What’s better than eating yummy food, hanging with your friends, and talking about books? Doing all three at the same time! Seriously, we owe so much to the genius behind book clubs. First time hosting? We’ve got you covered with these book club ideas that will make you the best host ever.
Book Club Ideas That Will Totally Impress Your Friends
Before we get into book club ideas about what to read and how to host, you first need to assemble your squad. The obvious place to start is with your super best friends, but keep in mind that not everyone loves to read. (We know! It’s crazy!) Don’t be afraid to extend invites to casual acquaintances, classmates, coworkers, teammates, and friends of friends as well. You may not be BFF right now, but book club might bring you closer together!
Be real with people about your expectations, though. A great book club member comes prepared, shares their ideas, and listens when others are talking. You want to make sure you’re going to have a good time with your book club members. Whether you’re looking for a second dose of English class, or a catch-up sesh with a dash of literature, you should meet with others who share the same vision for the book club. This includes how often your club will meet!
Okay, you’ve got your list of members on lock. Now you need some book club ideas about how to choose your read!
Every club handles this differently, but two common approaches are allowing the entire club to vote monthly (or bi-monthly, however frequently you meet) on a list of titles, or rotating whose turn it is to pick. Voting is very democratic, but could get tricky (how many titles do you vote on? Who chooses the initial list of options?).
The simplest approach is to allow a different person to choose per month, and then have them host at their home or another location of their choosing (more on that below). Bonus: by doing it this way, you’ll end up reading books you may not have chosen to pick up on your own!
Either way, you want to select a book you’ll enjoy reading AND discussing with your book pals. It can be fun to pick a recent bestseller everyone is talking about, but don’t be afraid to choose a book that isn’t on everyone’s radar. Some other book club ideas for things to keep in mind:
If you or your buddies are on a budget: Consider only choosing books that are available in paperback (paperback editions of books tend to be cheaper than hardcovers). Or make your selection from a list of e-books available at a temporarily discounted price. And don’t forget the library–most public library systems allow patrons to check out e-books for free.
If you know everybody is super busy: Choose a book that’s on the shorter side, to make it easier for people to read within a certain time frame. Also, most e-retailers and online library catalogs will have the number of pages a book has displayed somewhere on the title’s page. Somewhere between 250-350 pages is the length you’ll want to shoot for. Here’s a list of short books that will give you lots to talk about.
If everybody has totally different tastes: Don’t worry too much about that. Book club is meant to open us up to experiencing varying types of literature. Pick something you want to read when it’s your turn to choose, and let everyone else do the same. And don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone! Books teach us empathy, so open yourself up to traveling a few hundred pages in the shoes of someone different than you.
Still need some help? Here are some book lists to get you started:
- Historical Fiction Books You Don’t Want to Miss
- YA LGBTQIA+ Books You Need to Read ASAP
- Books With Multiple Perspectives
- #OwnVoices Novels You Need to Read Right Now
- Books Ripped Straight from the Headlines
- YA Books Featuring Strong Female Characters
- Books That Will Help You Start a Conversation About Social Change
- Series Starters We Know You’re Going to Love
- Books That Will Make You Cry
- Young Adult Fantasy Books You have to Read
- Books Being Made Into Movies That You Need to Read ASAP
- Engrossing Contemporary Novels to Read Right Now
- Electrifying Science Fiction Reads for Newbies
The options for where to meet are endless! It can be fun to rotate meeting in members’ homes. Or, you could try out that new restaurant with the comfy chairs and fireplace. If the weather’s nice, you could even go outside to a nearby park–this is one of the best book club ideas ever, because it combines reading and getting in your daily dose of vitamin D.
As long as you keep your voices down, your library might be thrilled to see your book club from time to time. (Also a great time to pick your next read!) And if you find yourself in a long-distance book club, a group video chat is perfect.
Honestly, the location for book club doesn’t matter as long as you’re together. (D’awww!)
Book club ideas for successful snacks: they should be abundant, tasty, and easy to eat! I love a good bowl of Cheetos, but I definitely don’t want orange fingerprints all over my book when I’m paging through to point out my favorite parts.
And don’t forget to get the scoop on your guests’ dietary restrictions. Don’t be that person who puts bacon in everything when you know you have some vegetarians coming over. Here’s a list of great book club snacks to inspire your culinary endeavors.
If hosting book club AND providing the food is a lot to manage, suggest making it a potluck or have everyone bring their favorite snack to go along with a theme.
Remember those scenes in The Lord of the Flies when it was total chaos? Sometimes a little bit of order is a good thing. I’m not saying this has to be Literature 101 or anything, but one of our best book club ideas is to have a little plan of how to discuss your book club’s pick.
One of the best book club ideas for how to get the conversation started is to go around and have each person share whether they liked the read, plus one topic they’d like to talk about. It’s also helpful to have one person designated as the leader to keep the discussion flowing and make sure everyone who wants to contribute gets their chance.
Publishers sometimes create reading group guides to help a book club host out with some discussion questions. Here’s a list of YA books with reading group guides available to take the burden off you in those quiet moments.