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:
- 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
- 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)
- Give everyone a chance to select books – this will help the members feel a sense of belonging
- 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
- 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
- Choose books from diverse genres – a book club is a great way to get out of your reading ‘comfort zone’
- 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
- Remember, there is no wrong way to interpret a book so don’t take it personally if people don’t agree with you
- Give back – consider collecting dues to donate to local libraries or literacy programs
- 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.
The Bookworms Book Club 2016 Reading List:
- Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
- Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green