How to find or start a book club or group:

How MANY members?

Most book clubs consist of between 5 - 10 members. This allows for someone to be away for each session, but also takes into consideration that if everyone does show up, that there is still plenty of time for all to participate in the discussion. Just make sure you all agree on whether your book club takes new members always, sometimes, or only when a spot opens up. Best to have everyone using the same criteria.

Deciding on LOCATION:

Many book groups meet at members' homes on a rotating basis. The host may be responsible for refreshments, or group members may all contribute. Other possibilities include dinner or lunch at a cafe or restaurant, using room at your local rec centre, church or community college.

How OFTEN to meet:

Most book clubs that manage to survive over time meet once a month for two or three hours, some meet every six weeks. More often is too big of a commitment for most people, and meeting less often creates a situation where it is difficult to maintain the momentum of the group.

Many book clubs take the summer off while kids are on school holidays and many organize a local "field trip" or away weekend retreat during the year to replace at least one regular meeting.

CHOOSING books:

Have all interested parties meet and decide how book selections will be chosen - will each member pick a selection or will the group choose the books collectively? Also decide if the entire group will all read the same book (the most common scenario).

Members may bring interesting books to the first session of a given year (January, or September after the school break) and share them around for ideas, or "wish lists". You might choose the entire year's worth of titles at the first meeting, or your group may work only a couple of months in advance. Just make sure the choices are readily available at your local bookstore or library.

Newspaper and magazine book lists, literary prize lists, local bookstore and library picks, and websites are all good sources of ideas.

You may want to switch between genres (literature, classics, history, poetry, short story, biography, mystery) - or concentrate on one author for three sessions, or go with a theme (family, cultural conflict, Italy, etc.)

AHEAD of time:

How to STRUCTURE the session:

There is no "right" way to run a book club or group. However, some of these suggestions may help you establish a new group, or revitalize a club that's been around for a while. The choices you make will depend, to a large degree, on how formal or casual your group wishes to be.

WHAT to talk about:

easy PRINT version here