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Video:How to Start a Book Club

with Jonathon E. Stewart

Book clubs are a great way to hang out with friends, enjoy intellectual discourse, and, of course, read more. See how easy it is to form a book club, and get tips on making it fun and successful for everyone.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Start a Book Club

Hey guys - Jonathon Stewart here for About.com. Remember back in the day before the internet, movies, TV, and I-phones? Me neither, but apparently people enjoyed reading these things called books. And some people even found great excitement and entertainment by talking with other people about these so-called books. Imagine. Well, take a look at these tips, and you, too, can try your hand at starting a book club. Check it out.

Find Book Club Members

Book clubs are a great way to do two things many people don't often do: hang out with new and interesting people, and read. When setting up your book club, the first thing you should do is find a core group. Talk about the idea with friends, family, or coworkers you like, and see if you can get a solid two or three takers.

And then send out the word from there - if each of your friends invite another one or two of their friends, then all the sudden you've got your eight or ten founding members. This is a great way to expand your social network, too, and much safer than talking to strangers in bars.

Choose a Book Club Meeting Time

While you're gathering your group, set your book club meeting time. Choosing a somewhat arbitrary and regular time is a good way to go - like the first Thursday of the month at 8pm. That way, members can easily plan for it, and know before they commit whether or not the slot works for them.

If your group is small enough, you can also arrange your next meeting as you conclude the current one. Just be sure that once you commit to a time, you make an effort to stick to it. Skipping meetings because other things pop up is the fastest way to kill your book club, even more so than not reading the books.

Create Book Club Rules

Next, establish your ground rules. Is your book club going to be focused more on intellectual discussion on the books you read, or on spending relaxed time over dinner or drinks? It's not uncommon for book clubs to meet at a different member's house each month, or for clubs to simply meet a restaurant. Some clubs use a list of questions to springboard conversation, while others prefer a more laisez faire approach.

Choose Great Books

Let's not forget about the key ingredient to all this, the book! Some clubs have the rotating host pick the next book, while others prefer to vote or use bestseller or prize winning book lists. However you do it, just make sure to keep it light and fun, and allow everyone to contribute. Feel your way through your first meeting or two, tweak as necessary, and always remember, reading is good.

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