Entertaining: How to Host a Stylish Book Club
A good book and a group of friends – is there a better combination? Follow these easy tips to make your gathering go brilliantly
This can be a group of your friends if you share literary tastes, or you can find other people that are interested in forming a book club in your area through the internet - try a book publisher’s website. You don’t want the group to be too large as you all want to have a voice in the discussions, but you want to have enough different opinions to make it interesting. Try somewhere between four and eight members.
There are many different ways to select which book you should read for a book club. Different ways will work better for different groups, perhaps a democratic vote would work for your friends, or you could each take it in turns to pick your favourite read over the coming sessions. Try to always stay one book ahead so you allow everyone plenty of time for reading before the meeting.
Getting people together on a regular basis is no mean feat. With everyone living their own lives according to their own schedules, it can be tricky to find time to fit in a coffee with a friend, let alone a regular book club. It pays to decide how often you’ll meet, for how long and where. Once you’ve decided on a day of the week or month, make it non-negotiable. You could use online calendars to send reminders nearer the time, and once you all get into the habit of it it’ll be more difficult to break.
The club will be all the more fun if you’ve spent some quality time reading the book, thinking about it in some depth, and are happy to have a good chat about it. A cosy reading nook at home, complete with a comfy chair and a good light, will make this the most pleasing of activities.
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Depending on how large your book club is, try to allow enough space for everyone to sit comfortably. If you have a two-seater sofa, add extra seats by using cushions on the floor, along with armchairs and stools. Gathering around a central coffee table is also very handy when it comes to juggling drinks and books. Another option is to host the club around your dining room table. Sitting together around a table brings a lovely sense of community, and ensures everyone feels part of the proceedings.
Book clubs are a great chance to unwind and relish time with friends. Doing this over a bottle of wine or a pot of tea makes the time spent feel all the more relaxing, and can help to get the conversation flowing. Consider cutting down on any hosting demands by setting up a drinks station where people can help themselves. The station could include simple things such as wine, a jug of water, glasses, a teapot, milk, sugar and mugs. Not only will this free up your time, it will keep the evening feeling relaxed.
Snacks make every occasion more enjoyable, and it’s a nice way to treat your friends. You could all take it in turns to provide the snacks to keep things interesting. It needn’t be a complicated affair, some olives, humous and pitta bread are a failsafe way to keep your book buddies satisfied.
For some extra fun, try theming your nibbles according to the book you’re reading. For a novel set in France, opt for cheese, bread and wine to help you all get into the mindset of the characters.
Sometimes it’s hard to gather people for an evening club, especially if members need to call in babysitters. If a morning suits, then make it a book chat over brunch and invite any children along, too. Serving up fresh orange juice and pastries would be sure to go down a treat with young and old alike.
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Have you hosted a book club? Share you tips for a great gathering in the Comments below.