Local Book Clubs For The Win

I love my local book club, big time. 

I've gotten some questions recently about our set up and wanted to share some information in case you might want to start you own within your own community. 

A friend of mine from college (we have kids at the same school now) started this book club in April 2018 and sent me a text message asking me if I wanted to join. 

My response to her was "Yes yes yes!" followed by "Thank you, and honestly I could use the friend time too." Because that was the truth. 

Here are the basics about our Book Club: 

  • JOINING: I was invited to join this group by one of my friends from college. We all have kids that go to the same school and most of the women have kids in the same grade. Our group has eight women and we all feel like that amount has been just right for us and we are happy with our current set up. My friend did an awesome job when she picked people to invite because we are all avid readers and really did want to talk about books! 
  • MEETINGS : We meet once a month and rotate houses. Whoever is hosting has some kind of food/snacks/treats available (often it's a combo of cheese, crackers, fruit, chocolates, etc) and drinks. One time we had a sushi night where we made sushi before we talked about our book. We meet at 7pm so most of the time we've already had dinner. We usually end our evening sometime between 9-9:30. We've varied the days of the week depending on everyone's schedule but it often seems to be a Tuesday or Wednesday. Having a smaller group makes the scheduling logistics a little more manageable and we generally schedule a couple months out (we've already scheduled all our meetings for the summer + a little weekend getaway once school starts in September). I generally try to pick a time to host when the kids aren't here just to make it easier, but most of the time other family members just hang out in other parts of the house when we have a meeting. Last time it was here at my house Simon came home in the middle of our meeting and sang "You'll Be Back" from the Hamilton soundtrack so yeah, real life happens too. We also had a special meeting in December when we all wore PJ's and brought a "favorite thing" for a gift exchange. That was super fun. We actually like each other so much that we look for other opportunities to get together and usually have a birthday lunch once a month to celebrate any birthdays happening in a particular month. 
  • WHAT A MEETING LOOKS LIKE : Generally we all arrive right around 7 and have a drink. We usually chat about life stuff for a bit - catching up, sharing stories, etc - and then we get down to the business of talking about the book. We often begin with general impressions - like it, didn't like it, etc. The host usually has printed off questions from the internet (these are easy to find via a google search) that we use as a guide as we talk through the books. Those questions often lead us onto other tangents and we like having them to center us back on the book topic. We are all active participants in the discussion, even when we might not have finished the book. At the end we schedule our next meeting and a book to go along with it.
  • HOW WE CHOOSE BOOKS : So far we have read all fiction books (listed below). Usually the person hosting selects the book we are reading but other times someone has brought up a particular book and we are all on board with it. Most of the time what happens is we all leave the meeting with Amazon orders on their way to our houses (or downloading to our Kindle) that include books someone mentioned. This is a hazard of a good Book Club. We've read a variety of books and don't really stick to one particular fiction genre. 
  • COMMUNICATION : We have a group text chat which is an awesome way to share about other books we are reading, funny things we see online, life stuff, etc during the month. 

Here are some things I specifically love about our Book Club: 

1. We respect each other's opinions and experiences. I think we all really value learning from each other and that comes across when we talk about the stories we read. Some of the best discussions we've had have been about books that stretched all of us and opened our eyes to new ways of thinking (love that this can happen via fiction books). This Is How It Always Is was one of those books for our group. 

2. What unites us is really that we each individually just love reading. We all generally read multiple books each month and I leave each get together with more books on my list to read after hearing what else everyone is reading (that good Book Club hazard I mentioned above).

3. I am really, really thankful for this group of women. They are good humans. Having a deeper connection with them through reading has totally enriched my life.  

4. I also love that getting together is a priority. Stuff happens, of course, but for the most part it's something we all look forward to and something we all enjoy as a part of our lives. 

5. Yoga pants are always welcome. 

What we've read so far: 

Next up we are reading Katherine Center's new book: Things You Save In A Fire (currently available for preorder). Katherine is a friend of mine so I was able to reach out to her for some advance copies and we are going to have her Skype into our next meeting. 

We also all ready Verity on our own and talk about it all the time. Such a fun page turner. 

I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about creating/hosting your own local book club. 

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8 thoughts

  1. prueger6 says…

    I love my book club! We have meeting for over 10 years. Some of my favorite things about it are the variety of ages and ideas which makes for fun discussions. We have a potluck lunch and we all enjoy it!

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  2. SusanBowers says…

    Thank you for this post Ali. I've been so intrigued by your book club. I posted a probing question on my Facebook for a local book club (if there was one) or if anyone was interested in being a part of one. I already have one interested!

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. quags101 says…

    I am in 2 book clubs and love them both! My original one has been meeting for 15 years and I have kept a list of everything we have read. It is amazing to look back at that and see all the great books. I actually crashed this group when I found out they were starting a club (a close friend was in it) and it has been a fantastic group to share books and life with. I must admit that sometimes there is more wine enjoyed than book talk. LOL :)

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  4. bdkeat says…

    I cherish my local book club too! And now I covet that long wooden serving board! Does it have knobs underneath as it looks raised? Going to ask my hub to build one similar! We eventually move to the living room but people always mill around the kitchen:)

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  5. nerdgrl says…

    I love my book club as well. We choose our books a bit differently, but any way a group does it is great. We meet at restaurants around the area. The woman who started the group has a list of all the books we've read and where we've eaten. There are eight/nine of us which we also find to be a manageable number. We meet approximately every six to seven weeks on Wednesday evenings.

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  6. laurakaplan says…

    We've been meeting for 18 years and we do Saturday afternoon, as we started when we were all young enough to have Saturday evening plans :) It is my most treasured membership and I look forward to it every month. Best benefit? Being exposed to (and enjoying) books I would have never chosen myself.

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  7. gina200 says…

    Ali, love this post and that you've found this group of women. It sounds fantastic.

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