Passionate About the Community
and the Moms Who Live Here

Starting Your Own Book Club

I have always been an avid reader. As a child I remember sneaking a flashlight under my pillow in order to stay up late and sneak a few extra pages. Now, as an adult, I don’t need the flashlight because there is a backlight on my Kindle…and lately most nights I can’t keep my eyes open after 8pm.

After the birth of my oldest son I ‘thought’ I was a very busy working mommy and had no time to enjoy anything for myself. {Little did I know twins were in my future}. The book that I had started the month my son was born was still on my nightstand 6 months later. I remember meeting my BFF at our usual spot at Barnes and Nobel in Westport, chugging caffeine and attempting to maintain a normal conversation. And then it hit me! I needed to start a book club. I needed a reason to carve out time for reading, and an excuse to see my friends and family and engage in adult conversation.

We have been meeting now for three years and have read about 30 books. Even with three children, 3 years and under, I’m never too busy to read. Here are a few tips that helped me get started.

 

The members of the "Chips and Dip" book club.

The members of the “Chips and Dip” book club.

Choose Your Members: When I first presented the idea of starting a book club to my sisters, they thought I was crazy. They assured me that no one would have the time. In fear of being turned down by anyone, I decided to invite everyone. I emailed about 25 of my friends and family. Surprisingly at our first meeting 15 people showed up. Now we have 12 consistent members ranging in age from 25-85…which leads to some very interesting conversations. A few additional members attend on occasion to mix things up.

Schedule a Date and Time: We meet about every 5 weeks on Tuesday nights at 7pm. The meetings are always held at my house due to convenience. Even my kiddos look forward to book club night, and get to stay up a little later in order to say hello to everyone before going off to bed.

Pick a Book: Picking the right book is the biggest challenge. We usually bring suggestions and discuss other recommendations that we’ve heard from friends…or People Magazine! It’s very hard to pick a book that everyone will enjoy. Lately our group has been writing down their top choice and then we randomly select out of a “hat.” We also have read several books written by authors we all seem to like (Liane Moriarty and Diane Chamberlain). I also use Goodreads.com to help log the books we have read and books I want to read. The reviews are very helpful and they offer recommendations based on the books you like to read. My top three favorite books we’ve read are The House at Riverton, Gone Girl, and Sister.

This summer we won 12 copies of The Fault in Our starts from readinggroupguides.com

This summer we won 12 copies of “The Fault in Our Stars” from readinggroupguides.com

Bring Discussion Questions: Our book club is guilty of getting off topic quite often. A great idea is to have each member bring at least one discussion question. This helps guide our conversation and allows all members to get the opportunity to share. Readinggroupguides.com is also another great resource to use. They also have monthly contests and giveaways.

Snacks, Snacks and More Snacks: All successful gatherings are centered on the food. We tend to stick with yummy dips, appetizers, desserts, and of course wine! Every member brings something each time for the group to share. My favorite go-to snacks to make are chips with onion dip (My son Shane’s all-time favorite treat – I even named our club “Chips and Dip” in his honor), a simple Mexican dip (layering cream cheese, refried beans, salsa, shredded Mexican cheese and baking for 20 minutes), or a simple veggie platter.

The snacks are one of the best things about book club!

The snacks are one of the best things about book club!

Don’t Be Too Serious: As I stated before, book club not only forces me to read more, it’s an excuse to hang out with friends and family. Several of our dedicated members don’t even read the books, and we still have tons of fun and laughs!

If you still think you are too busy to start a book club there are many clubs in our area looking for members. Try hooking up on meetup.com or check with your local library.

Comment below with your thoughts on book clubs and how to get started. Happy Reading!!!

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