Published: September 06. 2012 2:26PM
Written by Barbara Robertson
September is a terrific time to form a book club. Want to give it a try? Here are some tips.
Decide what kind of experience you are seeking. One inherent aspect of a group gathering is the social component. Before you begin though, make sure you are clear about your priorities. If you truly want to read and discuss books, strive to invite like-minded friends. It will still be fun, and everyone will be on the same page — no pun intended.
Start with a manageable number, about 10 to 15 people. A club can always grow, but it is difficult to shrink.
Pick a consistent date to meet, for example, the second Monday of the month. Choose a time. Lunch or around 7 p.m. often works well. Pick a meeting place. It is nice to meet in someone’s home because you can really talk. Alternating homes and hosts each month prevents burdening one or two members.
Ideas for your book club selections
Designate each month with a specific genre. Here are some ideas:
• October: bestsellers
• November: classics
• December: Skip this month because of the holidays
• January: Pulitzer Prize winners
• February: Southern fiction
• March: self help
• April: literary fiction
• May: nonfiction
Because so many people take vacations during the summer, many clubs don’t meet during those months.
There are a few ways to do this.
• Poll book club members and vote on their selections. The top books are then read.
• Use the Internet. There are numerous sites that suggest books geared specifically for book clubs.
• Divide your club into subgroups of two or three members. The smaller groups are responsible for selecting, researching and presenting the book. In addition, they would host the book club that month.
A combination of the above methods also works well. Whatever method you use to select books, I highly recommend having at least one person — who has researched the author and book — lead the discussion. There are easy-to-find publisher websites with reader guides and other helpful information.
One other suggestion: Try to pick your books as far in advance as possible. Everyone is busy and it is nice to have plenty of lead-time to read. Moreover, the discussion is much better when everyone has read the book.
“My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.” — Abraham Lincoln
My September Book Pick
“The Kitchen House” — By Kathleen Grissom
Six-year-old Lavinia, a red-haired, freckled, newly orphaned girl fresh off the boat from Ireland is taken in as an indentured servant to live on the plantation of the captain of the ship. The story begins in the late 1700s. Lavinia lives and works in the kitchen house with the slaves. They become her family. Lavinia does not see or understand the boundaries set in place by the color of one’s skin. “The Kitchen House” captures the reader’s attention and heart from the onset. In addition, it provides a unique look into what life might have been like for slaves, Irish immigrants and “people of the Big house.” It would be an excellent selection for a book club.
Another great choice for book clubs:
“The Power of One” — By Bryce Courtenay
As I was thinking of books that I actually did read in my book club, “The Power of One” was first to come to mind. To sum this book up in one word: inspiring.
During World War II, 5-year-old Peekay is torn from his family and placed in a harsh Afrikaans-language boarding school in South Africa. As the only English-speaking student, Peekay is a target for persecution from the beginning. His resilience and survival ability see him though. The book details Peekay’s metamorphoses from a weak, friendless boy into a successful boxer. However, it is Peekay’s inner strength and faith in the goodness of people that will leave the reader believing that one person truly can make a difference.