What’s better than reading a great story? Having someone to share it with! A book club is a group of people who read and discuss books together, after agreeing on which books to read, and at what pace.
Book club meeting discussions can be very lively, enlightening, and enjoyable. The combination of people from different backgrounds and walks of life with similar tastes in books, plus delicious snacks and drinks, can create experiences and memories that are totally worth leaving home and making it to the meeting.
Whether your book club is online or offline, it’s important to keep certain things in mind.
- Having a common theme or genre works better than trying to squeeze in several different ones.
- Agree on a number of chapters each week.
- Decide whether discussions will be weekly, or at the end of the book.
- The leader’s responsibilities should be clearly defined.
- Refreshments, if any, shouldn’t be burdensome. You can have a potluck where everyone brings something to share, or else contribute a fixed amount monthly and have the leader buy snacks and drinks.
- Opinions about book characters should be expressed without judgment as this may be received as a real-life subliminal message.
- The book club should be fun. Using meetings as opportunities to rant about personal issues should be avoided. There are other forums for that.
I was a member of a virtual book club years ago, back when BlackBerry Messenger was the best thing since sliced bread. In December we voted for which 12 books we wanted to read in the coming year, and started reading in January. We read one book per month. Not random chapters: our leader made a reading schedule for us to follow, so we could all read and discuss with no one left behind. No spoilers.
Then my love for magazines returned with a vengeance, and they were all I wanted to read for a long time. I gobbled up articles in online magazines, and subscribed to receive physical copies of Ebony, Reader’s Digest, Essence, Woman and Home, Vanity Fair, and O, The Oprah Magazine; all of which are treasured possessions.
Then that phase ended and I returned to my first love, leaning towards whodunits and Christian romance. I did not start or join a book club this time around. I got a reading partner instead, and it’s been magical. I send her “Oh my goodness, did you see what…” voice notes at night and wake up to her laughing-with-tears emojis in the morning.
I would still love to be part of an old-fashioned, in-person book club, with drinks, faces, and voices. However, I’m not sure how to make that actually work, so 2018 is looking like the year of the virtual book club!
It certainly has its upsides:
- The group can have 10 members… or 100.
- You don’t have to deal with traffic.
- You have the comfort of your favorite couch or your bed.
- You can participate in your pajamas (if dressing up is a bother).
- You can read with people in other countries of the world, which is something an in-person book club can’t offer you.
- Even though there’s set time for discussions, each person can drop into the conversation when it’s convenient for them.
I’m seriously considering starting one. BBM is dead, and I’m already overwhelmed on WhatsApp, so perhaps the book club will be on Twitter? Or Good old Facebook?
Have you ever been part of a virtual book club? If not, do you think you’d enjoy it? Please leave a comment.