How to start a book club
Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf hit booksellers June 24th, and it’s a wonderful choice for a July book club discussion. If you aren’t part of a book club, summer is the perfect time to start one. With more relaxed schedules and road or plane travel on your calendar, you have more a chance to pick up a new book — and you’re going to want to talk about those books with your friends. Book clubs seem like such a simple concept: find a few friends who love books, choose a book and gather to discuss it. But anyone who’s tried to form a book club knows it doesn’t always equate to a fun night out with friends. We have five book club tips to make your meeting your favorite girls’ night of the month.
Be flexible about guests
Starting a book club might happen with a few of your closest girlfriends, or you might spontaneously try to get your neighbors together for conversations that don’t focus on the landscaping regulations for your HSA. Even if it seems awkward to have a friend of a neighbor sipping on your favorite sangria, remember that unexpected guests can add new angles to a discussion. Keep your membership flexible, and you might find yourself with new friends after a couple of meetings.
Keep your meeting dates consistent
Finding a perfect time for a book club to meet is almost impossible. Conspire with your must-have guests to find a time that works every month — pick a night without lessons, games or other commitments already penciled in — and stick with it. Set a recurring appointment in your favorite app or start noting it, in pen, in your calendar. There will likely be a reader or two who has to miss your monthly meetings, but with a solid third-Thursday-of-the-month meeting, most people will keep their calendars clear.
Choose a book with strong discussion possibilities
Let’s be honest. There will be months when only one or two women have managed to finish the book Even with the best intentions — and book club selections — not every book will resonate with every reader, and sometimes people are simply too busy to finish a book they’re enjoying. Keep your discussions inclusive by selecting books that have plot points or dilemmas that even those who haven’t read the book can discuss. Discussion-friendly plot threads include hot-button issues or current events, like the compelling Little Mercies. Ellen Moore knows all about child protective services. As a social worker, she’s seen humans inflict horror on each other, and she works with the people who do their best to protect the children they encounter. One distracted mistake puts Ellen on the other side of the system, and as her story unfolds, readers see both the cracks in the protective services system and the heart of the people who work tirelessly for the sake of other people’s children. Moms will have a visceral reaction to Little Mercies, and the discussion will be thought-provoking — though spoilers are likely to come out for anyone who hasn’t finished the book!
Use book club resources
Publishers generally realize when their books will be suitable for book clubs. A quick search will lead you to resources for your book club, such as the Little Mercies Book Club Kit. Book club leaders shouldn’t feel like they need to start from scratch when beginning discussions or considering talking points. Trust the publisher’s familiarity with the book and save yourself a little time to focus on the other aspects of hosting the meeting.
Keep food and drinks simple
If your book choice has a strong tie to a certain type of cuisine or location, it can be fun to decorate or plan your menu around a theme. If you’re dealing with contemporary women’s fiction, like Little Mercies, you can choose your go-to favorites. We love the idea of serving a big pitcher of Sparkling Lillet Rouge Punch with a summer salad and sweet treat.
Read more about Little Mercies
- Watch the Book Trailer
- Visit Heather Gudenkauf’s Official Site
- Follow Heather Gudenkauf on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest
- Visit Little Mercies page on Goodreads
What is your book club reading this summer?
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Harlequin. All sassy opinions are my own.
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