Book clubs are a great way to get friends to gather on a regular basis. Want to start a book club, but not sure where to start? Are you looking for fun ideas for your book club like food or themes? I’ve got some fun and innovative Book Club ideas to get you going, inspire you and help you keep it fun.
But, before we jump into all that, let’s take a look at how to start your book club!
How do I Start a Successful Book Club?
The two biggest factors in your book club will be who is in it and what you read. But, before you get to the invites you really need to think about what your Book Club is all about.
- Type of Book Club – Do you envision your Book Club as a girls night in with food and wine and the book is a side-bar conversation or is the book the star of the show and you want deep discussions about weighty topics. Either way is perfectly fine, but you need to know before you start inviting women to join!
- Inviting your ladies – In your invitations, be clear about what you envision your Book Club to be. Invite a variety of women to join you and don’t necessarily only invite women you are close to. Open your Book Club and yourself to new friends and experiences! Generally, a good number to shoot for is about twelve women. If you have too many more (or less) it will be hard to have a good discussion.
- Timing – Try to be consistent with when you have your meetings. Successful Book Clubs say that having a consistent day and time to meet makes it easier to plan for. A lot of women wonder how long should a book club meeting last? I would plan on a 2-3 hours timeframe to have your meeting. That way it won’t be rushed and you can discuss your book and have fun!
- Ground Rules – Agree to some ground rules at your initial meeting. Agree to disagree respectfully. Talk about how to handle a domineering talker. What to do if someone hasn’t read the book. Talking about all this up front takes away any awkwardness later.
10 Unique Book Club Ideas
Monthly Book Club Themes
Having a book club theme may not be your cup of tea, but if it is here are some unique theme ideas for you. And remember, if you choose to do a themed book club, it doesn’t mean you are saddled with that theme forever. Stick with it for a year, then see if you want to change themes or how you choose books! Here are a few book club theme ideas for you!
- Have a travel theme for your book club. Each month “visit” a different country (or state) in your books. You can choose your next destination by throwing darts at a map, or maybe draw your next destination out of a hat, or a different member of the book club chooses the next destination and everyone eventually gets a turn.
- Have a Foodie Book Club where each month each person brings a dish based on the book. The food could be based on the geography of the book, food mentioned in the book, or recipes found in the book.
- Banned Books are always a fun book club theme! There is such a diverse offering of books that have been banned over the years that you are bound to find books that everyone can agree on.
- Calendar theme. Each month choose a book based on the calendar. For example, in February you would choose a romance, in March you could choose a book set in Ireland (for St. Patricks’s Day), during the summer months you could have books set on the beach, October might be a horror book…
These are just some ideas to get the wheels turning!
Book Club Ideas: Choosing Books
Figuring out what books to read throughout the year is going to be a big question, so addressing it early is wise and should even be a lot of fun! It is a good idea to have your year’s worth of books somewhat figured out from the beginning. That way you don’t have to spend too much time on it each month.
- At the first meeting, have everyone bring a book they’d like to read during the year. Each person should bring their book wrapped like a present and don’t tell what your book is. Then each month you have an unwrapping party as someone chooses a book for the next month!
- Classic vs. Contemporary. Read retelling of classics and discuss the differences in them. Have each member choose a classic they love and they are responsible for finding a contemporary version of that book.
- Plan your Book Club year based on books are being made into movies that year. Your Book Club meeting can include a trip to the movies and then a discussion about the book vs the movie.
- You can also be genre specific in choosing your books. For example, you might be a mystery book club, or a romance or historical fiction book club. Or maybe memoirs or biographies. There are so many genres to choose from!
- Books from someone else’s list – New York Times list, Oprah’s Book Club, Bill Gates’ Book Club, etc. If you know you enjoy books from a specific list, this is an easy way to choose books.
Book Club Ideas: Discussion Questions
- To keep the discussion lively, print off a variety of questions to ask during the meeting. Make some of the questions fun and some weightier. Then pass a hat around with the questions in it and each person chooses a question. After the question has been discussed, pass the hat to the next person.
- Have a different moderator (or discussion leader) each month. That person can organize how the discussion will go and keep it moving.
Book Club Ideas: Food, Drink & Where??
I suppose food, drink and where to meet are the big questions of any book club. The beauty of creating your own book club is that you can figure these questions out however you want! Here are a few ideas to help you get organized!
- Themed meetings – If you are doing a themed book club, then it might make sense to have some themed meetings. You might want to dress up based on the book you read, or the time period? The food/drink might reflect the geography you read about?
- Keep it simple! – If you’ve got a group of busy women who don’t have time or desire to do anything extra for your book club, it might be worth meeting at a public spot like a library or a Starbucks. At the library, there would be no food or drink, but you could reserve a room so you can have a private discussion. At a Starbuck (or any other coffee shop) each person could get something or not, but it takes the preparation pressure off the group.
- Shared Responsibilities – This is the method I hear most often when asking about book clubs. A lot of book clubs will rotate homes where the monthly meeting is held. They will also rotate the discussion leader and who brings food. This is a great idea if you want to meet at a home but don’t want to host every single month! By sharing the responsibilities, you are never overwhelmed and each month you can be responsible for something different.
Why Book Clubs are Great!
All in all, book clubs are wonderful! They are a great way to socialize with a potentially different group of women than you normally do. Women who all have something in common, a love for reading!
You will likely read books you wouldn’t normally choose and be able to have some great discussions around those books. Reading books outside your norm will broaden your horizons and introduce you to new genres and authors.
You will likely not enjoy every book you read! But to be able to hear other’s thoughts on the book is valuable. Getting other women’s perspectives on any book, and discussing it in a way you wouldn’t if you just read it alone is one of the biggest benefits of a book club!
So, what kind of a book club are you interested in starting? Hope my book club ideas have got you ready to turn some pages! Have fun and happy reading!
Becki is the creator of A Book Lover’s Adventures. After spending years in the travel industry and education system, Becki decided to create A Book Lover’s Adventures to connect with other moms who love travel and reading, but maybe can’t seem to fit it all into life right now. A Book Lover’s Adventures is full of encouragement, tips and recommendations for fitting more reading and travel into your family’s life!
Kim Anderson is the organized chaos loving author behind the Thrifty Little Mom Blog. She helps other people who thrive in organized chaos to stress less, remember more and feel in control of their time, money, and home. Kim is the author of: Live, Save, Spend, Repeat: The Life You Want with the Money You Have. She’s been featured on Time.com, Money.com, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Day, and more!