by Staff Writer
Book clubs are a great way to indulge your reading habit while making long-lasting friendships. Furthermore, book clubs serve as an excellent venue for discussing and sharing your thoughts on books. Getting different opinions from a book club discussion can supplement or change your own view of the book and introduce you to new viewpoints or thoughts that you may not have come up with on your own. Anyone can be an integral part of a book club; you don't have to be a literary critic or professor to contribute. It's easy to start a book club; just follow these steps.
Decide what kind of book club you would like to start. Many book clubs focus on literary classics, while others cater to specific genre interests, such as sci-fi or romantic books. Start a club that will read books that interest you. You could make a very social book club that discusses matters not directly related to the book itself or a strictly academic book club that sticks to discussions of the plot, characters and themes of the book.
Determine the location and time of your book club meetings. If you wish to start an online book club that allows members to contribute whenever they are able, you'll need to decide on a mode of contact, such as email lists, Internet forums or online chat rooms. On the other hand, if you want to start a face-to-face book club, you'll need to organize a regular meeting place. Consider how many people the space can accommodate and decide on a good time for most people to meet.
Advertise your book club. You could tell your friends and family, put up flyers in your local library or workplace, and even post on a local community website such as Craigslist or Facebook. Be sure to include the details on the kind of books you'll be reading and the proposed time, place and frequency of meetings.
Be prepared. Try to gauge the response to your book club so you can properly prepare. Make sure there is enough space for all members. You may also want to arrange food and drinks for the meeting, especially if it is to be held in your home.
Set ground rules with members. During the first meeting, discuss what types of books will you focus on and how long you will spend to read each one. Try to rally everyone together and select your first book. You could take a vote or rotate the decision among members. You may also want to exchange contact information with everyone so you can stay in touch.
Stay on top of the reading. In between meetings, make sure you read at least a chunk of the current book. Being a part of the book club means being able to contribute. Even if you don't finish the whole section or book within the allotted time, you can still contribute insights or opinions on what you have read. You may want to take notes as you read to remind you of points or topics that you'd like to discuss in the next meeting.
Allow for change. Develop your book club as time moves on, catering it to your members' specific needs.
If some members are fast readers, suggest that they read other books by the same author, which keeps them busy while staying on track with the same theme.