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Six steps to ensuring a lively book discussion

I have recently joined a new book club through my workplace and I am very excited about it. What I’m most excited about is that I’m not running this one, after I ran one a few years ago and just grew frustrated with it. This time, all I have to do is read the assigned book, show up to the meeting, and contribute to the discussion. Simple! Well, you’d think it would be that simple, but books clubs in general can be a source of frustration if people only approach it half-arsed. So here are my personal top steps that all book club members should take to ensure a lively book discussion.

  1. Read the damn book. If you don’t have time to read, maybe you shouldn’t have joined a book club. If you’re not enjoying the book, too bad; people probably didn’t enjoy yours when it was your turn to pick, either. When there are polarising views on a book it makes for fantastic discussions which is the entire point of book clubs. So read the damn book! I realise that sometimes life gets in the way, but this should be the exception, not your standard excuse.
  2. Think about why you liked or disliked either the book, plot or characters. Simply telling the group ‘yeah, it was good’ does not a conversation starter make. If you put a little thought into this beforehand it’ll help engage others in the discussion.
  3. If need be, write it down. If some lines in particular made you giggle or spoke to you, write them down and share them with others. If a discussion topic pops into your head as you’re reading through the book, jot it down. Good book clubs should be open to anyone starting a discussion, not just ‘the leader’.
  4. Turn up to the meetings. Otherwise, why do steps 1-3? Again, things can come up which prevent you from attending, but don’t be a constant absentee (or you may as well give up your spot for someone else).
  5. Put some thought into the books you’d like others to read. One of the main reasons people join a book club is to read books they wouldn’t normally pick up, but some members may also be sensitive to certain things, e.g. excessive violence. Be mindful of these things. Also, think about the length of the book prior to suggesting it.
  6. Have fun! Yes, this is a cheesy step to end on, but these kinds of hobbies are supposed to be fun, not a chore, so if it starts feeling like one, it might be time to take a break, and that’s perfectly okay.

Are you in a book club? What are your top tips?

Published inReading


  1. I have to admit, while the bookclub I joined several years ago started off as a proper bookclub, it eventually became more about the wine, food and gossip than the books. Reading the book is an optional extra, but we do give a trophy at the end of the year to the most committed book-reading member.
    So, while I would fail miserably at your bookclub member suggestions, they did make think about a promise I made to myself to this year about working on reviewing books properly and being a good Goodreads community member.
    Thanks for the post!

    • Melinda Kovac Melinda Kovac

      I suspect the one I’ve joined will end up the same way! We have our meetings in a pub that has $10 pizzas. Perhaps this post should be re-titled ‘Six steps to attempt for a lively book discussion’ 😀
      Thanks for popping by and commenting 🙂

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