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January 14, 2010

Advice for New Book Clubs, Part 4

Posted by webmaster
Book club members offer advice on formulating a game plan, not getting too personal during discussions, why it's important to agree to disagree and more.

Previous Posts:
Advice for New Book Clubs
Advice for New Book Clubs, Part 2
Advice for New Book Clubs, Part 3

It's Okay to Argue
"Agree to disagree. Not everyone is going to 'love' the same book, and it makes for a much more interesting discussion if you're not all in total agreement. The ladies of my book club still argue the merits of books gone by in a fun and friendly manner." ---Karen Ferguson

Stay Organized
"Our book club, Local Bookies, is just over a year old. Here are the things we have learned. Appoint the strongest organizer as the club 'librarian.' You need a strong organizer for contacting members, keeping track of book lists, member information, birthdays, etc. Make lists of books along with synopses so the group can always have something to choose from.

Our group decided to meet the first Tuesday of each month. Try to keep same day and time, as it helps members remember when planning the rest of their family/work time. Where you meet is not nearly as important as whom you meet with. Be sure to bring a reading group guide just in case you all get way off on other items of interest; this reference will help bring the group back to the book. Ask your members for suggestions for the following meeting. Once our group each picked a biography and then gave the group a report on our choice, and it was one of our best meetings. Another time, we choose a book which was coming out as a movie and our meeting was going out to the movies.

There is no right or wrong way to have a successful book club. The main ingredient is the members --- if that mix is right the club will be a success." ---Deborah Griffin

Don't Get Too Personal
"My advice for new book clubs would be to stick to the book. It's so easy to get off the subject. We try very hard to discuss the book! We have refreshments first and chit chat, getting caught up with each other and then we do our discussion. It is always interesting to add personal comments that relate to the book, but we do have to be cautious to not 'solve' personal problems instead of discussing our book. That is probably the most difficult part of facilitating a book discussion. We have gotten better, but we still have a tendency to get too personal." --- Juanita Adamson, West Salem Book Discussion Group

Be Respectful, and Diversify Selections
"Though our book group is informal and fun, we did set up 'rules' in the beginning and modified them as the group grew. It is important for etiquette that the speaker has the floor and people respect that instead of having mini-side conversations. We also tried to diversify with our books, choosing topics we would not normally read. The person who selected the book is the moderator and reads the questions. This helped take the burden off the one who started the book club. We are now up to 12 people and decided that for us this is big enough --- so no more members. We meet every four to six weeks, and at the end of the evening we take a photo with our group and the host holding the book. We also keep a list of what we have read and a rating system." ---Deb B., PJB Book Club (Pajama Book Club)

Designate a Meeting Day
Our book club has been together for nine years. Two things I would tell a new group --- pick the day of the month you are meeting and stick with it. There will be times when not eveyone can make it. Don't change the date to meet everyone's schedules. We meet the third Monday of the month unless it falls on or near a holiday and then it's usually the fourth Monday. This has worked for us for nine, going on 10 years!

The second thing is to keep it simple with food and drinks. That way the hostess isn't overwhelmed and can enjoy the night, too. We stick with wine, cheese, fruit, maybe a dip or two, some chocolate and more wine!" --- Jennifer Geraghty

For Those Who Don't Finish the Book Selection...
"While you don't need a lot of rules, I would suggest that if a person chooses not to read a book yet still wants to come to the meeting that they listen quietly and not have what I call side bar conversations.

I also think it helps if someone has read the book they are recommending, especially after the group is established. Groups get to know what they enjoy or are interested in reading.

It really helps to have a leader who keeps the group on task especially if it is a group of friends. It's very easy to get side tracked." ---Karna Bramble