Tips for a Successful Book Club : Toronto Public Library

Tips for a Successful Book Club

Invite the right people

Clubs often dissolve into a glorified coffee klatch because members are too busy to read the books or aren't motivated by in-depth discussion.

Decide logistics upfront

Keep in mind that location - restaurant, church hall, coffeehouse, bookstore, members' homes - and frequency of meetings affect attendance. Appointing a leader can be very helpful in gathering background and guiding discussion - decide if a leader will be appointed or if that role will rotate among members of the group.

Be serious, but remember to have fun

Successful bookclubs mix intellectual and general-interest approaches for a blend of light and serious inquiry.

Select the right books

Books that explore simple human truths, or stories with three- dimensional characters who behave erratically or make hard choices produce the best discussions.

Read to discuss

Make notes as you read. Identify themes, symbolism and structure in the story. Think of stimulating questions to inspire in-depth conversation.

Lead an effective discussion

Ask each member to pose one discussion question and focus on exploring these open-ended questions. Remind members that good books invite various interpretations and that there are no right or wrong answers.

*adapted from