We came across a wonderful article this week, which we thought readers of the Jane Austen News might like to read. It was an article all about setting up your own book club.
Here are the four key steps to setting up a book club.
First, find your book club members
When you look for book club members, “look in the areas of your life that feel most natural to you”. Maybe ask your friends who you know love to read, or work mates who you’d like to spend more time with.
However, the other option is to purposely look for a wide range of perspectives – so you can see different ideas and challenge your own way of thinking. If this sounds like your kind of club, you may want to look for a spread of ages, genders, and ethnicities. How to find members who are different from you? Maybe post a note on the message board of your library or book store.
Second, identify your book club’s purpose
It might sound obvious, but just check when you set up your book club that you all want the same thing from it. Is the focus going to be on socialising? Or is it all about the deep discussion of high brow literature? In order to make sure your new group is all on the same page, take the time to discuss what you want to get out of regular club gatherings before your first official meeting.
There’s the typical friends gathering at someone’s apartment and having cheese and wine. But oftentimes, people will be frustrated with them, because they just turn into a social event rather than focusing on the book.
Next, decide how to choose your books
A key part of a book club is, naturally, the books you read. Deciding what books to read can be done a few ways.
Books that work well are ones which allow you to reflect on human nature and on the self. Pacing and character are also important. If in doubt, have a look at recommendation lists like the New York Times bestseller list. That or have a look at particular genres if you need inspiration. It’s also worth rotating who picks the book each fortnight (or month, or so on – depending on often you meet).
Finally, work out where and when to meet
If you all read incredibly quickly, then a meeting once a fortnight could be an option, but generally meeting once a month is a good idea as it will give everyone enough time to comfortably read the book and take it in.
As for where, you could meet at someone’s house, but if you’d rather not have to worry about playing host, then a neutral space like a cafe, bookstore, or library is just as good. The main thing is to find somewhere where you all feel comfortable and which has enough space and isn’t too loud.
The original article, which this article summarises, can be found here.
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