At the Beginning…
One of the more challenging aspects of building a book club is deciding what to read. There are just so many books in the world. There are so many excellent books! So many recommendations. Amazon recommends, your local bookseller recommends, Instagram recommends….But how can you make a choice?
Instead of telling you what to choose, I would like to offer you some questions that can help steer you towards books you may like (and hopefully help you avoid those you won’t).
Three Questions to Ask:
- How long a book do you want to read? Knowing something about your desired length of book or how long it will take you to read it is a useful beginning. If you know you read slowly or don’t have a lot of time, don’t choose a book with 400 pages or 25 hours of listening time. If you have all the time in the world and like a longer read, go for it. Remember, however, that your book choices is for more than just you, but for others. You want everyone to be able to participate, so choose at the lowest common denominator.
- What genres do you like/don’t like? At the beginning of a book club, choosing a commonly-like genre will help discussions begin well. Everyone love chic-lit? Science Fiction? Cozy Mystery? Books in translation? Having an agreed upon genre can make choosing easier. Decide, as a group, if you want to stay in one genre or travel to others. Both ideas can work.
- Are there any off-limit topics? I have them. I’m sure you do too. I can’t read a book where the central action is because a child is harmed and I won’t read explicit sexual violence. I’m a mom. I am sensitive to both of those. It provokes my anxiety–so I just don’t read it. In general, I have a sense about which books discuss these things and avoid them. It’s okay to avoid books in book club too. And at the beginning of your club meeting, ask if there are topics that people avoid. We grow in trust with one another when we take each other’s limits seriously.
But a friendly encouragement..
In the end, you just need to choose something. Every choice won’t make every person happy. Someone will have to read outside their comfort zone. Sometimes you’ll have to read outside your comfort zone. That’s part of the beauty and joy of a book club.
Need some help choosing books?
May I offer you a quick and easy way to get started?
My Book Club in a box PDF has what you need to start your Book Club ASAP. Included in this free download is some things to think about when starting your group, a year’s long list of books to read during different months of the year AND a list of general questions that can work for any fiction work.
All you need to do is gather your friends