Starting a Book Club
People at a table discussing a book

Starting a Book Club

Starting a book club is generally as simple as 1) Invite participants, 2) Choose a book and 3) Gather to discuss; however, paying attention to a few small details will help ensure your book club is a success.

  • Consider who may be interested in participating and invite them to consider being a member of the book club. 
  • Choose a frequency. Some book clubs meet monthly. If that seems too often, consider meeting quarterly or choose another frequency that works for everyone in the group.
  • Determine if your book club will focus on fiction, non-fiction or a mix of both.
  • To cast a wider net, consider posting something on social media, inviting people to contact you if interested.
  • Speak with your local bookstore. Some will help you promote your book club or even offer space to hold your book club. They may also feature a display of books being read by book clubs in the community, which can also help promote your book club to patrons of the bookstore.

Choosing the Book

You may want to choose the first book yourself and then invite a different member of the club to choose the book for your next meeting. If you’re focusing on topics related to remembering a life, select a book that focuses on a topic such as dying, grief, hospice, remembering a loved one.

  • The book can be non-fiction or fiction.
  • Allow plenty of time for each participant to get the book and read it before gathering.

Looking for inspiration? Check out our Suggested Reading list and book reviews!

Planning the Event

All Book Clubs

  • Create an environment in which everyone feels comfortable expressing themselves and contributing to the discussion.
  • The content of some books may trigger strong emotions or memories. As a result, some participants may want to be very involved in the conversation; others may prefer to listen and observe. Be respectful of how they choose to participate and express themselves.
  • Consider setting a specific start and end time to set expectations in advance.
  • Be prepared with a few questions about the book to get the conversation started.

Virtual Book Clubs

  • Virtual book clubs provide the opportunity for friends and family who live at a distance to participate.
  • Make sure everyone knows how to access your virtual book club meeting well in advance of the event.

In-person Book Clubs

  • Choose a location that is comfortable, quiet and free of distraction.
  • Consider offering refreshments or invite participants to each bring a snack to share. Keep food and beverages simple so you can focus on the conversation.

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