The Book Club Health CheckWhen you think about your book club--the interpersonal dynamics, the level of organization, the quality of discussions--would you say that your group is happy? Do you consider your book club to be healthy?

Even in the strongest book clubs, issues, whether big or small, are likely to emerge at some point. But, as it turns out, how your group proactively deals with issues is a key factor to your book club's long-term happiness.

In BookBrowse's research report, The Inner Lives of Book Clubs: Who Joins Them and Why, What Makes Them Succeed, and How They Resolve Problems, we see that, understandably, when issues arise, some people choose not to address them directly and, instead, opt to look the other way. After all, book clubs are often comprised of friends, neighbors or co-workers, so a confrontational situation could potentially affect other aspects of the members' lives. But while sometimes problems resolve themselves, they often do not. The tension that builds around unresolved issues can fester and can lead to members leaving the group or, worse, the dissolution of the book club.

Luckily, there are things your book club can do to proactively manage conflict, or even prevent issues arising in the first place. Just as many of us have an annual checkup at the doctor, an annual book club "health check" can help prevent a group from stagnating or prevent unexpressed tensions from reaching a breaking point.

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The Inner Lives of Book Clubs