Book Club Tips
If you do a little preparation on the front end, a book club can be a very rewarding and long term association with a group dedicated to discussing, digesting and getting to the heart of a book. Here are some thoughts on structure, developed over the years of having some successful groups.
Ask interested parties to come together for a planning session.
1. How often you meet and where..the store is a fine place to meet.
2. Set times and duration of meeting. Usually an hour for discussion and add visiting optional time before or after start time.
3. Now here's the tricky part. Hopefully, you can decide on a person who can gently keep the group on task. I've seen many clubs falter when one member or more tend to dominate conversation, talk about something that " reminds" them of something else, or maybe use the group for a personal forum...
This is why I think getting together at the onset, setting guidelines and choosing someone who can redirect, bring the discussion back to topic, is so important. Members come to discuss the book presented and want that to be a meaningful discussion time- usually an hour is plenty for discussing themes, characters, writing style, plot complications, likes and dislikes...A dominator of any kind will kill the group quickly.
We're all familiar with a Sargent At Arms...choose one, and empower them to call the group together, keep it on track of discussion, keep long winded short. Whatever you as a group choose, it will make a reliably meaningful meeting.
4. Decide how books are chosen: by a committee of two or three, by the chosen group leader, or by passing it around to the group members to make suggestions and then vote to whittle the list down, with top votes making the cut.
5.The book host or group leader should be prepared with a bio of the author, easy to find online, and discussion questions.