Reading book

Book Club key to surviving the winter blues? Top tips for starting one

– Lucy Pearson, Bibliotherapist and Scribd Ambassador

It’s no secret that I have a love affair with reading. Beyond expanding my mind and helping me relax, one of the things I love most about a great read is discussing a text, whether that’s at the Bondi Literary Salon or with friends.  

Clearly I am not alone in this! Book clubs have seen a huge resurgence in the past few years, with everyone from Reese Witherspoon to Kaia Gerber starting their own book clubs. 

Attending a regular book club creates a sense of connection with others through a shared love of reading. Recently I’ve seen a lot of book clubs take up ebook subscriptions as a way to keep reading and maintain a human connection during this challenging time. I personally love Scribd, as it has a huge library of local and international content and shares personalised recommendations with me based on my tastes. 

For those feeling inspired to start your own book club, and want to be sure it lasts beyond the first cheese board –  here are my my top five tips, from my favourite ebook service, to getting a great conversation flowing with discussion points. 

Happy reading! 

  1. A compelling read 

A book club starts with a great read. Mix it up with fiction and non-fiction, local and international authors. Pick your selections from a diverse range of authors to step outside your comfort zone. This will keep your club engaged, and continually challenged. 

Share around the responsibility of selecting a title and think about accessibility, is the novel available as an ebook or audiobook?  

Piggy back on a celebrity book club or check out Scribd’s monthly reads for a great place to start, you could try Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason or Who Gets to Be Smart by Bri Lee. Kick off your club by signing up your members to Scribd’s 30 day free trial.  

  1. Stick to a schedule 

Key to a book club’s success is actually holding the meetings! It can be hard to set a time that suits everyone, and by keeping a regular time in everyone’s calendar,  members have the same notice and will be less likely to cancel. 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed and book club can be the first thing to go when we get busy. If monthly is too frequent, switch to every other month! The only “right” timing is one that you’ll stick to. 

  1. Come with discussion points 

Discussing a text is a great way to start the conversation on a range of topics, helping you expand your mind and challenge your assumptions. 

To help everyone get involved and hear a diverse set of thoughts, coming to each club with a set of engaging questions can help get the ball rolling and conversation flowing, a sense of structure can ensure everyone feels welcome to talk about their ideas. 

If you want to step up your discussions further, you can even appoint a devil’s advocate each meeting to avoid groupthink! 

  1. Think about the venue 

Your book club should be a space where everyone feels comfortable to explore new ideas, this might be a rotating home roster, or at a library, bar or cafe!. It could be the same space every time, or you could theme it to each novel. 

You can expand your network by offering a virtual meeting space, a hybrid book club can help keep your meetings regular giving people more options to join. 

  1. Extend the invite! 

Book clubs are a great way to get to know people. Will your book club be a closed circle, or is it an opportunity to network in your city?

Don’t be afraid to mix it up,  having a new face each session can help inject new life into discussions. 

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