Book clubs can be a great way to get to know a group of people. It’s a great place if you don’t like small talk because there is a built in subject to discuss.
How to Find The Right Book Club For You
When you are looking for a book club you should consider these details.
- Does the book club read books that I like? Some book clubs read only one type of book, like contemporary fiction or non-fiction. They will usually give a list of the previous books they’ve read. Many times they keep reading lists of past and future books.
- How often does the club meet and can you meet the reading requirements? Some have monthly meetings and others meet less frequently, which can make it hard to get to know people in the group.
There are plenty of book clubs around once you start looking. I think it’s important to go to at least two meetings before you decide if it’s for you.
How to Find a Book Club
There are so many ways to fiind a local book club (and even more if you want a virtual book club). These tips are for in-person book clubs only.
- Go to the local library, look for postings on the bulletin board or ask the library staff
- Check bookclubs.com for meetings in your area
- Ask at local bookstores
- Look in Facebook for groups in your area. Do a quick search for a Facebook Group using “book club + your city”
- Check Nextdoor app to see if there’s one around you that is taking new members
How to Prepare for Your First Meeting
The first obvious thing to do is to read the book. I was a little nervous before my first meeting so I also looked at discussion questions in advance. It’s also helpful to make a few notes about the book. Things you liked or disliked about it. Questions you would ask the author if you could.
I find it harder to flip through a book in a disucssion if it’s an electronic book. For me notes are important if I read the book on my E-reader.
It’s common for book clubs to discuss books other than the current selection. Come with a few book titles that you really liked so you can make book recommendations.
Book Club Etiquette
1. Always Read the Book: Unless the group is really just a social club (which can happen), the central point of a book club is to discuss the chosen book. Unless you’ve had an emergency or something unexpected comes up, make sure you’ve read the book before the meeting. You don’t want to be the one person who can’t contribute or who needs the plot explained.
2. Respect Everyone’s Opinions: In any good discussion, there will be varying viewpoints. Some people might love a book that you didn’t enjoy and vice versa. Always respect the opinions of others, even when you disagree. Remember, the goal is not to convince everyone to agree with your perspective, but to share and understand different viewpoints.
3. Avoid Spoilers: If your group reads one book at a time, it’s crucial not to spoil the book for others. If you’re ahead in the book or if you’ve read it before, don’t reveal key plot points that could ruin the experience for others.
4. Contribute to the Conversation: Discussion is a two-way street. Be sure to add your thoughts, ask questions, and engage in the conversation, rather than just listening.
5. Avoid Dominating the Discussion: On the flip side, be careful not to monopolize the conversation. Make sure everyone gets a chance to speak. If you’re naturally more talkative, be mindful to make space for quieter members to express their thoughts.
My Personal Experience After Joining Book Clubs
I joined two book clubs in my quest to make new friends after 50. I enjoyed one of the book clubs, but I haven’t met anyone from the group outside the club. It takes time to get to know the people enough to do something outside the monthly meeting. As a result, this method for making friends is not necessarily a quick way to go about it.
The first group I found was through Facebook groups in my neighborhood. It was a group that had been established for several years. I went to two meetings.
This group was not a good fit for me. This group did teach me a valuable lesson to look for in future book clubs. It taught me one thing to look out for. Does the group do a lot of book talk? This group didn’t.
I’m not interested in a new book club where the primary subject of discussion is NOT the book. This group really loved to talk about politics. Even if I agree with them, that isn’t what I’m looking for in a book club. I suspected this might not be a fit for me after the first meeting, but gave it two tries.
The second one I found on bookclubs.com. It’s a group that reads only Thrillers. So far I’ve been enjoying this group, but haven’t made any one-on-one connections. The group has women of all ages. The jury is still out on whether this will be a place that I make any new connections.