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Breathe New Life into your Book Club - Feb 25, 2019 Submitted by Debbie

I truly believe book clubs provide a vital sense of community, and I love helping clubs get started and stay active with fun, interesting reads.

Often we hear from book clubs who say they’ve run out of steam and ask how they can get back on track. Their talks are no longer centered around the books they read. From time to time, that stale feeling creeps in for most longstanding clubs. If your book club has gotten into a rut — or if you’re simply looking to reboot your club in 2019 with a fresh sense of enthusiasm — consider a few tips we’ve found helpful:

1. Does your group usually read fiction? It seems most do! Perhaps you could make this the year you explore other genres like memoir, history, essays, and even cookbooks.

2. Try to read your way around the world.  Every month read a book either with a different country setting, a translation book, or a book with characters that travel to different countries.

3. Follow along with a celebrity book club - here are a few to consider:

  • Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine - Contemporary fiction by women — often historical romance and mysteries. These tend to be good beach reads.
  • Andrew Luck Book Club - Andrew favors philosophical works and good nonfiction, usually with a historical bent.
  • Oprah’s Book Club – Expect serious reads, often very heavy, but excellent discussion topics.
  • Emma Watson’s Our Shared Shelf - Feminist book club, well-written usually on important and timely issues 
  • Emma Robert's Bellerist - Thought provoking, literary fiction.  Picks come from Independent booksellers.

2. When life gets busy, it’s easy to fall into a skimming habit. Commit to reading more thoughtfully and mindfully this year. Take notes, underline, or highlight as you read, and you’ll be amazed at how having these passages handy during a book club meeting improves discussion.

3. Assign someone the task of doing some research each month before each meeting — or have everyone get online and dig up a little background material on the book. Book reviews and online book club discussion guides can also prompt great conversation. (LitChartsBookBrowse, and Reading Group Choices are just a few of my personal favorite sites for this purpose.)

4. Change your format this year! For example…

  • Create a designated pre-meeting (or post-meeting) social hour for chit-chat. If your club’s discussions have wandered away from books and onto jobs, families, and the news, breaking the evening into book-talk and non-book-talk may help get things back on track.
  • End each book club meeting with everyone sharing a recent read that is not a book club pick.
  •  Try bringing a snack or drink that goes along with the book you are reading. Discuss what other aspects of the book you could highlight.

5. Try a session designated to this very topic — fresh starts. Ask each member to bring one suggestion for a change she thinks might improve the club. Nothing, just objective, positive ideas that could be fun to try or produce long-lasting improvements.

If you need some book club book ideas check out the Indiebound Reading Group Guides or just ask one of us at the store, we’d love to help you pick your next book club choice.

Join us here in the store for our book club discussions. Anyone is welcome, and reservations are not required. All you have to do is show up! You can check out our current reads on our website under BOOK CLUBS.