Here is a little secret: I love visiting with book groups. Ladies, I would be delighted to visit your book group via Skype. Email me at CathyLamb91@gmail.com and we’ll set up a time.
Ten Tips for Brilliant Book Clubs
- Be Inclusive. Invite your friends. Invite people you would like to be friends with. Invite the woman who just moved to your neighborhood and needs friends. Invite someone who seems flat-out cool and interesting and funny who you don’t know that well at all. Invite someone in her twenties, invite someone in her eighties. Trust me, a broad range of ages does nothing but make your book club better.
- Rotate Hosts. Have dinner together. It doesn’t have to be fancy. In fact, take out should be encouraged and allowed! Spaghetti is slurpy and delicious, homemade pizza is cheesy and scrumptious.
- Serve Dessert. Duh. Of course. Always have dessert. Something chocolaty is my favorite but what about root beer floats? What about a berry pie? What about ice cream sundaes? Just tell everyone you removed all the calories from the desserts before you served them.
- Wine. Yes.
- Choose Books Together. It can be very intimidating for some members to choose a book and present it. They’ll worry. They’ll be angsty: Will people like it or not? Will the discussion be a dud? SO. Here is an easy way to fix that. In December, choose your books for the next year. Everyone bring a few. If the book is not bought yet, write the title and author on a piece of paper, and a short summary. Then vote on what everyone wants to read. Everyone, obviously, chooses 12 books. The 12 books with the highest votes are the books your club is reading. The host runs the discussion and hosts the dinner/dessert. Did I say wine already?
- Choose the Right Kind of Book. Some books are excellent for book club because they offer opportunities for discussion and debate (hopefully a friendly discussion/debate with no chairs or flatware thrown at each other) and, to put it bluntly, other books may be the best book on the planet, but there’s not much to discuss. So look for books that will offer some literary meat to plow/think through.
- Structure Your Book Club. One book club I went to gave everyone ONE MINUTE to sum up their month. That was it. That keeps people up to date on each other’s lives, but doesn’t slow the group.
- Time Frame. If you start at 7:00, socialize until 7:15. Then do the one-minute summary and jump into the book, with the host leading.
- Discuss the Book for 45 minutes. Or so. Use the discussion questions in the back. The host should make sure everyone has an opportunity to talk. That might involve some gentle prodding so everyone gets a turn. And, it might be that the host says to the person who won’t stop talking and talking, “Let’s hear from Helen now.” Yes, those social interactions in book club can get tricky!
- Join multiple clubs. I have met many women who belong to multiple book clubs. Especially if you eat books for breakfast, go for it. More books, more friends, more fun.
And remember: I am ALWAYS available to visit your book club. Skype, here we come!