How to Start a Book Club that People will Actually want to Join

How to Start a Book Club that People will Actually want to Join

“Rules are important, but no matter what the rules say (or what you read on other blogs) book clubs are about reading and having fun.

You want to start a book club?! Amazing!

I’ve been in quite a few book clubs in my day and am currently organising two different groups (one with my close friends, and one with a group of co-workers) and have learned a few things about how to start up a book club and how to make sure your reading group is successful early on (as well as what NOT to do when starting a book club).

What to expect?

In this article we’ll talk about how to start a book club that people will actually enjoy, including the things you need to keep in mind when starting any kind of reading group or book club, as well as some of the common pitfalls to avoid when organising.

How do you start a book club and how do you make sure your book club is successful?

First things first, while the rules and ideas below will give your book club a good chance at succeeding, no matter what the rules say (or what you read on other blogs) book clubs are foremost about reading and having fun. It’s about what the members want to do and what they enjoy. Don’t take it too seriously. 

Now, that being said, on to the tips!

Pick the friends

This is everything. You can’t have a book club by yourself. Well…you can, but people look at you funny when you get in arguments with yourself at the local library. 

The key here is to start with a core of people that are as reliable as possible. For the first couple of months it’s all about getting into a rhythm. People are busy, life gets in the way and everyone loves leaving things (like reading your book) to the last minute. You need at least one person who is going to read the book and show up to the meeting with you. Try to keep the group smallish at first (think 5-6 people MAX) and make sure there are a couple of people in there who you can trust to show up on book club day!

Pick the books

Now you’ve got your crew, you need something to read. For the first month, I suggest picking a book for the group yourself and just telling people that, that’s what you’ll be reading. If you can get everyone together to pick a book together, fine (or you can handle it through an email thread), but that often leads to delaying the first meeting. Pick your own book to start. People will follow. 

In subsequent meetings, I like to ask people to bring one book recommendation each and then we discuss each book at the end of the meeting and vote (if you do this, remember to leave time for it!). As the organiser, make sure you bring a couple of options yourself just in case some of the other members forget. Like I said, getting your book club going is all about rhythm. You don’t want to have to miss a week while people discuss what book they want.

Pick the location

Where’s the best place to host a book club? There are a lot of potential answers: cafes, libraries, your house, but we all know the real answer.  The bar.  Ideally a place where you can spend some time, is quiet enough that you can hear each other, but also noisy enough to drown out and arguments you might be having about the meaning of the Scrabble game in the Handmaid’s Tale. Bonus points for having your event on an off-night when the drinks are cheaper!

Pick the time

Book ahead. Some people will always bail at the last minute, but you want to give them enough notice so that they don’t have a good excuse. 

If some people can’t make it, it’s up to you if you want to reschedule or not, but be aware, if you reschedule every time one person can’t make it, you’ll never have your book club. Set the date far enough in the future that people don’t have an excuse, then have your event, rain or shine.

Pick the next book

As mentioned before. I’m a big fan of democracy (when it comes to picking new books for my book club). This means fewer complaints (usually) and lets people get a bit more engaged with the new book and maybe get a bit of background before they start reading it.

So set the rules for how the next book will be picked ahead of the meeting and make sure everyone knows what the rules are. I like to “force” people to bring at least one book recommendation and then vote, but I always have a couple of extra book ideas in my back pocket in case people don’t bring anything.

Note: I recommend leaning towards shorter books at first. For the same reasons I keep mentioning, you want to give you book club every chance at success. Shorter books let people make sure they have time to read it and let you get off on the right foot. Build on the momentum of two or three successful meetings and work up to longer books.

Conclusion

There! Now you know how to organize and host a book club! Next in the series, I’ll give you some tips on how to guide conversation during the actual meeting, in case it stalls out (hint: it will).

Remember, at the end of the day, book clubs are pretty low risk. Worst case scenario you read a book. That’s what we call a win-win.

Until next time! 

If you have any questions about this article or want to chat about it, send us an email at admin@bookspry.com

Looking for some inspiration?!

The bookspry team wrote a book of writing prompts and it’s available now! Weird and wacky prompts to bust you out of that rut…or to distract you from your real work.

