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How to Start a Book Club

book club

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.”

—George R. R. Martin

There are a lot of reasons to create a club. Maybe you just want to socialize more and make new friends. Or maybe you have some reading goals to reach this year. The reason for creating your book club will determine the club’s purpose which then might determine how it’s run.

Step 1: Decide the Purpose of Your Book Club and its Name

For instance, if you are making a book club for purely social reasons, then you might decide on fun books and a meeting place that facilitates chatting and hanging out. But if the purpose of the club is more academic, then you’ll choose heavier books and put more time and effort into creating a group discussion plan.

It is also helpful to put a name to your book club so that you can easily refer to the club using a name. It doesn’t have to be anything too clever. You could simply call it Jane’s Book Club if your name is Jane. Or you could have a brainstorming session with the group and then vote on the most popular name idea.

Step 2: Decide Who You’re Inviting

The ideal number of members in a book club ranges between 8 and 16 members. You want enough people to create interesting group discussions, but not so many people that the group gets out of hand.

If you are unsure about who to invite, then you can simply invite 2 to 3 people and have them each invite their own 2 to 3 people. That way you’ll have a diverse group.

You can also post flyers around your community with the details of your first meeting if you want to gather a completely new group. This can be a great way to meet new people and make new friends. Then you can hold your meetings in public places where everyone can easily meet together regardless of their schedules.

Step 3: Decide on a Meeting Place

When scheduling your book club meet-ups you’ll need to decide on where and when. There are several options available to you for where you and your fellow group members could meet. Where and when you decide will mostly depend on the availability and preferences of your group members.

You could meet online
  • Google Hangouts
  • Facebook Video Calls
  • Skype
  • Online forums
  • Group Messenger
You could meet in person
  • a coffee shop
  • a restaurant where you can eat together and discuss
  • someone’s house
  • the local library

Step 4: Create a Reading List

One of the hard parts of creating a book club is getting everyone to agree on what books to read. It helps if you decide on how reading lists will be determined as soon as possible.

Maybe you, as the leader of the book club, will make all reading list decisions. Or maybe everyone will vote on which books to read at the first meeting. You could also take turns in the group for who gets to pick the next book.

Download a Free PDF Printable for a Yearly Reading List

Your book club might also have a specific purpose, like to read all the books by Dave Ramsey. If that’s the case then your book club’s reading list is already decided!

You could also just read a book about a book club! The Jane Austen Book Club is a New York Times Bestseller written by Karen Joy Fowler and has since become a major motion picture.

Step 5: Make the Schedule

Once you have a reading list it’s time to schedule out your reading assignments and group discussions. Generally, scheduling to read a chapter a week isn’t too difficult of a reading assignment, but this might depend on the book you’re all reading.

Take into account how quickly you want to go through each book, the number of pages in each chapter, and how often you want your group to meet.

It might also help to create a calendar for your group so that everyone is on the same page. You can create a group calendar on google calendars, or you can print one to pass out to everyone.

Download a Free PDF Printable of a Book Club Calendar Template

Step 6: Decide How Everyone is Getting their Books

Will everyone just buy them or will you all use kindle unlimited or used copies? Depending on your group size there may be enough copies at the local library, but this isn’t likely. Most book clubs let everyone be in charge of getting their own books.

You could also do a traveling book idea where you share one copy of the book. Then you can alternate on who buys the book and who the book ends up with at the end. This would be a more inexpensive way to run a book club, but your group discussions would be farther apart.

If you decide to go in together on book costs, you can use a Check City Prepaid Debit Card to consolidate your group’s funds on one card to buy the books. You can also use prepaid debit cards to help your group pay for things like refreshments.

Step 7: Format the Discussions

Whether you’re meeting online or in person, you’ll need to format your group discussions. If you come to group discussions unprepared, or without someone to help lead the discussion, you might end up with lots of awkward silences.

To avoid long silences in your group discussion, come with a list of interesting questions about the section you all just read. You can also send a question or two from this list to everyone before you meet, and have everyone prepare their own answers beforehand. That way everyone has already thought of some things to say.

