Morning Meanderings… What Makes A Book Club Work


Yes, it is about that time of month again when I talk book club.  I can’t help it.  I love that group of girls so!  Tuesday evening while we sat around chatting before the review with plates full of food from the book ‘The Secret Life of Bees” and salted peanuts in coke (more on that later….), one of the girls said something that really touched my heart.

She said that she loved our book club and had to tell us why.  She had been in a book club before that just did not work.  She said that the group would have a book they would read but some would read it, most would not.  The group would gather and have wine and talk and rarely get to the book.  There was no one who brought questions to the group about the book or kept a discussion on track.

It’s no secret I love my book club. We have such an amazing group of ladies who each bring something to add to the group.  They are willing to dig in and discuss the hard topics, and laugh about the fun stuff. 


It’s not always easy pulling off a book club night, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  I love planning the food around the book and it has stretched me to make new things and try different cultures.  Each book, even before I open that first page has me thinking, “what will I learn?  How can I implement that into the meeting?  What foods will me encounter?  What music?” Where can I get a skeleton?”  (Ok just kidding on that last one… at least so far 😉 )

I love doing the extras for book club.  I love to fully experience the book.  Bookies has come a long way in our almost 13 years.  I wouldn’t trade a moment. 

Next book up…. A Constellation Of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra….

Oh the possibilities.


17 thoughts on “Morning Meanderings… What Makes A Book Club Work

  1. I attended a book club that was discussing one of the books I’d written…and they were so lively and full of thoughts. They brought out their reactions to characters that gave me a whole new perspective!

    But years ago, I belonged to a book club that was more about some of the members “competing” with the others, to see who could have the most insightful thoughts. Not fun. Needless to say, that book club died a painful death.

  2. I’m sad to say my book club is a lot like the one your friend described. Another member and I have been trying to do a few things to get it back on track and, so far, it seems to be working.

  3. Ok so do you have any tips on getting everyone to read the book? Is it just a matter of getting the right people?

    1. You bring up a great question. Off the top of my head maybe if each person was assigned a different task to do with the book… Ie, either talk about the culture, food, etc…. maybe to get them into the book. Let me think on this more… I am sad that this is such a “norm” with book clubs.

    1. Wow Candice, I don’t know why that always surprises me but it does. These comments really make me think about why people would start a book club if they really do not want to discuss books. There are so many wonderful sources to assist with discussion questions and planning, even guides in the back of a lot of the books now.

  4. I was desperate to join a book club and then I joined 2 of them at the same time! The “serious” book club I absolutely love as we take it in turns to choose the book and we all read it (only a few very good excuses in the last 12 years for not doing so) and the discussion is mainly if not wholly about the book (yes we do catch up on our lives as well). Its my highlight of the month and we have read a diverse range of books, fiction and non-fiction, classics and contemporary, and even tried poetry! Sometimes we have a film related to the book and sometimes the food is related to the book.The other book group which are more my friends that I meet on other occasions is not so good and frustrating as they feel its not necessary to read the book if they don’t particularly like the choice, which defeats the object – I sometimes think I should join a 3rd and ditch the other one!

  5. My book club sounds a lot like yours Sheila. We’re a good group of friends that also spend time outside the club together. Some members have come and gone, but there’s a core of eight of us who just love it.

  6. I wasn’t sure when I joined my book club whether it would work for me or not. The first meeting they didn’t even talk about the book, but I am glad I gave it a go. There are some people I get along with better than others, there are some who only rarely read the books, and some weeks the discussion is very short, but for the most part I am glad to have joined and stayed.

  7. I have an online bookclub that works well. We answer questions through email. I just joined another bookclub that is in real life. So far we have read two books and everyone read them. I think if the people don’t read them, they don’t come. The last book I hadn’t read the last 60 pages. But, I finished the next day. I’ll get some good ideas from you book club!

  8. I started an IRL book club with a friend a year and a half ago. We started small and chose people who we were pretty confident would read the books and contribute. We have both men and women. We usually meet in a pub once a month on Sunday afternoons and 3/4 of the meeting is book related, the rest catching up and general chit-chat, usually while we order and wait for our meals/drinks. We have a moderator each month (usually the person who suggested the book) who is responsible to bring a brief biographical sketch of the author and other pertinent background and sometimes some questions. Otherwise, we ask everyone to come with their rating of the book (out of 10) and one passage to read and discuss with the group. We’ve done fiction, non-fiction, and short story collections. So far, it’s working well and I’ve made some new friends.

  9. Your book group sounds wonderful, Sheila. I belong to several…Ok, the total is up to 4 now! One is a virtual book group – an online group I started for my far-flung family. we are reading some amazing books, and I love sharing that with my cousins and aunts, though I am finding it hard to keep discussions going online.

    There’s another group at my local library that I go to every few months or so – whenever it fits into my schedule – that one meets at the library and often has different people attend, though there is a core group of us regulars!

    Another group I have been a part of for about 8 years is held at a local Unitarian church. Two of my closest friends also belong to that one, so they keep it fun. Like the library group, that one is a bit limited because it meets in a public space and the attendees vary.

    And my favorite is my neighborhood book group. They have been together for decades and have read 130 books together! I joined about 7 or 8 years ago. Most of the members are my neighbors so I have enjoyed getting to know them better, even though most of the group are about 20 years older than I am! We do serve food and meet in each other’s home for that one, though we haven’t experimented much with matching the food to the book – you have inspired me! I’ve been trying to connect authors to our discussions when I can, though. We had one local author, Rachel Simon, visit our book group, and another, Nichole Bernier, send us personalized videos to answer our questions. It’s always fun to hear the author’s perspective.

    Thanks for sharing your book group experiences! You’ve given me some good ideas!


    Book By Book

    Book by Book is now on Facebook!

  10. I had to laugh at the book club that didn’t want to read or discuss the book. I joined… no wait, attended a few meetings … of one like that. It was a gossip fest – no one read the books! No, I don’t go to those meetings anymore. I do belong to a fun book club called Books and Bordeaux. We do drink wine but we also read the books and talk about them.

Hmmmm... what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s