Top Ten Guidelines For How to Behave in a Book Club

Q. "I am trying to get out more and decided to join a book club, in part to get over being socially awkward. I have a tendency to be outgoing, but sometimes in a silly way because of my awkwardness. Can you please provide the top ten guidelines for how one should act and speak in a book club?" - Anne

We get a lot of book-related questions at BookBrowse. Sometimes, when I'm stumped for a response I turn to our wonderful Facebook followers for answers, and they never let me down! Here is their advice for Anne:

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I've been in a wonderful book group for 22 years, all women. The group is actually 30 years old, and I am a newbie to some of them! We have about 20 members. Some have passed away. And we get the occasional person who is a bit irritating, but they never seem to last more than one reading year. We respect each others' opinions. Everyone feels free to say they hated the book and to explain why they felt that way. We try to make sure everyone is heard by, at the very beginning of the discussion, going around person to person in order so everyone gets to say something. And then the free-for-all begins. In January we have a book suggestion meeting where a bunch of possibles are thrown out. I then email everyone the full list, and we vote by email. The top 10 books are then spaced out so non-fiction alternates wtih fiction, etc. So we read the books selected in January from February through November. No December meetings. Usually the person who suggested one of the books that is chosen hosts at her home that month. This was my first book club. I'm in one other through a Friends of the Public Library organization. But Remnant Readers, my first experience, is my favorite.
# Posted By Sylvia | 6/18/13 12:05 PM
Hi Sylvia, thanks for sharing your book club experiences. It's marvelous to hear about a club that's been together for 30 years - but I can go one better, we just interviewed a group that was formed in 1922 :) http://www.bookbrowse.com/featured-bookclubs/archi...
-- Davina (BB editor)
# Posted By Davina | 6/18/13 12:29 PM
I really loved Chaitri D's short and succinct list - will certainly share with my club! Reminders are always helpful.
# Posted By Sharon Lucas | 6/27/13 3:24 AM
The African American Book Discussion Group of Rockville Memorial Library is ten (10) years old this year. We average 15 members each meeting. Members include married couples, portfolio analyst, grandmothers, new mommas, an attorney, school teachers and librarians, retired people, office workers of all stripes, immigrants from Canada, New York, the Caribbean and people who just love a good book. Everyone gets to recommend and vote in November on the books that will make up the reading list for the following year. Most of our books are borrowed from the library (saves money), but we purchase books we want to read when the library doesn't own it. We read fiction, non-fiction, black authors and white authors. Our only rule is that the book must be by or about people of African descent. We take turns bringing snacks, and listen to jazz before we convene, during the break and after we adjourn. Every December, we have a pot luck at a members home, where we eat and read our favorite poems. We're looking forward to our eleventh year.
# Posted By Dianne Betsey | 6/27/13 5:26 PM
The only point in Chaitri's list that I would expand upon is #5--"agree." I would say, don't be afraid to disagree (and you can do it in an agreeable way). I love it when members have different and even opposing viewpoints regarding aspects of the book--I think this is where the best discussions occur.
# Posted By Mary Garner | 7/15/13 5:02 AM
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