Enjoy a Book

Starting a Book Discussion Group

Starting a Book Discussion Group

Book discussion groups can be formed by groups of friends, coworkers, and other acquaintances. All that's required is a love of reading and exchanging ideas, and a willingness to try books selected by the group that one might not normally select on one's own. Two or three people who have an interest can build a book discussion group if each one agrees to invite other friends or acquaintances. Placing an ad in a publication such as a newsletter published by your church, school district, or place of employment would be another means of recruiting fellow readers. 

In general, 8-12 participants make for a good discussion, allowing everyone a chance to express opinions. The size of the meeting space could be a determining factor when considering group size.

Decide whether you will meet in someone's house, take turns hosting, or meet in a public meeting space such as in a library, church or other community facility.

The group will have to determine how often it will meet and for how long. A meeting time of one to one and one-half hours is a good length for a meaningful discussion. Meeting more often than once per month can be challenging both in terms of scheduling and getting the reading done.

Some groups set limitations on what they will read. Fiction or nonfiction? Classic novels or contemporary ones? History, politics or social issues? Romances or mysteries? Award-winning fiction? No limits?

The group will need to come to an agreement about how books are selected. Will each member get to select one in rotation? Will suggestions be tossed into a hat and put to a vote? Will one person make the selections?

How will books be acquired? Will group members be buying the books? A librarian can help you select titles that are owned by the library in sufficient numbers for borrowing by every member in the group.
It is helpful to produce a list of phone numbers and addresses of group members in case a discussion has to be cancelled or some other unforeseen problem presents itself that would require contact prior to a scheduled meeting.