Start your own book club

Use these tips to make your book club fresh, fun and informative

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A book club is a great way to interact with people who share your love of reading. It’s also a fun and easy way to make new friends. Here are our tips on how to get the book club-ball rolling in your neighbourhood.

1) Post notices in your local bookstore, around your office, in the library and in your local newspaper.

2) Look beyond your friends! Look for a diverse group of people who will bring interesting insight and viewpoints to your book discussions.

3) Ask prospective book club members what their expectations are and what type of books they would like to read.

4) Let each member get a chance to pick a book of their choice. It will expand your bookshelf and get you to read books you may have never chosen.

5) Make your meetings fun! Have a potluck dinner, sip martinis, or provide coffee and treats.

Have a theme night

Hosting a book club party can be more than just talking about books! Next time it’s your turn to host why not throw a themed party? Here are some great tips on how to get inspiration from your books.

1) Set the theme of your party right from the start
If your book is a real tear-jerker why not mail out handmade invitations written on tissue paper? Or select free Evite cards according to theme and email them out to all your guests.

2) Get your guests involved
Perhaps ask other book club members to arrive dressed up as their favourite character. Then take turns guessing who everyone is.

3) Decorate with books
You can do this inexpensively by borrowing books from the library (try and pick books from the author you are reading) and place them around the room you will be in.

4) Get inspired!
Pull inspiration from your chosen book itself. If your book is a sappy love-story, decorate the room with flowers and hearts. For a mystery, keep the lights low and use candles as your guide. Reading a crime novel? Why not decorate with candlesticks, wrenches and ropes. The fun is in the decorating!

5) Try to theme your night according to the region your book is set in.
This month’s selection about life the South? Try serving fried chicken, grits, and pecan pie. Get cooking.

6) Make the room as comfortable as you can
Throw extra pillow on the floor for lounging. Add a couple warm blankets to chair. Make your environment warm and friendly.

Get the discussion started

Your group has finally picked this month’s must-read and you’re dying to dig right in. Whether you’re the leader of your group or simply a participant, reading a book for discussion differs from reading simply for pleasure. Try our tips and tricks on how to make the most of your book.

1) Imagine yourself as a character in the story Ask yourself questions on how you would feel if you were the antagonist or protagonist. Search for meaning on why the characters of your novel are reacting a certain way and what you would do in the same situation. Do you share the same values? Compare them to people in your own life. Think about their strengths and weaknesses. This will help you imagine yourself in the story allowing you to relate yourself to the characters in the book.

2) Analyze the theme. Is the theme of the novel cut and dry? Or is the meaning hidden? Ask yourself what point the author is trying to get across and how that relates to the overall picture of the book.

3) Make notes. Don’t be scared to make notes as you read. Jot down your feelings to the characters, the theme, the setting, and how it makes you feel at a certain point. You will surprise yourself when you go back and re-read your notes. It may even give you insight into your own life and will certainly save you time when searching for passages later for discussion.

4) Get to know the landscape. Do the setting and location change according to mood or tone? Is there meaning to a certain locale? Analyze why specific discussions happen in certain settings. It may help you analyze the characters and the theme of the book.

5) Don’t be afraid. Remember that just because a book was chosen – even if you did the picking – doesn’t mean you have to like it. Don’t be afraid to criticize the book however be prepared to justify your answers. What was it that you didn’t like? The characters? The style? The setting? Discuss!

6) Come prepared. Now that you’ve taken the time to read thoroughly and make notes you should be prepared to not only take part in your book club meeting but lead the discussion. Come prepared with at least 10 questions that you want to ask the other members in your group.