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© 2019 bookspry. All rights reserved.

What to read for Hallowe’en 2020

What to read for Hallowe’en 2020

Halloween Lockdown or Not – What to Read this Spooky Season

Hallowe’en is going to look a little different this year, and I know what you’re asking yourself “Why is he spelling halloween like that!??!”. Well, first of all, that’s how you spell Hallowe’en, but more importantly, let’s focus on the important thing here: Spooky Tales!!!

Hopefully you’re allowed to have a somewhat normal Hallowe’en, but if you aren’t, why not spend some of that extra time getting spooked!  We had a timeless (and I’m sur highly celebrated) Hallowe’en reading list a couple of years ago that still stands up, but we’re here to add to that venerable tradition. 

So…here is bookspry’s Hallowe’en Books to Read (and not).

The Troop by Nick Cutter

Don’t read this book. It’s not spooky or scary or (if we’re being honest) scary at all. I hate to say this about a fellow Canadian, but man, that’s not how they talk in PEI!!! 

I’ll try Nick Cutter again because I like to see a Canadian boy do good, but this is a miss. 

0 out of 5 Booooooksrpys.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Ever been to a Scholastic book fair? I f**king loved this book. I saved up and brought my little pencil and order form to my parents and was like “guys, this book is too spooky, I probably can’t handle it, but I need to know.”. My parents called my bluff. 

Bonus points for getting the original cover with the weird-skull-head-man-smoking-a-pipe-for-some-reason.

4 out of 5 Booooooksrpys.

The Shining by Stephen King

Have some extra time these days? The Shining doesn’t compare to the The Stand’s 800+ pages, but it’s a solid 400 pages of classic spookiness! I can’t possible make a Hallowe’en list without mentioning Stephen King at least once. 

4 out of 5 Booooooksrpys.

Lovecraft Collection

by H.P. Lovecraft

Lovecraft is not without his controversy, but he’s also not without his incredibly spooky stories. The Colour out of Space is not only on Netflix these days, but is also great because it spells “colour” correctly (and is also a really fun story). 

H.P. Lovecraft is a legit treasure trove of crazy, spooky, fun seasonal stories. Try to go for a cheap book of short stories if you’re just looking to get a taste. Otherwise, feel free to just buy the Cadillac of Lovecraft and call it a day. 

4 out of 5 Booooooksrpys (depending on which one you get)

Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

This may or may not have made a previous bookspry.com Hallowe’en Reading List. You’ll have to search to find out if that’s true. But regardless, it deserves to be here

Especially now that it has a follow up on Netflix filled with hidden ghosts and bad accents. Get into the spirit and lean into the fact that Hallowe’en can be both incredibly meaningful and incredibly goofy all at once. 

Looking for something fresh to read?

Check out our reading lists here

 

We made a thing!

We made a thing!

writing prompts for all ages by bookspry.com

The exceedingly awesome team here at bookspry finally put their drinks down long enough to finish their first collaborative book! This book of writing prompts is fun, silly, creative and thought provoking all at the same time. But more importantly, it’s actually good. 

You can get it on Amazon now for the price of a cup of coffee!

 

Black Friday Deals for Your Reading Nook!

All of us here at bookspry.com love to read (obviously!) and we’re constantly talking about our current favourite places to read. Sometimes it’s a new local cafe, sometimes it’s the bath, sometimes it’s the library or a quiet local bar, but at the end of the day, we all need a nice, cozy, reliable place to read at home. So! For that reason, we’re scouring this year’s Amazon Black Friday deals for things that will spruce up your home reading nook!

OK…admittedly this won’t make your actual reading area better…but it will make your preparation for reading better! It’s amazing how much nice equipment will improve your mental state. This kettle is fast, has great safety features (I always worry I don’t have enough water in the kettle) comes in a bunch of different colours, and looks fantastic. Being able to make a nice cup of tea while you’re reading is one of my favourite things.

I’m not sure anything lends adds to the “cozy” feel like something warm on your feet. One of our readers pointed out these wool socks (in a number of lovely colours) that are amazing for snuggling up on the couch with a book. Also on sale this Black Friday.