Another part of formatting the discussions that you don’t want to forget is to create discussion rules or guidelines. If disagreements arise you want to have clear outlines in place dictating what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior in group discussions. These outlines can help keep discussions civil and productive.

Resources for Book Clubs

Need some extra help getting started? You can find all kinds of resources online to help create your book club. Here are just a few book club resources you can use:

Book Club Apps
Book Club Websites
  • BookClubz.com is an online platform that allows you to create and organize your book club.
  • Reddit has subreddits for almost any book, full of great discussion topics you can use in your own group.
  • TapaTalk allows you to create an online community forum.
  • Wikipedia has a long list of book genres that can help you brainstorm reading list ideas.
  • Bookstr can help you find book lists and news all about books.

Book Clubs You Can Join

Scholastic Book Club

Scholastic book clubs can be created by teachers or parents for their kids! They’re easy to set up. You can even follow their how-to videos to help get you started.

All you have to do is create an account, let your kids choose their books, and the Book Box arrives in class! Scholastic books will even help teachers build a classroom library. Scholastic Books is a corporation all about helping kids get excited about reading.

Reese Witherspoon Book Club

Reese Witherspoon has her own book club that you can also join. You can connect to her book club in a number of ways, through Facebook, Instagram, GoodReads, or even Audible.

Reese’s Book Club reads a new book each month, hand-picked by Reese Witherspoon herself. She picks books with great female protagonists, that a gigantic following of people can read together and talk about!

Oprah’s Book Club

Oprah’s book club is one of the biggest, most long-standing book clubs to date. Oprah started her book club in 1996 as part of the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Oprah’s Book Club eventually launched what she called, Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 that now uses social media and e-readers to keep the famous book club going. She also handpicks a new book each month for her book club followers to read.

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of starting a book club then just join a book club that already exists! You might even find a preexisting book club in your local neighborhood.

 

You have so much to gain from creating a book club. You can make new friends, schedule in some much needed socializing, and read some great literature. Book clubs are also a really easy club to put together but will offer you and your fellow members years of fun to come.


Make Your Own Adventure Club and Get Outside!

outdoor-club-adventure

As a kid you were probably forced outdoors at some point during the day to play outside and get your energy out. You probably noticed as you got older that now, if you want to get outside time you have to provide it for yourself. And if you live in an apartment or the city you may not be able to get quality outdoors time just by going into your backyard. If you live in the city you might have to plan your outdoor time even more as you coordinate trips to local outdoor hot spots. Getting yourself out in nature might be easier if you form a like-minded group to get you going. With the steps and tips below you can make your own Adventure Club and explore nature with your friends!

Why Going Outside is Good for You

Get vitamin D. You can actually get vitamin D from sun exposure. Vitamin D is very important to our health and it doesn’t always come in abundance in the foods we eat. One of the best ways to get your daily dose of Vitamin D is through being outside in the sunshine. It can help you have strong bones and protect you from certain diseases and ailments. Improves your immune system.
Opportunity to exercise. Unless you’re sitting in a chair it’s hard not to exercise at least a little whenever you go outside. And every ounce of exercise contributes to your overall health! Even a short stroll outside can do wonders for your physical health.
Elevate your mood. A lot of things about being outside can give your mood a healthy boost. The light, the sun, the fresh air, or the flowers and trees can help you feel a little better about the world if you give them the chance. But there are also studies to support this idea. The National Institute of Health (NIH) found in a study of theirs that just walking outside for a bit each day boosts creativity by 81%. Who knows what creative potential you might unleash just by getting yourself outside a little each day!
Good for children. Studies show that being outdoors helps kids focus better. Spending at least an hour outside every day can increase their focus, overall wellbeing, and help them get better grades.
It can be easy to let kids go run around outside and get all the exercise and vitamin D they need, but as we get older it can become harder to find time to get outside. One way to make getting outside easier is to give your outdoor time some kind of purpose.

