While there are a lot of book clubs around (most public libraries, for instance, have one or more), you may have the wish to start your own. The reason for this could be that there is no right group for the genre you like. A Dutch friend of mine, who loves to read romance, started her own romance book club a couple of years ago because there was no such group in Holland or Belgium.
So after doing your research, you want to start up with your own book club. The first thing you need are members who’ll want to participate. The total number of members is totally up to you and depends on the way you want to do this. If you like to meet members in person, then you’ll need a place where you can meet. This involves a limitation of the number of members. You need to hire a location, or you can do it in your living room (but then the spaces are limited too). You might consider having a virtual club. Then you’ll be able to enlist as many members as you like. This can work very well, as my friend’s book club Chasing Dreams is proof of.
Once you have this group of people together, it’s time to agree on some guidelines. How often will you meet? Which books will you choose?
When the members are recruited and the guidelines agreed on, it’s time to start the actual discussions. If you are serious about having quality discussions, then it is perhaps best to hire a professional leader to moderate your meetings. A professional will help you to decide which books to pick and will ensure a fulfilling, balanced conversation throughout the evening. When you are looking to hire a pro, you can make inquiries at your local library or college in the neighborhood.
If you don’t hire a professional leader, you should lead the discussions yourself. You can read up on this subject, and you can turn to some general questions and topics for discussion.
You should also set up a process for choosing books. You can decide on fiction or non-fiction. That is totally up to you and your fellow members. Normally choosing books will include all members. For instance, each member can make a suggestion and then the whole group can discuss this selection and vote. It is also advisable to choose a couple of books beforehand, so that each member has enough opportunity to read the books mentioned and form his or her idea about them. When deciding which book to choose, it is also best to check out the offers made by booksellers. Sometimes they offer books with a huge reduction if you buy some number of books at the same time.
To end, here are a couple of general questions that you can use:
What is unique about the setting of the book?
What specific themes does the author emphasize?
Do the characters seem real and believable?
Did certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable and why?