HOW TO: Join a Book Club

Have you always wondered about the idea of a book club, heard some friends or acquaintances talking about it or were simply curious about joining one but didn’t quite know where to start? Then this little guide is for you. If you’ve also always been hesitant about book clubs, thinking that they’re a gathering of ladies of the age of 50+ but are curious to find out whether that’s really true, read on 😉 I promise you that finding and joining one is really easy, so that it can be done from the comfort of your hammock at home 😛

4 options on how to find a Book Club.

Take a look at their “Community” page & simply search for the keywords “xx book club”, replacing the xx by the name of the city you live in. Replacing it by the name of your country is more helpful to find online book clubs, if you would rather prefer those. For discussing books in-person with people, it’s best to go for locations physically closest to you.

Similar to the search on goodreads, look for the hashtag #thenameofyourcitybookclub. Besides that, by searching through “bookstagram” accounts (aka instagram accounts that post on the topic of books), you might find some other book club suggestions.

Here you’ll be able to find tons of online book clubs, some well known ones among them being:

Through this method I was also able to find some local Parisian book clubs, such as the two below, which are hosted in the most famous English bookshop in Paris – the Shakespeare & Company:

Same as for the other 2 websites, simply search for the keywords of book club & your city. In this case, meetup usually tends to be city-specific & aiming at making people meet up in person.

[Update March 2020]: Since the lockdown due to the COVID-19 virus, the website now encourages to hold all of the events online, so you’d have to do some more picking & choosing.

This has definitely been the method through which I have managed to find the biggest and widest variety of book clubs.

  • Start your own book club.

I’d suggest you to first attend the book clubs that already exist in your city or even check out some digital ones before taking the step to create your own book club. This way you can learn what you do or don’t enjoy in a book club, learn from the mistakes of other organisers ( 😛 ) & understand what’s important for a reader participating in one in order to make the best of it.

From my personal experience, the suggestions for creating your own book club would be the following:

  1. Choose a theme for your book club. There usually already are a couple of basic book clubs around in your region, so if you manage to create a new & innovative group, you’re more likely to attract members.
  2. When creating a page for your book club (whether on meetup, goodreads, instagram or facebook), remember to include the name of the city where you’re based in the title of the book club (if you want to make it local & plan on hosting real life meet-ups) or the name of your country. This helps out a lot for your book club to be randomly discovered by strangers.
  3. Be patient. Don’t panic if nobody or just 1-2 people show up for the first meet-ups or video calls. Good things take time to form themselves, so be patient. You should also know that the attendance rate highly depends on the choice of the book. There simply will be some that are not as attractive to people.
  4. Be inclusive. There’s nothing worse than being in a book club where only the organiser defines what books will be read next. The option that has appealed to me the most was the one where several books are suggested by the participants & the final decision was taken through a democratic vote in a poll by the participants of the club.
  5. Be picky with the location of the meet-up. There’s nothing worse than ending up in a crowded café which is too loud or too crowded, so that not everyone has a place to sit or needs to shout to be heard. Invest the time in going location scouting, ideally stopping by the place at the time & the day of the week you’re planning on hosting the event.
  6. Define a limit for the maximum amount of people that can attend. This will contribute to a pleasant atmosphere for having a discussion, giving everyone the possibility to have the time to be heard.

Wishing you the best of luck on finding the fitting choice for you! 🙂

The articles that are going to be following up on this topic soon are Reviews of Book Clubs in Paris and The Benefits of Joining a Book Club. Come by soon to take a look at those too!

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