When we bought our house over ten years ago, we really weren’t aware that we were buying into one of the best neighborhoods ever. Seriously. We talk about how lucky we are every day that there is just an amazing group of people all plopped onto our street. And within that group of people, is basically the best book club ever.
The book club has been formed before I even moved in– it’s probably 11 or 12 years strong now.
Many of my friends are in book clubs or want to start one, and often ask what makes our so successful. Here’s what I believe makes ours work.
It’s a Neighborhood Thing
Having a neighborhood book club is a benefit for so many reasons. The first, as is with many book clubs, is that all of the houses are in walking distance (while not everyone lives on my specific street, we all live within a block or two of each other.) Our book club does enjoy a glass of wine or two, so having everyone in walking distance is extra convenient. It also makes it so much easier to commit– during a cold January night, you might not want to have to warm up your car and drive across town to a book club, but if it’s two houses down the street, you’ll go. Most importantly, it helps foster a great sense of community in our neighborhood. Many of the neighbors that are in our book club are brand new– they’ve just moved into the neighborhood in the last year or so. It gives them a chance to meet people and also gives everyone an opportunity to connect with some new faces.
Didn’t read the book? We still encourage people to attend. We have a lot of busy people in our group and we don’t ever want them to miss out on everything that comes with our book club. We discuss the book, of course, but we also discuss neighborhood goings-on and stuff in the news and stuff in our lives and we wouldn’t want anyone to have to feel obligated to read the book. Book discussions are great but it’s not all we’re about.
We don’t do fancy dinners. We keep it casual with the food. Whoever hosts serves a few apps, a few desserts, and we’re good to go. Our meetings start at 7:30, so most people have had dinner by then anyway.
I have enjoyed so many books that I would have never chosen myself because of book club. And I think a lot of that comes from our members literally coming from all walks of life. We have all ages, from newlywed to elderly, and everything in between. Not only is it interesting to hear the different perspectives on the book, but it also is interesting to just read a book that is something you never would have picked up.
Another question that comes up is how we logistically handle book club, so here is how we run it:
- We typically meet every six weeks or so, but we’re flexible. We base it on the length of the book, if it’s a busy time of year (summer and holidays, etc.)
- There is no set schedule for hosting. When we have a meeting, we decide on when the next meeting will be and who is offering to host.
- The host picks the book. We have no restrictions on books– they can pick anything.
Are you in a book club? What works? What doesn’t? How is it run?