Thursday, March 1, 2012

What makes a good bookclub?

I joined a bookclub this week. Despite being a book gatherer, avid reader and a regular bookshop customer, I've never once belonged to a bookclub. And to be honest I'm not actually all that familiar with "bookclub protocol".

I began looking for a bookclub to join at the beginning of the year, but that was a challenge in itself! It seems bookclub membership is very hard to come by! Why is that I wonder? One reply told me they didn't have any places available - is there a limit to the number of members a bookclub can have?

That's not to say the bookclub meeting I attended this week wasn't worth the wait. Although discussion about the book was a little on the subdued side - none of us really took a liking to it! - it was a pleasant hour spent discussing, constructively criticising and musing about the story within.

However it's got me thinking and wondering what are the elements you need to make a good bookclub? Is it the people? The number of members? The choice of literature? The venue? The coffee?

So, fellow book loving bloggers, whether you're a member of a bookclub or not, what would you say makes a good bookclub (and what doesn't!)?


  1. I was in a book club that I really enjoyed for awhile but as people dropped out and joined the atmosphere changed away from discussing books and toward gossip so I left. I'm not sure there is such a thing as a 'good' or 'bad' book club. What we need to do is to find one that fills our needs. Book clubs are hard to find and join - sometimes it's just as good to start your own. It's usually not hard to find members and then you are sure the club will meet your needs.

  2. The best book clubs are those where the members really want to expand their reading and are happy to read anything and then are happy to accept the other members' opinion. The best discussions happen when about half of the members didn't like the book and the other half loved it. So much to learn from each other. I have been a member of several book clubs and I have to agree with Dana who wrote before me, I left one because all they did was gossip, the book was only touched slightly.

  3. I'll put the question to our bookclub !
    I started the club with 12 members. It was too many we found. The group tended to braek into two groups. 6 to 10 is fine. All reading the same book means much deeper discussions and we use set questions as a launching pad.Some rules, like one speaker at a time, need to be touched on now and then. I joined a group where we talked about what we were individually reading, but I missed the indepth discussion. I hope you continue to enjoy your bookclub. Ours is 27 year old this year! xoxo

  4. I recently joined a book club, too and the meet was both good and bad. I loved that I finally found people with similar interests to discuss books and bookish opinions with. But in my book club, there are questions and answers, and suggestions on how you should discuss books and what things we should talk about and how long (I don't know, if all clubs have that sort of orderliness) but I would have liked some free, slightly chaotic discussion! I guess there shouldn't be more than 6-7 people in the club to make it really worthwhile...