I get that a lot. People seem to be in awe of the fact that not only have I been in this book club for
7 13 years… but the fact that it continues to grow and remain interesting. I get a lot of questions on what we read, how do we pick, how do we handle poor picks, etc…. so here it is.
Our book club The Bookies, was started in 2001 with three people.
1. Why start a book club? Well, for me – I love to read and love to talk books. But the real reason our book club started was I thought it was sad that I had worked with some of these women for 10 + years and hardly knew anything about them. This group was set up as a way to get to know people outside the walls of where we worked.
2. How did you choose the first book and then continue choosing? The first book was Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts. I selected it and then posted the information by the time clock telling people who were interested to read the book and then meet me at Boardwalk Pizza on the specified date. After that first choice (which was a fantastic read!) we brought suggestions to the group and then we voted and read the one with the most votes.
3. How did the group grow? Again – word of mouth. The three of us met the first two months. Then a couple more joined us from work…. then I brought a friend and so on…. sometimes people left after a while, but for the most part they all stayed. We currently have 14 of us.
4. What do you do when the book picked is really awful? Well, for one, our rule is if you ever find a book that you do not wish to read for any reason, we suggest you read one of the other books from the nominations. It rarely happens, but on occasion a book may not fit for someone… I have even passed on a few of our choices through the years. And that’s ok. The great thing is, some books have nothing wrong with them other than the fact that they are just badly written or way too intense. The funny thing is, that some of these books make for the best reviews! Wuthering Heights makes a great example. Awful read….. boring, deep, painful… but we had the most fun analyzing the main characters (pretty sure Kathryn was bi polar)… ; )
5. What keeps the group interesting? I try to keep things moving and fun. In one month, we all wrote reviews of the book we had read like they do on the back of book covers… like, “Riveting…. I couldn’t out it down!” It was fun to see what people came up with. Another month we read about the 1500’s so we all researched our ancestors and discussed how far back we could go. Sometimes we do potlucks at each others homes themes around the book. When we read the book Wicked, we all had to bring an item that was green… we had green egg salad sandwiches, dips, desserts, etc….
6. Do you have any special reads or events? Yup. July is our free read month and we potluck at Kiwanis park. We also in July nominate a Queen and dress up in formal wear and we have our annual book sale too. In October we have our classic read and try to read a classic each year for that month. At Christmas we exchange gifts.
8. How do you choose where to meet? We now take turns and if it is your turn you get to pick out of our options of restaurants or homes offered by members.
9. Is it harder to run the group now that it so big? Not really harder, but different. The benefits to a larger group is the diverse responses to the book. It makes for great discussion and we are introduced to more authors because different people nominate different book styles.
10. What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a book club? Absolutely do it! Grab a starter friend or two or do what I did, post the group info somewhere and hope that someone shows up! If you love to read, you will find others…. keep it lite, keep it fun…. and keep the great books coming!