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    Getting Social: How to start a book club

    Whether or not you’re an avid reader, joining a book club can combine the joys of fully immersing yourself in a book with the chance to break down all of the highs and lows of your reading experience. Reading and discussing your latest book can give you the opportunity to connect with new and old friends, prompt new ways of thinking or looking at situations, and provide a much-needed escape from daily life. 

    Book clubs also broaden your horizons, breaking you out of any reading ruts you’ve gotten into, helping you to find new genres or authors that may just become your new favorites. 

    With all of these great reasons to join a book club, it seems like an easy decision! But what if there aren’t any book clubs near you? It’s easy enough to start your own. There are some key guidelines to starting a book club, that you’ll want to consider -but in a few short steps, you’ll be happily swapping stories and analyzing characters with your friends in no time. 

    • Set a foundation. Every book club needs to have some general guidelines so that all the members know what to expect. By answering a few questions about your book club goals, you’ll be able to quickly ensure there are no needless arguments. 
      1. What kind of books will you read?
      2. How will the books be chosen?
      3. Where will you meet?
      4. How can you ensure everyone gets their chance to speak?
    • Select an ideal number of members. At least seven or eight people at each meeting will ensure that no one ends up carrying the whole conversation. However, with various scheduling conflicts that may arise, setting your total group number at 10-12 will ensure you get 7-8 members attending monthly. To ensure that the conversation doesn’t completely stray away from the book, invite some members who aren’t already close friends, and let the book discussion take the conversational lead.
    • Give everyone a chance. Start the book discussion by going around the room and sharing initial reactions. Rotate who chooses the next book. Take turns hosting or choosing where the club will meet. By giving all members a voice, and the opportunity to take some ownership of the club, they’ll feel more invested in participating and enjoying the time together. 
    • Set a timeframe. It’s easier for members to block off time for their club meetings when they have an idea of how long it will go. An ideal length of time for a book club meeting is around 2 hours. Aim to spend at least 45 minutes of that time discussing the book. 
    • Serve food and drinks! There’s nothing wrong with a little social lubrication – whether that be alcohol or just a new appetizer recipe. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can try to coordinate the food and drink selection with the book discussion, but it may be worth waiting until the club finds its routine until adding in extra assignments!

    Book clubs can offer you more than just a monthly reading assignment, they can forge new friendships, open up new discussions, and introduce you to new books, authors, and perspectives. Start recruiting today!