How to Start a Book Club

How to Start a Book Club

As an avid reader and lover of books, I can testify to the fact that there are many benefits to reading. Not only does reading expand the brain’s capacity to think creatively and use language, but it also opens up a world of adventures and imagination.

After I finish a good book, I invariably want to discuss it, and when I find someone who also loved it, I discover new details about the book through our conversation. Having a book club allows for discussions that are meaningful, engaging, and interesting about the books you read. If you are thinking about starting a book club, either for yourself or for your child, one of the first steps is to choose a theme that will make your book club stand out. Here are some easy steps to follow as you are choosing book club themes for a group of readers:

Consider who will be in the book club.

This may seem like an obvious step. However, the members of the book club are not only integral to the existence of the book club, they will also determine the themes of the books that will be read. Remember, each member is unique, “fearfully and wonderfully made”. Each person is gifted with unique characteristics and perspectives, and these qualities are a good place to start when thinking about a theme.

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List everyone’s favorite books.

Comparing the books that everyone has read and enjoyed will help decide what kinds of books the club wants to read together. Some members may love a fantasy allegory like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, while others enjoyed reading historical dramas such as Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables. It is important to choose book club themes that appeal to everyone in your intended book club.

Research new books.

There are many resources available for book lovers searching for new books, including searching online, browsing local bookstores, asking librarians, or asking others what books they’ve read recently. People who work with books love to share their suggestions. In the world of books, there are many that fall into the same genres or “families”. If you love The Chronicles of Narnia you may also enjoy John White’s The Tower of Geburah. Those who love Anne may find a fascinating new friend in Christy. Each of these preferences is also indicative of a theme, such as “Christian Fantasy” or “female hero”. The books readers are attracted to might suggest a unique book club theme.

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Decide on a theme together.

The goal of a book club is to read together as a community. In order to reach this goal, each book club member needs to be invested and interested. Additionally, learning to compromise and treat each other with respect is a valuable skill for young book-clubbers to learn. Depending on the age of the book club members, parents may need to help facilitate a conversation, but it is equally important that each book club member has the opportunity to express his or her ideas. After all, this is the basis of a book club! 

Choose a book that fits your theme and start reading.

After choosing a theme, book clubbers can pool the results of their research to find a book or series that fits their shared interests. And then comes the best part: reading together. This step should also include an element of evaluation. Does everyone love the theme? If not, discuss and adjust.

Starting a book club may sound a bit daunting, but with the right book club themes, it becomes an opportunity to gather together and talk about a story everyone loves. I have known book clubs with Jane Austen themes, nautical themes (Coot Club), Russian literature themes (Brothers Karamazov), child hero themes (The Mysterious Benedict Society), or a combination of several themes like “child heroes in space” (Ender’s Game). The important point to remember is that reading is fun, and being part of a book club with a unique theme can allow readers to connect with others and learn together.

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