Hints and Tips for Your Book Club Discussion
Created By: BookBundlz
Book clubs are started for many reasons: to explore literature, to have one night a month where you can get together with your friends, to make new friends, to expand your horizons and explore books you might not have chosen for yourself, to have one night a month where you get to enjoy someone else's cooking, to broaden your appreciation for what you are reading, to be able to enjoy a glass of wine without finding a lego in the bottom of the glass, and many other reasons. Presumably though, at some point during the book club gathering there will be a discussion about the book.
The degree to which your book club is focused on the book varies from club to club. We know book clubs that MIGHT discuss the book for a bit between bites, sips and gossiping, and book clubs with strict "only talk about the book" policies. For the most part though, most of the book clubs lie somewhere in between - focusing on the book and allowing socializing too. Actually getting around to talking about the book can sometimes be a tough task. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to get the discussion started and to keep it going in a polite and fun manner.
Hints and Tips for your book discussion:
1. Download the Discussion Questions/Reading Guides
The fastest and easiest way we know how to structure your book club discussion is with reading guides and discussions questions. They conveniently provide talking points for your group to go over. We search out and gather as many new book guides as we can each month on BookBundlz. Go to Reading Guide/Discussion Questions Page to find possible discussion guides for your book.
If you can't find your book's reading guide there? See who the publisher is for your book and try their website. If you still don't have any luck, download BB's "Discussion Questions for any Book." for many great discussion points.
Fun idea: Some clubs have everyone come with a couple of questions they would like to ask or discuss. Have people pull the questions out of a hat or bowl to engage everyone. This is a great way to make the conversation even more tailored towards your specific book club's interests.
2. Set a time limit or structure for the evening.
It is best if a structure is agreed upon by the entire group ahead of time or during your first book club meeting. Keeping things loose and just seeing how the night goes seems like a open minded plan, but can often lead to frustration on the part of both book lovers and socializers. Some clubs start with a book discussion and save the socializing for when they are eating afterwards or vice versa. Others have mandatory "ONLY book talk for the first hour" policies and then they can move onto different topics. Some clubs we have talked to have two meeting times. Say, 6:00 for people who want to discuss the book, and 7:00 for people who just want to socialize. All options can help to please the diversity of any group. By creating a fun and structured environment for everyone...book lovers know ahead of time that indeed there will be a book discussion and when it will take place so they can also enjoy the socializing. And the socializers know they will have time to catch up so they will enjoy the discussion more.
3. Assign a Discussion Leader
Assigning a member to be the discussion leader can help keep the structure, flow and fun. The leader can gently steer the conversation back to the book. Typically, the discussion leader is the host for the evening, but some book clubs do assign this to be one person's task. As your book club grows, this can become a more essential role for the club - as with more people, more chaos can come about.
A designated facilitator for the group allows for steering the conversation back to the book. In the case of unwanted tangents, a good pause in the conversation can be the discussion leaders best friend. See the pause and pounce on it! Ask, "Does anyone have anything more to add about this discussion question. If not, let's move on to the next question..."
If the pause just doesn't seem to be coming and the book lovers of the group are starting to look annoyed. Jump in and remind the group of whatever structure you have already determined. Say something like, "You know, I think we could talk all night about _____! In order to get through the book discussion, do you mind if we resume this topic after?"
When all else fails, you may need to decide if the agreed upon structure for the group still works, and adapt accordingly to the needs and enjoyment of the group.
4. Set some rules for discussions.
Although you should come up with your own set of rules of exchange for your reading group, we have a couple here that might help get you started:
• What happens in Book Club stays in Book Club - Share your thoughts, enjoy your conversations, and create a free and fun environment where everyone knows it won't be water cooler talk the next morning.
• Book Club Discussion time is not therapy - Although at times we all go through crisis and life changing moments that consume our thoughts, it's best to restrict your talking about such things during your social time or not at all. The other members of your group have come to book club to explore books and relax and spend time with friends.
• Comment on the comments or the book, not the person making them - Keep your comments on the discussion points being talked about or the book in general - not about the person making them. Nothing should be personal. The fun of good book club discussion is in the different points of view.You may not agree with a statement that was previously made about the book, but don't take that statement as a generalization about the person making it. Instead you might say something like, "I had not thought about it that way. I interpreted it differently. I thought...."
• Be Respectful - Even if you might be thinking someone has said something completely idiotic - remember to mind your manners! Everyone's comments and thoughts deserve consideration and a respectful response.
With all of these ideas, it is best if you can go over the different topics at the onset of your book club so that all can be in agreement to how the club will be run and how much book discussions will actually be a part of the get together. We hope you have a great discussion!