How To Host A Book Club In The New Year

by Sadie Trombetta

It's already halfway into January — do you know how your New Year's resolution is going? If you promised yourself you would read more in 2017, the best way of accomplishing your goal is learning how to host a book club in the new year. With the right group of fellow readers and the extra pressure of regular deadlines, your finished book list has the possibility to have some serious growth this year.

If you've ever been in a book group, than you know how fun they can be. A great way of engaging with literature, book clubs are the perfect opportunity to bring together your favorite things: reading, friends, food, and drink. But if you've never been a part of an official club, then you might not have any idea where to start when it comes to creating your own. How do you recruit members? Where do you get your reading suggestions from? How regularly should you meet, and where?

There are a million little details to work out when starting your own book club, but the most important one to keep in mind is this: anyone, anywhere, can start their own. With a little bit of work, some collaboration, and dash of creativity, 2017 can be the year you finally launch your own reading group and actually keep your resolution of reading more.

Not sure where to start? Here are nine tips on how to start your own book club in the new year.


Pick a general club theme.

When you first start thinking about your book club, an important question to ask yourself is, "What will my group's theme be?" Will your club focus on a specific genre of books, strive to include diverse titles, focus only on modern fiction, or maybe be centered around local authors? Finding a common thread to tie each of your meetings together will help you get into a good flow with your club members, and make it easier to select books in the future.


Decide on a reasonable reading schedule.

The next piece of the puzzle is figuring out how often your club will meet. While it would be nice to get together every week and discuss literature, it's just not practical to ask members to read a novel in seven days when they also have work, school, and family obligations to worry about. When coming up with your reading schedule, keep in mind how hectic life already is, and remember that book club is supposed to be a fun pastime, not hard work.


Set ground rules.

I know what you're thinking: "Rules, for book club? I thought this was supposed to be fun!" But in addition to deciding how regularly your members will be expected to finish a book and attend meetings, there are other rules that must go into play in order to have a successfully run club. Decide if you're going to be the kind of club that is designed around drinking wine and casual conversation, or if you prefer a more structured set up with predetermined questions and an official meeting agenda. There's no wrong way to run a book club, but no matter how you decide to operate yours, make sure all of your members are aware of the "rules" and are all on the same page.


Choose a meeting location.

Do you want to have a book club that meets at your home, or would you rather take things out of the house? Deciding where your book club meets should come early on in the process, as it will help you determine how many people your club can reasonably accommodate (if you're running it out of your apartment, a 30-person group might be a bit excessive) and how often you want to meet up.


Recruit your friends to join.

Once you have the general groundwork laid for your dream book club, it's time to invite others to join you. Reach out to friends and family who share your love of reading, and start asking for their input about what would make the best reading experience for your newly formed group.


Open your club up to strangers.

Starting a book club is a great way to increase the amount of books you read each month, but it's also a wonderful way to meet new people. With that in mind when you start your own book club, don't just invite friends and readers you know, but rather open your club up to strangers who share your passion for reading. Whether you ask each of your friends to recruit someone new, reach out to acquaintances at work, or even post your book club online for people to find, bringing new and diverse voices to your club will only make the discussions better, not to mention make your social life more vibrant.


Decide on your first book.

Once you have you have gathered all of your members, chosen a regular reading schedule, and selected your meeting spot, it's time for the most important task of all: selecting your first book. Keeping your club's theme in mind, ask members to submit reading suggestions, and after gathering everyone's contributions, make a master list you can vote on as a group. Hang on to the list of books that didn't win, and use them for later month's selections, or start all over again each meeting with fresh reading suggestions.


Start a collection of reading questions.

As the moderator in charge of book club, it will be your job to get the conversation going at the start of each meeting. As you read each book, start drafting interesting questions that will spark discussions with your members. Not sure where to start? Start off with general book club questions that can work for any reading selection, and grow your library of specified discussion topics from there.


Reward your fellow readers.

Again, book club is supposed to be a fun activity, but it does require some time and effort on the parts of its members. Since everyone who joins is committing their free time to your organized activity, make sure you thank them (and yourself) for a job well done. Have sweet treats, special drinks, or little bookish gifts like bookmarks for your fellow readers at each meeting, and be sure to praise those members who never show up without finishing the book.