prompts and a desirable meeting location and experience can all help lead to success.