Why am I assuming that your book club is, in fact, off track? Because it is. Has been for a while. Let’s face it — you haven’t met in months (and you spent most of the last meeting talking about Oscar screeners.) As millennial women, we’re consistently drawn to the idea of the bookclub without fail. This will be great! I’ll read more challenging material! We’ll talk about real ideas! Yet almost everyone I know is a disgruntled or AWOL member of a literary group that has gone completely off the rails. As a member of a newly hatched book club myself (we’re still talking over names, but “The Most Exclusive Book Club in Austin” is a working title.) I thought it might be a good idea to do a little research on how to keep our club on track before our first meeting (which has been postponed indefinitely, btw. Not joking.) Read on for four simple tips I gathered from women who are actually in functioning book clubs, and get your club back on track fast:
featured image by the coveteur
Try meeting every 6 weeks instead of monthly.
“Monthly is just not enough time in between books,” said Caitlyn, who has been in a working book club for several years. “I realized that I was buying the book four days out from the meeting and cramming every time. When we switched to a 6 week interval, things flowed more naturally.”
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Choose your books wisely.
“You’ve got to be realistic,” said Ann, whose book club has been going strong for three years. “It’s not that you shouldn’t read War and Peace, it’s just that you might want to consider peppering in some novellas or short stories into the mix as well, just to keep people from feeling overwhelmed. Some of the best books we’ve read have been under 400 pages.”
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Designate a moderator to keep discussion on track.
“I think it helps when a designated person leads the discussion,” says Camille (who’s book club has lasted years.) “When I’m hosting a meeting at my house, I always try and prepare a few questions about the book to get the conversation going and help people stay on topic.”
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Set a timer for 20 minutes of “book only” discussion.
“Our group loves to hang out and talk about everything — not just the book,” said Andrea. “But some of us were getting frustrated by the fact that we weren’t talking about the books enough. I think it’s important for people to be on the same page about that (how much time you’re actually going to spend talking about the book when you get together.) So we decided to set a timer for 20 minutes, and after that it’s a conversational free for all!”
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