August 16, 2011 at 10:47 am , by Catherine LeFebvre
This week’s post comes from Barbara Drummond Mead, owner of book club wunder-resource Reading Group Choices. Her blog, On the Bookcase, is dedicated to all things book club. “Book club members find pleasure, adventure, knowledge, self-awareness, and even solace in the covers of a book,” mead says, “and enjoy sharing their discoveries with others.” Here are her tips for starting a successful book club:
Magic Number: Ten to twelve people make a perfect size group. You’ll always have plenty of participants, if even some people can’t make the discussion.
Who to Invite: Consider inviting work colleagues and personal friends, or ask your local librarian or bookstore if any patrons have expressed interest in forming a new club. Including those outside your usual social circle will help you discover new perspectives and challenge your personal growth. Their enthusiasm in joining a book club is the key.
Locations Abound: Invite your club over to your home, if you enjoy entertaining. A busy or budget-challenged host can choose a restaurant or coffee house for seating and refreshments with little effort, and members can pay their own way.
Make Contact: Send a courtesy reminder with the date and time, including a few fun things you have in store for the group discussion. Remember, everyone has a busy life — they need reminders!
Conversational Space: Arrange seating in a circle or U-shape so everyone can be seen and heard.
Mix and Mingle: Set aside 30 minutes of social time to introduce members, asking them about some of their favorite books book genres, and what they hope to get out of the book club experience.
Q&A The first meeting should set the tone, create expectations and facilitate connections within the group. Consult the group to decide meeting frequency, location and refreshments. Good food and drink go hand-in-hand with good conversation!
Choose a Winning Book: Review the next month’s LHJ Book Club Pick, peruse top reviews, and ask members to contribute title selections. By having members choose the books, your group will read and discover books that they might not have picked up themselves.