How to Start a Book Club That Will Actually Work

Within months of moving to New York City, I joined a book club. It's the most consistent social event I attend, it's the best way to meet new (and interesting) people, and the sole motivator to sit down with a book instead of Netflix at the end of a long day. Here's how you can do it, too!

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Do: Be Brave. Rally a Group of Semi-Strangers

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Don't: Form a book club with all your best friends you see all the time anyway.

Invite a few people you like, and then have them invite a few people they like. Incorporating mutual friends is a surefire guarantee you'll all have something in common, and it'll increase the odds of becoming friends outside the book club. You can, of course, keep it exclusively to your best-friend group—but mixing it up with unlike-minded people will guarantee conversations that challenge your perceptions.

How we did it: Our group started with a few girls who went college together. Then we branched out to include old high school friends, coworkers, even people we'd met on the street. Now I have a whole new group of friends that I otherwise would probably not have known. We keep our club limited to 8 to 12 members.

Do: Make a Facebook Page


Don't: Try to schedule meetings via emails or texts.

Messages will get lost in translation, and no one wants a million text notifications disrupting their day. Keep things organized by creating a Facebook page that everyone can just quickly refer to (this also lets you show off your wit with a clever group name).

How we do it: Logistical updates, book polls, and snack requests (hummus, please) are all kept in one confined and private Facebook group. Any last-minute time changes, and the whole group is immediately notified.

Do: Find a Book Everyone Agrees On


Don't: Only read books you already know about.

Remember, part of the charm of book club is that it pushes you to read books you might not otherwise have picked up: mind-blowing science fiction, enthralling autobiographies, captivating crime novels—the list goes on!!

How we do it: We all come to book club with a few suggestions for next month's book, then based on reviews, word of mouth, and our own persuasive arguments, we land on one that interests everyone. Sometimes we'll switch it up by choosing a book that's currently being made into a movie, and then once it's in theaters we plan an outing to go see it together.

Do: Switch Up the Host Every Month


Don't: Let location—or responsibilities—become static.

Half of the fun of book club is going over to new friends' homes and exploring new neighborhoods! Take turns having everyone over, and if nothing else, view it as motivation every few months to give your house a deep clean.

How we do it: My book club has girls from every borough, so every month I'm taking a train to a new part of town and seeing a new corner of New York City. I also enjoy seeing how people decorate their apartments and getting inspiration for my own.

Do: Make It a Potluck


Don't: Leave everything up to the host.

Making food for 10 people? Daunting. Picking up chips and dip on your way over—not so much.

How we do it: The host announces in the Facebook group what they'll be serving, and everyone else comments with the bodega snack they'll be bringing, so that we don't end up with 15 bags of Stacy's Pita Chips.

Good luck!

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