Have a book club and need some questions to lead a discussion?
Well, here you are! (Plus some tips below on how to make a book club fun and keep them coming back!)
Questions about The Chatham Series by Doris Vilk – Love Arrested, Love Attempted, Love Avenged.
- Who was your favorite character and why?
- Did you identify with any of the characters or scenes? What drew you out?
- Did you find Susan to be an empowered woman or did you see her as too naive and gullible?
- We’re some characters developed too much or not enough for your preference?
- Would you like to see some of the characters in a new series?
- Did you find the violence too strong or wanted more?
- Were you satisfied as a reader or left wanting more?
- What changes would you have made if you were the writer?
- Would you recommend this book to others that are into erotic, romantic, thrillers? Why? Why not?
What’s your book club like? How do you make it successful — we want to know! Let’s face it, book clubs are fantastic in theory, but they’re really hard to pull off successfully in real life. Whether you’re an avid reader or not, it’s a fun excuse to share ideas (and some wine) with a few friends. Many of us have been in book clubs that have crumbled quickly or felt a bit more like school than a social activity. But what if book club was actually fun instead of stressful? What if the books were actually interesting instead of just impressive? Here are a few tips to creating a successful book club.
1. Choose a demographic: If you are planning to read only chick lit, don’t try to make it a couples book club. This goes for you too, guys… not willing to read anything fiction or that doesn’t have a war, sports event, or serial killer in it? Don’t join the co-ed group that might want to mix it up. However, obsessed with war? Can’t get enough Young Adult? Then find others who adore the same genres and go from there!
2. Try to pick books that are under 400 pages: Somewhere around 300 pages seems to work best, long enough to be meaningful, short enough that people can finish. Honestly, most book clubs are more social than literary, but that’s part of the fun! The book is just a great excuse to get together. So, save your Tolstoy for your own reading challenge and choose books that have quick, engaging plots. It will always be more fun to get together with a group that has actually read the book rather than two people who have and five people who didn’t get past chapter three.
3. Be realistic with your schedule: Every month is a lot even for avid readers. Most people have a list of books that they would like to read, so if you are having book club every month it means they are having to put those books on the back burner (or are reading those books instead of the book club selection). Aim for every other month for a good balance (or even once a quarter if you’re ok with a bigger gap). It’s also important to keep to a time schedule. Two hours is a good amount of time to plan for. The first 45 minutes or so can be for #s 4 and 5 (below) and then the next hour and fifteen for the book. If you’re leading, keep people on track so that the night doesn’t drag on.
4. Incorporate food. Feed people: Make a sign-up sheet and rotate who is bringing what. Trying to get home for dinner after work and then speed over to book club makes for some late people, puts off the discussion, and has everyone leaving later than they had planned (and less likely to want to come back).
5. Allow for some hang out time: It’s pretty hard to jump right into the discussion of a book the moment everyone arrives – it makes for a school-like atmosphere. Allow time for people to decompress from their day and catch up with each other. This is the perfect time to eat (#4). Afterward you can move away from the table and offer drinks to signal the time to start chatting about the book. If you are leading the night, refer to #3 – best to have people leave wanting more time than leave after having spent the last half hour devising a plan to get out of the next book club.