Welcome to my new feature Ultimate Guide to Book Clubs, in which I will do my best to answer all of the questions you may have about joining a book club. Why take part? Where can you find one? What actually happens at a book club meeting? Do you have to be a scholar of high-brow literature to be welcome?
If you need any persuasion that you should 100% get involved, read Part 1: 7 Reasons to Join a Book Club here!
This week I will:
- Suggest some ways to find book clubs in your area
- Give you some things to consider when looking for a book club to suit you
Finding Book Clubs in Your Area
Just a quick Google search for book clubs in your local area can be a great starting point.
Many book clubs have their own Facebook page where meetings and other social events are organised.
Meetup is a fantastic website and free app aiming to help people living in cities connect and make friends. If this applies to you it’s definitely worth checking out, as book clubs of all shapes and sizes abound!
Word of Mouth
Ask around to see if any friends or colleagues are in a book club.
Top tip: going to your first meeting with a friend is a great way to feel more confident – join together or tag along with someone you know who’s already in a book club!
Have a look around your local bookshop or community space (e.g. a town hall) as many will advertise their own book club.
Factors to Consider
The wonderful thing about book clubs is that no two are the same. So, it’s worth considering what’s important to you – that way you can find a group perfectly suited to the way you like to read and discuss books.
1.Number of people
Would you prefer the intimacy of a smaller group or a large, dynamic discussion?
Pubs and cafés are convenient but can get crowded and noisy, while other book clubs are hosted at member’s houses. If this is the case, make sure to check if there’s a rota and whether you’ll be expected to host at some point!
3. Who else attends the book club
You may (or may not) want to find a group attended by people of similar age or interests to you.
Some book clubs are very general and open to all, whereas others are geared more specifically towards certain groups such as retired people or young entrepreneurs.
4. Type of books read
If you are interested in a specific genre it’s more than likely there’s a book club out there with people who share your enthusiasm, whether it’s for fantasy novels or feminist literature.
5. Number of books read
I was attracted to my book group because it’s large size means we can each pick from a list of 3 books each month, then split off into these separate three groups at the meeting to discuss whichever book we read. I really like the added freedom of choice this gives me, but you may prefer a smaller group that focusses on just one book.
6. System for choosing books
There are so many different systems used to select the next book to be read including polls, picking recommendations from a hat, or a rota that lets members take it in turns to choose.
The system a book club uses for choosing their books is important in determining how much say you have on the line-up.
Some book clubs have a formal structure and discussion questions, while others are a much more casual chat.
Are you in a book club? What is your favourite thing about it? Let me know in the comments – I would love to hear from you!