  • Exercise outside.
  • Go for a daily stroll at the same time.
  • Get outdoor furniture. Once you have some place to set up camp outside, it can be easier to take things you normally do indoors, outdoors while you soak up some sunshine.
  • Make your outside time a group activity by creating your own outdoors club!

outside-nature

What Kind of Outdoor Club Do You Want to Do?

There are many things to do outside and everyone has different interests. Some people really like swimming, or hiking, or kayaking. What outdoor activities most interest you? These are the things you’ll want to incorporate in the purpose of your outdoors club. Having a clear purpose for your club will help a lot once you start bringing other people into the group and involving them in planning.
You can focus on one thing. You can make it a club all about just one thing you know you like to do:

  • Skiing
  • Hiking
  • A sport
  • Swimming
  • Camping
  • Backpacking
  • Running
  • Kayaking
  • Biking

Or you can involve many outdoor activities. Instead of making a hiking group, you can decide to make an adventure club! That way you can plan activities around all things adventuresome.

Whatever the purpose of your outdoor club, you’ll also want to keep in mind who you want to invite to the group and the level of difficulty everyone will be ok with. For instance, hikes and trails are often ranked by difficulty. They can be considered easy, moderate, or hard. So while you are deciding your club’s purpose remember to also consider the level of experience and difficulty you want to involve, and remember to disclose these things to those you invite to the group.

Who Do You Want in the Group?

Outdoor groups can be for all groups of people! You can make no restrictions about who can join the club, or you can decide to make your group exclusive in some way. For example, if you’re a dad looking to bond with your kids through fishing, you might make a fishing club specifically for dads and their kids. You can also restrict the group to certain age groups, like if you’re interested in getting to know more people your age.

Logistics

The last thing you’ll want to figure out before publishing your new group is all the logistics. Below are a couple questions to consider and make decisions about before going live with your new club idea.

  • How are people going to get places?
  • How are you going to get equipment?
  • How will your group stay in contact?

Maybe you’ll expect everyone to use their own cars and equipment to get places, or maybe you’ll want to talk to local rental places for any equipment your group might need. You can also keep in contact with your group in many ways. If you all know each other you can simply create a group text message. Or you can make a Facebook group, or use other messaging apps like Slack, or GroupMe. There are almost infinite options nowadays for where to keep your group’s base of operations.
flyer-outdoors-club

Now that you have your group all set up you can start reaching out for people to start joining. One great way to get members is to create a public Facebook group online. You can also try inviting some people you know and ask them to bring a member or two of their own.

You can also make flyers to hang up around town to meet new people! A flyer doesn’t have to be complicated, just make sure it has all the information they’ll need.

Fun Ideas

There are endless ways you can really have fun with getting more involved in your community and getting to know new people through starting a club like this.

  • Bring snacks.
  • Have a group potluck event.
  • Be educational. You can make a presentation about outdoor etiquette, safety, or hire a trial guide to teach your group about different plants you come across during your hike.
  • Do volunteer work every other month. You can volunteer to clean up a place you visit.
  • Make a website, a blog, or social media accounts for your group and post about the trips and activities you do!

Other Good Ideas

  • Have regular meetings.
  • Assign responsibilities to different people. You can nominate different group members to be the President, Vice President, Trip Coordinator, Treasurer, or Social Media Manager.
  • Fundraise for your trips. You can have a group yard sale or bake off to save up money for your bigger trips or activities. Sometimes your outdoor adventures are going to require fast funds while you’re in between paychecks. If your Adventure group finds itself short on cash, you can always get a payday loan or a personal loan from Check City and pay it back when you return from your trip.

Getting yourself outside is important. The great outdoors are meant to be appreciated and can shower you with mental and physical benefits. You don’t have to go through the trouble of making an outdoor club to get outside, but it can help motivate you to make going outside more of a habit, and who knows! You might just make some great new friends along the way.


READ MORE
Read all about vitamin D and it’s health benefits.
 
Check out another Check City Blog article, “Getting Outside This Spring” to learn some other great ways to get outdoors more often!
 
FEATURE IMAGE BY PETER CONLAN
OTHER IMAGES BY BLAKE LISK

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