The Perfect Book Club for People Who Hate Book Clubs

OK, hate is a strong word. But keeping up with a book club can be stressful, which often leads to things falling apart. Here are five book club alternatives for when you don't have time to read a whole book each month but still crave stimulating conversation (and delicious snacks).

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Alternative No. 1: The Book Club for Movie Lovers

Not yet ready to throw in the towel on the 12-books-a-year model? Give the traditional book club format a one-two punch by choosing a novel that will be hitting the big screen that month. Once you've finished the book, have the group meet up for the movie, then compare and contrast the two over dinner. Our pick for next month? The Circle, which stars Emma Watson and Tom Hanks and hits theaters April 28.

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Starter Material: The Circle by Dave Eggers, $10, penguinrandomhouse.com.

Alternative No. 2: The Book Club for Delegators

If you're the kind of person who will never, ever be able to complete your reading list—either because there are just too many good books in the world or because you're a slow reader, or both—it's time to crowdsource. Have every member of the club read a book they've been eyeing, and then as each person finishes, get together to listen to their animated retelling of the story. You'll cover just as much literary ground, just the old-fashioned way: word of mouth.

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Starter Material: Wait Till You See Me Dance by Deb Olin Unferth, $11, graywolfpress.org.

Alternative No. 3: The Book Club for Visualizers

Had a hard time moving on from picture books? Say no more. Go all in on a beautiful art book and meet up with friends for an in-depth discussion on the artist, their influences, and which of their works you like best. A slightly pricier reading list, sure, but in the end you've gained an extremely cultured topic of conversation for parties—and a seriously impressive coffee table.

Starter Material: Enrico Baj: The Artist's Home by Michael Reynolds, $65, rizzoliusa.com.

Alternative No. 4: The Book Club for Poets

Take the poetry approach for a lighter workload. Pick a haiku or a longform poem, and let your interpretations fly. You could even just read them night-of—zero preparation required. Who knows, you might find yourselves so inspired that you end the night writing your own verses.

Starter Material: Sugarblood by Liz Bowen, $15, onmetatron.org.

Alternative No. 5: The Book Club for Trump's America

Constantly questioning the source of the news you're picking up on your feeds? Subscribe to a newspaper or magazine with friends, divvy up the pages, then report back with summaries of your various articles. By (literally) splitting up the workload, you'll have more time and energy to digest what you're reading, while still getting the lowdown on the rest of the world's news from sources you trust.

Starter Material: The New Yorker print subscription, $12 for 12 weeks, subscribe.newyorker.com.

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