Starting a book club is a great opportunity to regularly socialize with friends or meet new people. Who doesn’t need an excuse to read great books and get together with friends regularly? Here are some things to think about and plan for when you start a book club.

Overall Tone

What kind of overall “feeling” are you wanting from your club? Do you want lively chats over cocktails, or a more serious discussions? Will you read the classics or modern literature? Fiction or non-fiction? Or perhaps you’ll have a little bit of everything!

Find Members

With your expectations in mind start brainstorming members for your book club. Try to keep numbers between 5 and 15 members depending on meeting space. This ensures all members have a chance to participate at meetings.

Friends, family, and coworkers are the perfect place to start finding members. Consider finding three friends who love to read and asking each of them to invite a few friends as well-it’s a great opportunity to meet new people with similar interests!

If you are new to your area or want to meet people with similar taste in literature consider posting a flyer in a local bookstore or using an online forum to find members. Be sure to communicate your expectations to those who might be interested in joining.

Decide How Meetings Will Be Run

Will you take turns meeting at members houses or at a public spot such as a library, coffee shop or restaurant? Larger clubs may prefer to meet in a public area-this is also a good idea if your club in not comprised of people you already know and trust.

For smaller book clubs it may be ideal to rotate hosting duties between members. If you do take turns hosting decide as a group whether it will be a pot luck affair or will the host be providing a meal, light refreshments, etc? Potlucks tend to be less stress for individual hosts, especially if you try these hints and tips for hosting a potluck! Be sure to make sure that hosting duties are without pressure—see these tips for a stress free dinner party.

Hold Your First Meeting

A general guideline is to give members at least one month to read the book and send invitations to the meeting at least two weeks in advance. If you are hosting try to stay relaxed! Prepare and serve finger foods or hors d’eouvres as guest arrive to help them settle in and start mingling.

Have questions and discussion points ready for your book selection. You can find book club guides for most titles readily available online on book club websites or the book publisher’s website. Try to make sure all members get a chance to speak and keep the conversations flowing.

Before the end of the meeting take suggestions for the next month’s selection. If one cannot be decided on take a group vote, or decide on a rotation for who chooses each month.

Congratulations, now you know how to start a book club!

Do you participate in a book club? What are your favorite types of books to discuss with friends?