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Start your own book club


Library gives tips for formation and format

Book clubs are all the rage these days and for good reason. It is fun to get together with fellow readers and talk about great (or terrible) books. It is also a great way to meet new people. With a little bit of planning it is easy to start your own book club. Here are some things to think about as you get started.

It’s a good idea to establish what types of books you will you be reading right off the bat so potential members will know if this is the right book club for them. Will you read fiction or nonfiction or both? Popular bestsellers or lesser-known books? Don’t forget to consider that many new books will only be available in more expensive hardback editions.

by: SUBMITTED - 'Room' by Emma Donoghue is a popular book club selection.

What type of people would you like to participate? Your book club could consist of well-known friends or you could invite people you don’t know very well but would like to get to know better. It’s a good idea to keep the group to a reasonable number. Six to 10 members is a good size to aim for.

Set some ground rules. How will books be chosen? Will each member get a turn picking the book or will everyone get to vote? Also think about who will lead the discussion and how much of a role you want that person to have. Will it be the same person every meeting or will you rotate? Depending on the personality of your group, you may decide not to have a moderator at all. Some groups lend themselves well to a freeform discussion, while other groups may benefit more from a discussion leader.

You’ll need to decide if one person will always host or if that responsibility will rotate amongst all the members. You could also choose to meet in a neutral place such as a library or coffee shop. Will refreshments be provided and who will provide them? How often will you meet?

Some groups like to choose themes for each meeting instead of a specific book. It’s a great way to find out about new books that you might want to read. Themes could include books written by Oregon authors, historical fiction that takes place in England, food memoirs or stories with a female protagonist.

Many books will have discussion questions available online that can be helpful. You can also find author interviews online, which can provide some interesting insights into the book and provide more things to talk about.

If you’re not up for the task of starting and organizing your own book group, you can join one already in progress. Check out bookclub.meetup.com or readerscircle.org to find a book club in your area. Also check with your local library. The West Linn Public Library has a book club that meets on the second Monday of every month. Go to westlinnlibrary.org to find out what they’ll be reading.

— Cheryl Hill is a librarian at the West Linn Public Library.