Effective Ways to Encourage Quiet Book Club Members to Speak Up

Book clubs can be such a wonderful space for people to share their ideas; diverse viewpoints can lead to deeper and more valuable discussions that help us grow, both as individuals and as a society. 

But what do you do when people don't speak up? How do you encourage quiet members to contribute?

According to BookBrowse's research report, The Inner Lives of Book Clubs, 16% of people currently in a book club say their group has one or more members who rarely participate in the discussions. In most cases, the respondents express sadness and frustration saying that they would like to hear from these quieter members because their opinions and experiences are of value. After all, it's the active participation and communication of ideas that allows for meaningful discourse.

To better understand what to do (if anything), it's important to look at the reasons why a book club member might be staying silent.


What To Do When Members Come to Book Club Without Reading the Book?

Has your book group ever become frustrated by members who join in book discussions without having finished the book -- or, in some cases, without even starting it?

If so, you're not alone. According to our research, 15% of reading group members say their book club has experienced problems around this issue; and a quarter of those who left a previous book club due to dissatisfaction cited frustration over members attending without having read the book, or not attending meetings at all, as a factor in their decision to leave.


Historical Fiction: Take Your Book Club Back in Time

With the ongoing global health crisis continuing to impact day-to-day life, drifting away to another place and time through an absorbing work of historical fiction sounds more appealing than ever. To that end, here we recommend six historical novels that have recently been released in paperback for your own reading pleasure, or to read with your book club.

Each book comes with a reading guide and all of them profile compelling female protagonists, some of whom are historical figures, others are ordinary folk reacting to significant historical events.

featured book jackets


Five Debut Novels to Discuss With Your Book Club

It's always exciting to encounter a debut novel that you really love. It's a great experience to be there from the beginning and then follow an author over the course of their career, watching their voice evolve and seeing how they might choose to experiment with different genres or themes in their writing. Reading a debut with your book club can be especially fun because you get to have this experience together. You might even talk about where you see the author going in the future, or what you'd like them to write next.

Here are five debut novels that have recently been released in paperback, all of which received glowing reviews on BookBrowse. We have reading guides available for each and we're discussing two of them in our own online book club so you can compare and contrast your club's thoughts with ours.


Anti-Racist Reading Lists for Book Clubs

Recent protests against race-based police violence have influenced many in the United States to begin educating themselves on how to be antiracist. These events may also inspire book clubs to hold valuable discussions about fighting systemic racism and to consciously read more books from Black authors.

But with all of the reading lists flooding the internet right now, it can be difficult to know where to begin. So we've put together some focused lists for different types of reading that you can use as a starting point for antiracism discussions and actions in your book club.


Verily: Book Clubs 2020

Verily logoAre you in a book club or thinking about starting one? I was recently interviewed by the lifestyle magazine Verily about common book club misconceptions and BookBrowse's 2019 report, The Inner Lives of Book Clubs. Check out the article, which features insights and information on many book club topics.


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