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Five Tips on Hosting an Awesome Book Club

Hosting a book club is a great way to get to know people better and finally tackle that to-be-read pile on your nightstand at the same time. It may sound cheesy at first, but there are tons of ways you can put your own spin on it and shape it however you’d like it to be. From the book itself, to the expectations and the snacks — it’s totally up to you. If you’ve never hosted one before, though, it can be overwhelming to determine where to start. Here are a few tips for how to host your own book club:

  1. Rotate Book Picks
    Typically a book club centers around a theme to attract people of similar interests. While this can be a great approach for some people, it can also become a little boring sticking to the same genre each month. A great way to break out of the box is to rotate the book choice and have each member make a pick. You may have to step outside your comfort zone a bit and read a genre you’d never otherwise be interested in, but that’s the beauty of it. You never know — you may discover a new author or genre you love that you’d never have expected! Additionally, when it’s your turn, you can pick exactly the book you want to read. This approach could be particularly fun if the members of the group know each other on some level already. You can learn a lot about a person by their book preferences!
  2. Find a Place to Meet
    There are several ways you can approach a meeting place. You can rotate to ensure no one person gets stuck with hosting duties every month — unless that person enjoys it, of course! Or, you could try out different restaurants around town, so long as they aren’t too loud to discuss the book. You could even try restaurants that are on-theme for the book in discussion that day. Just be sure to call ahead and see if you can reserve a table to avoid wasting valuable discussion time waiting. (Be sure to also choose a restaurant with low or varying price points so that cost will not be prohibitive.)
  3. Set Expectations
    It’s important for any sort of club to have a clear set of expectations about how things will transpire. Everything from schedule to ground rules should be established from the get-go. People will want to know the time commitment before they agree to be a part of the group. A reasonable amount of time seems to be 2-3 hours, assuming chit-chat time and eating (if you are at someone’s home) take up the first 30 minutes, then about an hour or 90 minutes for discussion, and an additional 30 for further chit-chat and making your way toward the door. Once a month also tends to be a reasonable commitment for most people. Any more than that and it can start to become a burden rather than a fun activity. That said, if your book club is all-in for twice a month, or even weekly, go for it! It’s your group, after all. Ground rules can be important as well. Generally, the expectations should include the fact that members of the group will respect one another’s opinions and try to refrain from interrupting as much as possible, giving each person a chance to chime in.
  4. Bring Snacks
    One cannot have a successful book club without snacks (and wine or coffee). If you’re at a restaurant, of course, this may be more like a meal. If not, you can rotate bringing snacks for the group — dessert, cheese, fruit, or even themed snacks based on the book topic or setting.
  5. Prepare for Discussion
    If you are the host, or if the host rotates and it is your turn, prepare some topics for discussion. This can be an official discussion question guide or simply some notes and questions you created while reading. You can also find related articles online and bring them in to see how others react to the sentiments regarding the book. Though you wouldn’t want to bring in something extremely controversial, an article can be a great way to spark discussion, especially if it challenges the status quo.

So grab some friends (or future friends), a good book, and some wine — and get to it!

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