So you joined a book club, now what?
Perhaps a friend or coworker suggested a book club for you, or there is a book that you have wanted to read for a while and coincidentally an organization is running a book club with your book of choice, so you signed up.
But now the pressure is on. What is the best way to participate and contribute to the book club?
First and foremost, unless you have signed up for a particular duty related to the book club, your main goal for the book club should be your own personal enrichment. It is okay to be selfish with this! You want to get the most out of this book club for yourself. If you do this well, you will find that oddly, it could help others in the group.
What Tools Do You Need
- Time – This seems obvious, but be sure to give yourself time to read the book, but also enough time to digest what you read. I will detail this further later in this blog.
- Physical notebook or digital notebook – you want to use this tool to gather your thoughts about the reading piece.
- The book- you don’t necessarily need to purchase it. You can borrow from the library or a friend.
Get the Most Out of It
“To read without thinking is like eating without digesting.” –Edmund Burke
- If your book club provides guide questions, by all means use them! You want to read the guide questions before each chapter. Then, while reading try to find the answers to those questions. Doing this could prepare you for the discussion when the book club meets.
- When you are reading, if there is something that really moves you, take a moment to write about it in your physical or digital notebook. Perhaps it is a line that makes you think deeply; or it resonates with something that happened in your own life. Either way, when what you are reading evokes a strong emotion in you, take the time to explore that emotion and write about it. You should notate the particular quote that had an effect on you, along with the page number. The write your thoughts. Some writing prompts for that activity are as follows:
- This quote made me (angry, sad, happy, nostalgic, etc.) because……
- This quote reminded me of a time when x happened to me……
- This saying reminded me of my (friend, family member, loved one, etc.)
- This quote reminded me of a scene in another book I read. Compare the two.
- Write down any questions you have. Maybe something that a character does makes no sense to you. Write a question about it. Maybe you question why the author made a particular choice? Write that question down and bring it to the discussion. You never know, someone else in the group may have the same questions.
- Summarize each chapter when its done. If you take no other notes, a great way to take organized notes is to simply summarize each chapter once complete. Doing so can help you navigate through the book quickly while discussing.
What if you Didn’t Read the Book?
Don’t panic. It’s okay – it happens sometimes. Still attend the meeting. If you are put on the spot, just be honest. But listen to what other people have to say about the book. Even though you didn’t read it, listening to other people’s insight can still help you have an understanding of the themes and lessons learned through the story or narrative. And perhaps it will motivate you to read the book. 🙂
I hope that this covers the basics of participating in a book club. If you have any questions or need some further advise, feel free to comment below.