Sunday, April 30, 2017

Recipe for a Successful Book Club

I adore my book club. 

When we first started this journey together, we weren't entirely sure WHAT we were looking for in a monthly gathering, but we knew (from a past experience) exactly what we did not want. We did NOT want it to be a "Mommy's Night Out" group.**

**Disclaimer: if you need a night out to open a bottle of wine, discuss work and the exhausting things your kids did this week, and not so much as mention a book you've read lately, I'm all for it. Go nuts. But please, don't call what you're doing a "Book Club" because frankly, it sullies the name for proud book nerds such as myself. 😉

So, a few of us got together and proposed, "We should try it THIS way...." And I'm happy to say it's been working for us for seven years.

1. We keep it a small group gathering of six people, and always meet in the same location. We found that with large numbers of people in the room, there are often 37 million different conversations going on (hello hyperbole, my old friend), so we found it difficult to manage. And six people fit beautifully around a dining table!! However, our members that have moved away know that there will ALWAYS be a seat available for them. 😊

2. We take turns choosing the rotates to a different member each month. At the beginning, there was some pressure, like, "What if they don't LIKE this title?" But...we got over it. One of the best things about our group is the exposure to titles that we might not otherwise have picked up on our own.  

3. Each member is responsible for one of the menu items. The person who has chosen our title for the month brings the main dish, and everyone else signs up for the other items...appetizer, salad, side dish, dessert, drinks.

4. We kind of fell into a "schedule". As everyone arrives we enjoy drinks and appetizers, and catch up with each other. Then we sit down to dinner (or sometimes brunch). Usually this is the quietest time, because let me tell you, this group can COOK! When we have pushed back from the table, the person who chose the book pulls out the discussion questions and we get to work. Do we sometimes go off script? Sure. But this portion of our time together is strictly focused on the book. As we enjoy our dessert, the next member in the rotation reveals next month's title. 

In seven years, we have read a fine assortment of titles. Listed below are a few of my favorites:

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan
The Fault in our Stars by John Green
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

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