In this final part of Ultimate Guide to Book Clubs, I will be answering some common FAQs about joining a book club…
If you need any persuasion that you should 100% get involved, read Part 1: 7 Reasons to Join a Book Club here!
For help with searching out a book club to join, read Part 2: Finding Your Perfect Book Club here!
What actually happens at a book club meeting?
The answer is that it varies hugely depending on which book club you go to, but a general structure might look something like this:
- Introductions to help learn names and get to know everyone
- Discussion – this may take the form of pre-prepared discussion questions or more casual conversation
- Choosing book(s) for the next meeting
- Admin – working out future dates and plans for any social events etc…
- Eating/drinking will usually be thrown in somewhere too!
Top tip: If you’re confused in any way about how the book club is run, ask someone to point out the organiser who will be able to help!
Do I need to like classic/scholarly literature to join a book club?
Definitely not! A common misconception is that they only read high-brow literature written 100+ years ago. If you enjoy your Austen, Dickens and Shakespeare, there are plenty that do read these books and help each other to get the most out of them. However, many other groups are tailored to more “modern” genres such as YA or fantasy/sci-fi if this is more your thing!
What if I can’t think of anything to say about the book?
This is one reason why people often feel nervous about attending a book club. It’s important to remember that the other members aren’t some higher species of intellectual being – they may just be more confident at the meeting due to experience!
The wonderful thing about books is that everyone thinks about them differently, so you get so many diverse opinions. Every single one is valid and a good book group will acknowledge this to create a supportive, inclusive atmosphere.
Top tip: If the book club you join uses discussion questions, ask if they can be published beforehand via email/social networks. That way you can give yourself a bit of time to mull them over!
Which book shall I recommend to the other members?
Many people worry about which book they should recommend – what titles will make them look serious about reading, or, on the other hand, feel embarrassed about their tastes? However, embracing your own preferences without worrying too much over what others think is the best way to get your enthusiasm across!
Which book could you rave about for hours to a friend or family member? That’s a good starting point – although, if your book club has a specific genre/theme, obviously try to stick to that as much as you can.
What if I don’t want to read the book that’s been chosen?
You aren’t expected to go to every meeting, but before you dismiss the book of the month completely, try to be open-minded. Being part of a book club has encouraged me to read (and love) books I never would have picked up otherwise, making my reading life so much more varied. We’ve read everything together from The Count of Monte Cristo to Orange is the New Black!
Top tip: Spend time finding a book club that aligns as closely as possible with your own tastes, so you’re more likely to feel enthusiastic about reading the titles each month.
I’m worried that I won’t have time to finish the book?
It’s usually best to try and finish the book before the meeting, for a few reasons:
- You’ll be able to understand everything happening in the conversations
- The ending might change your perspective on the rest of the story
- Spoilers WILL happen!!!
However, we all have “real” lives outside of pages to lead as well and sometimes this just gets in the way! If you’re a busy bee, look for a casual book club where people are more likely to turn up infrequently or having only read the title partially.
Do you have any other questions about joining a book club? Feel free to ask away in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!