THE LEIDENER

A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

How to Create Your Own Book Club

Joseph Anderson once said, “Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.” Considering the strain we’re all under, it’s important to take care of our emotional well-being; what better way to treat yourself than with a good book? Now, combine the book with some socializing and you got yourself a book club!

There are a lot of existing online book clubs, so if you want you can just pick one and join. However, you can also start your own book club, which gives you the freedom to decide on a book yourself and pick your fellow members. Sounds good? Here we go:

Step 1. Find Members

Without any other members, you’ll be effectively talking to yourself about the book, which is maybe not the best way to spend quarantine. So give your friends and family a call, and see whether they’re interested in joining. Ideally, you ask people who have somewhat similar reading-interests to you, which makes picking a book a bit easier.

person holding opened book

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Step 2. Pick a Book

This is an important one. So important, that I’ve decided to give it its own article, which you can find here: https://theleidener.com/2020/05/04/picking-a-book-for-your-book-club/

If you don’t want to read that, fine, I’m a little bit hurt but will summarize the most important points for you.

  1. Pick a book you all want to read. If one member has no interest at all, it’ll be less fun and they might have some motivational problems.
  2. Pick a book you can talk about. Besides the general “How did you like the chapters?”, it’s nice to talk about some deeper aspects. If you’re new to the whole book club business, it’s easiest to pick a classic. Like that, you can find a lot of good questions (per chapter) online and don’t have to come up with them yourself.
  3. Pick a book that suits your dedication. How much do you read usually? Are all your members frequent/fast readers? If so, you can try a longer book, but for the start it’s easiest to pick one below 500 pages.
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Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com

Step 3. Set Some Rules

Now come the technicalities: How often are you gonna meet? How many chapters/pages are you reading before each meeting? Who comes up with discussion questions? Is anyone keeping a protocol (just kidding, but you do you!)?

Also, it’s important to figure out whether you’re agreeing on discussion questions beforehand (so you can pay special attention when reading) or whether you publish them during the meeting.

Step 4. The Discussion

brass colored chandelier

Photo by Emre Can on Pexels.com

As mentioned in step 3, there are a lot of ways to do this. Depending on the book you chose, you can find a lot of questions online.

Here are some general questions that you can ask:

  • What was your favourite part?
  • What do you think about this particular character development?
  • Do you have a hunch about what’s going to happen next?
  • Who was your favourite character, and why?
  • Is there anything you dislike?
  • Was it hard to read, or were you captivated?

Step 5. Have Fun!

This is by far the most important. Sure, a little peer-pressure can make sure that you keep on reading, but make sure that you stay flexible. One member really didn’t make all the chapters? Go easy on them (and yourself), you can always reschedule or talk about fewer chapters. You are doing this for yourself, so keep it light and pressure-free.

I’d love to know what you’re reading right now! Is it any good? Let me know in the comments!

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This entry was posted on May 4, 2020 by in Laura, Leisure, Student Life, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , .
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