How to Start a Book Club

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I ended 2015 by reading a few fantastic memoirs – a genre I don’t normally read – and want to spend 2016 reading more books outside my “comfort zone”.  The easiest way I figured to do this would be to start a book club with my 10 year old cousin, Lilli (she is the only one I know who loves reading as much as I do).  After some debate we settled on six books that we will read over the next year – she chose three and I chose three.  We randomly selected the order and are all set to begin.

Our book club (where we will affectionately be referring to ourselves as The Bookworms) is a great opportunity to influence each other’s reading habits, introduce each other to books we may have never picked up on our own and a way to help each other think more critically about what we read.  For myself as a writer, it gives me a chance to read different styles of writing and for Lilli, as a young girl, it gives her a chance to broaden her perspectives on the world. Plus, I get to spend time with one of my favorite people discussing books! Win-win-win.

If you would like to start up your own book club in 2016 (which I highly recommend), here are a few suggestions to help you and its members get the most out of it:

  1. Choose friends/family members who are just as committed to reading as you are – it will be no fun for you if no one else is taking it seriously
  2. Set rules for the club – outlining your expectations before your first meeting will guarantee everyone is on the same page (for example, although Lilli and I may finish books at different times we must start the next book together)
  3. Give everyone a chance to select books – this will help the members feel a sense of belonging
  4. Decide on a fun club name, club dates and the best way to meet – Lilli and I will be trying different online methods of meeting like Google Hangout and Skype
  5. Be an active reader – jot down your thoughts and ideas as you read, that way you will have plenty of fodder for meaningful discussions at your meetings
  6. Choose books from diverse genres – a book club is a great way to get out of your reading ‘comfort zone’
  7. Allow everyone equal opportunity to discuss their thoughts and feelings on the book – no one wants to sit and listen to someone rant, no fun
  8. Remember, there is no wrong way to interpret a book so don’t take it personally if people don’t agree with you
  9. Give back – consider collecting dues to donate to local libraries or literacy programs
  10. Most importantly, have fun!

Being a member of a book club can be incredibly rewarding and is a great way to spend free time.  Wishing you a 2016 filled with good books, great company and engaging discussion.

Cheers,

Amy

The Bookworms Book Club 2016 Reading List:

  1. Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
  2. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  3. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  4. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  5. The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
  6. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
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