Khoollect tips: how to start a book club

At times the joys of discovering a great (or ghastly!) novel can be quashed by the inability to find other people to share your thoughts with and discuss. But, as part of a book club, you can find your tribe — a group of book-loving humans ready to get into the nitty gritty of a narrative. But how does one form a book club and how should a book club meet-up run? Here’s our tips for getting your gang of book worms together:

Finding your tribe

First, you’ll want to gather together a group of like-minded, bookish folk — people that will generally finish the books you choose and who love to read. It’s good to round up people you know, but it’s a great idea to include some people outside of your usual circle to get a wider range of opinions and book suggestions in the mix.

You can call on friends of friends, put the word out on social media, or ask your favourite local bookstore whether they host book clubs you can attend. Ideally, you’ll have ten or fewer people to align dates with. A small group is easier to organise!

Choosing a book

For the first book club, when you’re not yet familiar with everyone’s tastes, it’s simplest to pick a brand new release that’s been getting attention. You can check out Goodreads for ideas, or see what’s hot online. (Hint: check out Khoollect’s resident book reviewer Caroline’s recent reviews!) It’s okay if some people hate the chosen book — it’s all about the discussion!

Then, at the end of your first book club, you can get some suggestions from others. What have they been wanting to read? What classics would they like to revisit? Ultimately, one person should make the final decision, so you can get the next book club session happening! It’s helpful to have a dedicated leader to pave the way.

Hosting the book club event

Once you’ve got your group together, you’ll need to set a date at least a few weeks (preferable a month or more) in advance. This will give your group time to purchase or borrow the book, and plenty of time to read it.

If you like, you can find readers notes about popular books online to begin your chat, or you can just let the discussion flow. You could have some questions in mind, or notes from a review, to prompt discussion — this can be helpful if many of your members haven’t met before. For future meet-ups, it’s a good idea to rotate your club to different locations (perhaps members’ homes) in areas that are easily accessible.

You can ask people to bring a plate, to prevent the host from having to prepare too much, and just put out a few snacks and drinks for people if you have the time. As long as you have a spot for people to sit and some ideas about the book, you’re all set! Remember, the conversation will eventually move on to other things, but it’s all about the social aspect. Just make sure you set a date for the next one and vote on a second book while everyone’s together.

Following up

Within a few days of your first club meet-up, it’s important to send out a follow-up email or message, letting people know the date of the next club meeting and the book they’ll need to start reading next. It may be tricky to plan meet-ups over the festive period, but generally one book every one or two months is adequate reading for busy people. If you’re having trouble finishing books on time, consider spacing out your meet-ups, or choosing smaller books and novellas. To shake things up, you could also attend literary festivals or events with your new squad.

What books are you reading right now?

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Sonya Gellert

Sonya Gellert is a contributing writer and associate editor for Khoollect. She lives in Sydney....

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Catch up on Caroline’s book reviews and see our round-up of outdoor-inspired reads.