Book Clubs are like Starbucks - there's one on every corner. That's the good news. Because of that, it can feel a little overwhelming to pinpoint one that ticks all your boxes and will provide a comfortable place that's just right for you. So, how do you find a book club populated with your kind of people reading your kind of books?
Begin by asking yourself, What am I looking for in a Book Club?
- Do you care more about discussing the book, or about the new people you'll meet?
- Do you want to get together in person, or virtually?
- Do you want to read through a series, or choose different books by different authors each month?
- Do you want to read the classics, or more contemporary authors?
- Do you want to read a specific genre, or would you like a broader selection?
- Do you want to meet monthly, or more/less often?
- Do you want the members to constitute a specific demographic (like your own), or would you like an eclectic group of people from many walks of life?
- Do you prefer a structured meeting, or do you want an informal chat?
Once you've established what it is that you're looking for, you're ready to move on to finding the one that is just right for you. Below is a list to get you started on your search.
Consult the store's community board, or ask an employee if the store hosts a Book Club that ticks the boxes on your list. Since this is a good way for bookstores to get customers in their doors (and probably sell some books!), this is a great place to look - especially if they are big enough to have a dedicated space for a group to gather.
More and more churches with libraries are either already hosting, or are open to the idea of hosting, a book club. If Christian fiction, good quality non-fiction, or self-improvement books are right up your alley, check with churches in your area to see what's available.
Local community centers are there to serve their communities. Ask if yours currently hosts a book club. If not, maybe now is the time to consider starting one. They have the facilities. You have the vision. Could be the perfect pairing.
This seemed like the most obvious and you may be wondering why I didn't list it first. (Hint: It's because it was the most obvious.) I live in a suburb with just one library, but it hosts FIVE separate book clubs (and a monthly citywide read). I bet yours does, too.
A quick search of "book clubs" on Facebook will yield so many choices you will feel you've struck gold. Some of the groups choose one book per month with online discussion starters. Others encourage organic conversations by allowing members post whatever they are reading and letting spontaneous discussions erupt naturally. There are still other groups for enthusiasts of one particular book or series. It may take trial and error, but with the list of what you're looking for in hand, you will (eventually) find your people.
Oh my. If you haven't yet discovered all the groups & discussions that Goodreads has to offer, you are in for a treat! You can join a celebrity book club; you can find groups reading exactly what you are reading; you can discover groups reading the same books on your to-read list; there are people, events, and authors just waiting to be book buddies with you. (Pssst! I am one of them! Find me and let's connect!)
I chose NextDoor to find my people when I began my own neighborhood book club in 2020. I wanted to connect with people in person, people I could run into a the store or strolling through the neighborhood on my walks. NextDoor did that for me. I have nine new friends now and look forward to getting together with them around my fire pit on the second Tuesday evening of every month. "Bring a drink, a chair, and your opinions to share." It works for us.
These have been around for ages. A simple search for "book clubs" in your zip code will see you on your way to finding one that may tick all your boxes.
Silent Book Clubs
As an introvert, I'm singing the praises of the genius that came up with this idea.
My oldest daughter introduced me to the concept of the Silent Book Club
a while back and I think it is sheer awesomeness! She is such a fan that she began a local chapter in her own neighborhood. I'd bet there's one near you, too.
Don't let the work of finding the Book Club that is just right for you deter you from reaching your goal.
THE JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES
BEGINS WITH ONE STEP. - Lao Tzu
Take your first step today. And once you find your kind of people reading your kind of books, don't keep it to yourself. Start spreading the news!