I love my book club! Some of our guidelines …
We try to mix up current stuff and classic stuff. Sometimes we pair two books on a related theme, and do a “compare and contrast” type discussion.
Since we also read older books, the rule is that books have to be in print, and available in paperback. Buying hardcovers seems like a lot to ask, as does tracking down used copies of out of print books.
It’s funny how not all books that are fun to read are fun to discuss. Sometimes, a good book just makes you say “wow, that was a good book” and then you realize that you don’t have any other comments. Sometimes books that you HATE are more fun to discuss. There was one book that we just ripped to shreds, and I found myself rereading it the other day because my memories of it are so fond!
Not everyone has to be a book leader. Some people enjoy leading the discussion a lot, and others feel uncomfortable being the center of attention. That’s fine with us – the people who like it are generally better leaders anyway. If people just want to read and talk, but not lead, that’s great and they’re welcome at the club.
The schedule of books gets set every September for the upcoming year. Pretty much everyone who wants to suggest a book can get one on the schedule. If you miss that meeting, you don’t get a vote. We’re fairly laid back about this, no one has ever gone off in a huff because of the book selection. I like picking a year’s worth – then you know what’s coming up so you can read ahead if you’re going to be on vacation or something where you have a lot of reading time.
I think mostly because we’re in NYC, we usually meet in a cafe in a bookstore instead of in someone’s home. A lot of people have very small apartments, and it’s hard to accommodate a group of our size. This works out well for us, people buy whatever they want to eat or drink, so some are having coffee while others grab a full meal, and best of all, no clean up.
At the holidays, we do a Yankee swap of gently used books. This is always a lot of fun.