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How to Start a Book Club

Hey everyone! AnnMarie and I are teaming up to talk about our book club. If you love the idea of being in a book club too, keep reading to get our tips for starting one of your own!

6 Steps to Start a Book Club | | #bookclub #reading #girlsnightout #readingrecommendations #whattoread #howtostartabookclub

How It All Started {Anne}

Reading is my JAM.

If I had to choose just one hobby for the rest of my life?


One item to take with me to a deserted island?

A fully loaded Kindle (assuming I could plug it in!).

I grew up in the middle of nowhere with only one other girl who was close to my age on my country road.

Cable TV didn’t make it to my parents’ home until I was in college.

My sister was 6 years younger than me.

So books were my entertainment.

One of my best friends’ moms was a children’s librarian at our local library. She always turned us on to the best books! I easily read 10-15 books a week back in the day.

How to Start a Book Club | | #bookclub #reading #girlsnightout #readingrecommendations #whattoread #howtostartabookclub

But then, there was high school homework, and I got a job, then college.

Having kids made finding time to read the hardest.

Reading became something I squeezed into my days: while blowdrying my hair, getting some peace by hiding in my bathroom, while sitting in a carpool line, before bed, really any little bit of free time I found.

Then one day I woke up and my oldest was a senior in high school.

I realized an empty nest wasn’t that far away.

It was time to find other ways of filling my time.

Of course, I thought of reading! But I also wanted to build more social connections.

Helloooooo, Book Club!

In November, I put this message out on my personal Facebook account:

“Local friends: anyone interested in being part of a book club starting in January?”

Twenty-six friends replied!

I created a Facebook group for everyone who was interested. The polls feature makes it easy to coordinate things. We chose a day of the week that worked for the majority of us.

Then I searched Amazon and Goodreads for suggested Book Club selections and created another poll for everyone to vote on our first book. Reading Between the Wines was officially a thing!

How to Start a Book Club | | #bookclub #reading #girlsnightout #readingrecommendations #whattoread #howtostartabookclub

Our Meetings {AnnMarie}

We met at Anne’s house for the first month of our Book Club.

She had a huge turnout for that first meeting.  About 20-25 people gathered in her home!

There was lots of chatting and way too much food & wine.  Although I’m not sure that’s ever a bad thing. Haha!

Everyone brought something to eat or drink in addition to what Anne had prepared as the host.

6 Steps to Start a Book Club | | #bookclub #reading #girlsnightout #readingrecommendations #whattoread #howtostartabookclub

To make it easier on the host each month we decided to coordinate who would bring appetizers and who would bring drinks through our Facebook group.

The 2nd month I hosted at my house. Thanks to high school sports, only 6 of us made it to this meeting. Which really allowed us to have better discussions about the book.

Someone suggested we find somewhere other than our homes to meet. We decided to try meeting at a new local wine bar next.

It was the perfect solution for all of us!

Much less stress for everyone: no cleaning for guests, no bringing food and drinks. The wine bar offers a charcuterie platter and everyone can order a glass of their favorite wine or sparkling water.

Change approved!

We still meet at the same local wine bar to discuss our book of the month.

We have 5-6 regulars and 4-5 who join when they’re able.

Carving time out for book club in the evening can be tough sometimes between family schedules and mom’s taxi service. But we all try to make it work as often as we can!

6 Steps to Start Your Own Book Club

  1. Invite – Ask friends and acquaintances if they would be interested in joining a book club. Social media is an easy way to reach people!
  2. Communicate – We created a Facebook group. The group lets us communicate with all members of our book club in one place.
  3. Date – Choose a date and time that works for the group. Our book club meets the last Wednesday of each month at 7 pm.
  4. Reading list – Decide how you’ll pick your books. We chose to vote on which books we would read. Some groups have the monthly host choose the book. Whichever option you choose, you can find great ideas for books on GoodReads Book Club Suggestions, Amazon’s Book Club Picks, Oprah’s Book Club, Reese Witherstone’s Book Club or ask around to find other book choices for your group. Mix up the genres so that all members of the club are interested.
  5. Vote – We use polls on our Facebook page to choose our books, change meeting dates due to weather issues, etc.
  6. Discussion – The key to a great book club is a great discussion! You can often find suggested discussion questions at the end of the book. If the book you chose doesn’t have questions at the back, try a search online and you’ll usually find some there.
6 Steps to Start a Book Club | | #bookclub #reading #girlsnightout #readingrecommendations #whattoread #howtostartabookclub

Top 10 Things We’ve Learned

  1. Just because you’ve enjoyed other books by an author doesn’t mean their newest release is going to be a winner. You may want to wait until a book has been out for a few months before choosing it for the club.
  2. Not everyone will like every book, but you can still get some great discussions. Sometimes books that are disliked can spark the best ones!
  3. A lot of books that are recommended for book clubs are controversial.
  4. It’s okay to pick a light read for book club! If fitting in time to read is a challenge, it’s nice to have an easy book sometimes.
  5. It’s important to get together with your friends and it’s okay if more time gets spent talking about things other than the book (especially on those “easy read” months!).
  6. Figure out what you’re going to read for a few months in advance so members can read ahead if they have time.
  7. Meeting at a coffee shop, wine bar, or restaurant takes the burden of entertaining (and cleaning!) off of everyone.
  8. Finding a date that works 100% of the time for 100% of the people isn’t ever going to happen. Just pick a date, put it on the calendar, and anyone who can show up will make it.
  9. Take turns leading the discussions. You may not get through every question and that’s okay!
  10. Make sure to send out a reminder about a week before the next meeting to improve turnout.

We hope this helps you to start your very own book club! Be sure to let us know in the comments if you have any questions or tips of your own to share. We LOVE to hear from you!

The Books We Read In 2018

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6 Steps to Start a Book Club | | #bookclub #reading #girlsnightout #readingrecommendations #whattoread #howtostartabookclub