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So You Want to Start a Book Club

By Edited Nov 30, 2014 0 0

I have been a member of a wonderful Book Club for 20 years. We currently have ten members although we have had as many as sixteen and as few as eight. Our group has no name; we simply refer to ourselves as Book Club.  I believe our gathering is a model which could be followed if you are planning to start a similar organization.

We meet once a month at each other’s houses. The hostess has cold drinks and light snacks which the members enjoy during the discussion. After the discussion, we are served coffee or tea and a nice dessert. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. on the fourth Monday of the month and ends by 10 p.m.                    


Open Book

                                                                             Open Book

Our August meeting is held at a lovely lakeside cottage owned by one of our members. It consists of a pot-luck luncheon to which each of us brings a favorite dish. At this gathering, we prepare our agenda for the coming year. Each member makes two or three suggestions , and the entire membership decides which of those suggestions will make our list. Each member succeeds in having  one of her choices approved and then becomes the facilitator for the evening when it is being discussed. At the meeting, she will usually give the author’s background, other publications of the author, and promotes the discussion of the pros and cons of this particular publication. The facilitator is never the hostess for that evening; the two positions are separate.

We try to adhere strictly to the rule that if you have not read the work, you should not enter the discussion for that evening. This is designed to prevent the discussion from veering off in another direction. This rule is not always kept. Also, it is not considered good manners to monopolize the discussion. This is an ongoing problem in our Book Club, unfortunately.

Members can obtain the current month’s choice from the public library, from Amazon, or another outlet. The rule is that the paperback version should be available for the discussion of that book. This will save money if the member chooses to buy a copy. The paperback version is usually available one year after the publication of the hardback version.

For our December meeting, we choose an up-scale restaurant for our meeting place rather than a member’s home. At this meeting, each of us brings a book to exchange with another. We also bring a donated gift of socks and/or underwear which are given to a charitable organization for distribution.

Book Club Circle

                                                                       Book Club Circle

Over the years, the following works have been mentioned as being favorites:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak                                                                                                          

Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen                                                                                                    

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier                                                                                       

The Help by Kathryn Stockton                                                                                                        

Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland                                                                             

Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross                                                                                                      

The Reader by Bernard Schlink                                                                                                              

The Red Tent by Anita Diamante                                                                                                        

Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi                                                                                           

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

The following books are the least favored by our Book Club:

Frozen Rabbi by Steve Stern                                                                                                                    

City of Woman by David R. Gilham

My Book Club is one of my favorite pastimes; it has given me untold pleasure for the past 20 years.  Bring your friends together to experience the benefits that such an organization will offer.   

How to Start a Book Club



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