Ambiance! In my opinion, there are two major players in the reading nook ambiance game. Plants and lights. You need both, and you need them in the right combination to make the coziest possible reading nook. When it comes to plants, all you need is a couple of simple planters with some nice, robust indoor plants, and the nicest planters we’ve found so far this Black Friday season are these mid-century, clay planters. All it would take is a couple of these (plus plants!) and you’re well on your way.

Onto the lighting…we here at bookspry.com are always keeping our eyes open for candles and lighting solutions. We’ve been having “arguments” here about what light to have in a room when reading and honestly, sometimes we prefer the lighting a little darker than our eye doctors might recommend (Don’t do that!).

Step one…get one of those himalayan salt lamps! Aside from the numerous benefits these lamps are purported to give off, they do offer a lovely light and really help any room feel especially cozy. These ones are on sale now for black friday!

Thanksgiving Cookbook Recommendations!

bookspry thanksgiving cookbook recommendationsStruggling to think of what to cook this Thanksgiving? Looking for the foolproof cookie recipe to use for some holiday treats? The bookspry team brings you this year’s Holiday (Thanksgiving) Cookbook Recommendations!

These are all affordable, highly rated cookbooks that we love (for different reasons). There’s a little something for everyone in there, so check it out now.

bookspry’s Thanksgiving 2018 Cookbook Recommendations

5 Types of Holiday Cookbooks for 5 Types of People

bookspry thanksgiving cookbook recommendations

Thanksgiving cooking can be stressful, but the right cookbook can make it a lot easier! We’re all different and it can be hard to find the right holiday cookbook for you. Here are five very different cookbooks to you find the right one for you:

For those on a restricted diet

holiday cookbook recommendations

Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Celebrations: A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion

Canadian Users – Click Here

Danielle’s recipes are simple and her instructions are easy to follow. If you’re hosting a Thanksgiving dinner and some of your guests have these dietary needs, then this book is for you. It’s a perfect introduction to tasty gluten-free cooking.

For the E-reader Cook

holiday cookbook recommendations


Thanksgiving Feast Recipes: The Ultimate Thanksgiving Cookbook / 150+ Delicious Family Holiday Recipes
by Hannah Abedikichi

Canadian Users – Click here

This e-book is great for anyone who uses their Kindle in the kitchen.

The recipes are easy to understand and have ingredients that will be easy to find. I am planning on using a couple of them this Thanksgiving.” says one reviewer.

For the sweet tooth

holiday cookbook recommendations

The Perfect Cookie: Your Ultimate Guide to Foolproof Cookies, Brownies & Bars by America’s Test Kitchen

Canadian Users – Click here

Holiday cooking is more than just turkey and cranberry sauce. For those of us with a sweet tooth, the most important part of holiday cooking is all those delicious sweet treats. This is the time of year we can indulge without any guilt!

“I didn’t think the cookie could get much better than the recipe I had been using. I was wrong.” – says Leslie Kennedy.

For the Scientist

holiday cookbook recommendations

The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science
by J. Kenji López-Alt

Canadian Users – Click Here

Because, despite what anyone else might say, the scientist-cook knows that cooking is basically chemistry. The scientist-cook just wishes that there was a cookbook that explains the science behind recipes, instead of just giving instructions!

Kenji is an MIT grad who’s turned his attention to culinary science because he understands your frustration. His American recipes make finickity recipes like Hollandaise sauce seem simple for the scientific mind.

For the Fun Loving Cook

holiday cookbook recommendations

From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen Hardcover
by Snoop Dogg

Canadian Users – Click Here

Actually, this book is a twofer, because it’s also for the lovers of celebrity cookbooks. If you’re a fan of Snoop Dog, or Martha Stewart, then you’ve probably already seen some of the show ‘Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party’. If you haven’t then go and check it out now! It is hilarious! This book covers Snoops favorite foods, the sheer range of recipes in this book is amazing. There are recipes for fancy dishes like Lobster Thermidor to the best snacks for the munchies. Sure the recipes are great, but buy this for Snoop’s stories behind the recipes.