8 Tips for Starting a Book Club That Isn’t Just a Wine Club
We’ve always been avid readers (and not just because of that intoxicating old book smell), and since Emma Watson debuted her book club earlier this year, we’ve been feeling super inspired to start our own club with the bookish babes in our lives. Here’s the thing, though: More often than not, book clubs quickly become wine clubs. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little wine with our literary chats, we’re ready to bring our brains to our book club and leave the Drake and RiRi gossip to Saturday night cocktails. With that in mind, we’ve put together eight tips that’ll get you and your ladies on the literary up and up in no time.
1. Make it a mix of friends and strangers. The quickest way for your book club to turn into an hour-long catch-up sesh is by only including your besties in the mix. Have friends invite coworkers, sisters-in-law or gym buddies who don’t know each other for a well-rounded group. The result will be a circle of passionate readers coming from different points of view and will make for some truly enlightening discussion. Trust.
2. Don’t opt for anything too hard or too easy. Sure, choosing a fluffy romp like The Regulars will ensure everyone can finish the book on time, but probably won’t elicit much discussion beyond “I liked it!” Likewise, trying to dig into War and Peace may be a bit too ambitious for an hour’s discussion (or to read in one month!). We suggest choosing contemporary, character-driven novels like Donna Tartt’s The Secret History or Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff to spark passionate, thoughtful conversations. To mix it up, choose books in different genres, like travel or sci-fi, to intro the group to things they never would’ve read on their own.
3. Use digital resources and book club websites. A major reason book clubs start to fumble is because they’re not super organized. We get it — it’s already tough to fit in time to read your monthly book, let alone manage the club and spark a fun discussion. But creating a Google Doc for book recs and extra info and a calendar event will make everyone feel more connected (and accountable). Better yet, make your club official and create a place to share with each other on Book Movement. Also, don’t let something super fun and enriching like a book club become a burden! Tap into book ideas and ready-to-go discussion guides from Emma Watson, Reese Witherspoon and readinggroupguides.com.
4. Designate a new discussion leader for each book. It works best if this person also chooses the book, since giving everyone a sense of ownership of a meeting will encourage your ladies to participate in a real way. This person should also come equipped with questions, thoughts and any interesting antidotes about the book or author to help facilitate the discussion if it gets stuck. Better yet, have this person send a few (non-spoiler) questions or share interesting related news articles or info about the book a few times before the meeting.
5. Talk to the author themselves. What could be more exciting for book nerds than talking to the author? Author chats over speaker phone or video chat are actually pretty easy to arrange and they’re free. We repeat: This awesome perk is FREE. Email the author, let them know your book club chose their book, let them know the day and time of your meeting and see if they can attend. Publishing houses like Knopf Doubleday and Random House also have request forms online. You’ll be talking about this meeting and all the things you learned straight from the source for a long time.
6. Play an ice-breaker game. Literary-themed or not, playing a game will relax your group and get the convo flowing. Break out a quick game like Bananagrams, or create a book-themed game to facilitate discussion. Go beyond trivia, and play a few of Lit Lovers unique games (Alphabet Soup and Extend the End sound super fun!), or have each person read the funniest tweet they found about the book.
7. Encourage people to donate a book for a mini-book swap. If you’ve been reading with your group for a few months, chances are your members have bonded over more lit picks than just the monthly read. Ask members to bring in a recent read they recommend for a mini-book swap. We’re not gonna lie, free stuff is definitely a draw.
8. Switch up the location. Find a comfortable coffee shop, wine bar or living room that everyone can afford, and you’ll definitely make book club harder for people to pass up. Members won’t only look forward to the discussion, but visiting a cool new wine bar or solid fave cafe. The more comfortable and convenient the spot, the more you’ll want to linger.
Which book is your book club reading next? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know what we should add to our list!
(Photos via Getty)
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
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Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.