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5 things to do when starting your own book club

Everyone loves a good book, and everyone loves talking with friends. So, why not grab a few friends and start a book club!? Here are a few things you should do when starting your own.

1. Decide on a book genre/topic the majority of your club is interested in
Maybe try out a nonfiction book one meeting, or even a graphic novel! There are so many different genres of books to choose from and main subjects within those. Brainstorm topic ideas, or have club members anonymously write down a few key topics he/she would like to discuss or learn more about. Possibilities could include social issues, dystopian settings, racism, futuristic science fiction, feminism or even books about going green. If the club has concurred on a topic that everyone can have meaningful conversation about, then meetings will more engaging and appealing. 

2. Pick an interesting book for everyone
This is the most important. Go around in a circle, and have every club member share their book ideas. Keep narrowing down the selection until your club is content with one book. If other members are extra-committed and have time, you could even read two books a month! If members are keen on having more meetings, consider picking a book that has a movie. That way, the club can read the book, debate/discuss and then watch the movie together, complete with popcorn and drinks. If you are able to find a book with a movie that nobody has read or seen, this can be a really fun experience to hear everyone’s fresh feelings (and possibly anger) over the movie adaption. 

3. Find a good place to meet
Book clubs during lunch work well because members don't have to worry about transportation. If you’re having school lunch meetings, find a quiet table or room where everyone can eat and talk about the book. After school meetings at a person’s house work well if members are willing to make the extra commitment. Also, you aren’t limited by the short lunch period to have a good and productive conversation. If you can’t find a suitable location, ask at your local, public library to see if someone there would be interested in hosting the club. This means an even greater selection of books to choose from and probably multiple copies as well. To make everyone feel relaxed and safe to share their thoughts and opinions, bring a few bites for everyone to snack on during meetings like brownies or cookies. This always gets members to open up! 

4. Decide on a good timeframe
It’s the absolute worst when you have a book club, and half the club comes to the meeting without having read or finished the book. Depending on how much free time the members of your club have, pick a suitable and generous time period between the first meeting where you agree on a book and the second meeting when you discuss the book. If you’re in middle school or have more free time to read for pleasure, maybe have your book club read one book a month. If you’re in high school or have less free time to read for pleasure, maybe have your book club read one book every few months. To make sure everyone is on the same page, create a group chat and check in occasionally to ensure that other club members are moving through the book. If you think you don’t have enough time to finish the book, find places to sneak a little reading in, like waiting for your mom to pick you up, on the bus ride home or before tennis practice. 

5. Ask a parent or teacher to be the club advisor/facilitator
Find someone that is as passionate about reading as you are and is willing to make the time. If you’re having club meetings at school, maybe ask the school librarian! He or she probably has many book ideas and knows where everything is. If you’re having club meetings at home, ask a parent to host and facilitate. Or, if a different member is hosting every meeting, then have a different parent facilitate every time. That way, you can get a different opinion on things because everyone brings a unique perspective to the conversation. Whoever you choose to be your advisor, ensure that it is someone you and the other club members feel comfortable around to speak opinions and talk about the book. 

Once you’ve established these five things, you are ready to start reading! If you are good about checking in with club members and maintaining lively and stimulating conversation, your book club will be super fun and compelling!

Have you ever been in a book club before? Are you interested in starting your own? Let us know in the comments!

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by Amrita Bhasin | 9/29/2017
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