Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop is home to three monthly book clubs, which are always open to new members. You can visit our book club page (here) to find out what we’re reading and when. Our book clubs are always lively and informal, and we are often asked for ideas and tips for new book clubs. We’re always happy to encourage reading and discussion of books, so we’ve created this handy guide for getting your own book club up and running!
Don’t forget we offer a 10% discount on book club orders, and have a whole area of the shop dedicated to book club ideas and recommendations!
Setting up a book club:
A story is always better if you have someone to share it with. What could be better than sharing it with a group of friends who have read it, too? Book clubs are also great ways to meet new people, or to discover books you may not usually read. These tips and resources help make starting your own book club easy and fun.
First, think about what your intentions are for your book club. Before you start recruiting members, sit down for a few minutes and ask yourself a few questions.
- Why are you starting a book club? What do you hope to get out of it?
- What type of people will make up the club? Are you hoping that all of you will have something in common (beside your love of books), or are you looking to form a diverse group?
- What types of books will your club read? Fiction? Non-fiction?
- Will you stick with a particular genre, such as romance or biographies?
- Will you choose a different theme each month, such as Irish literature, travel books, or classics?
- Do you want to lead the club? If so, how much time can you devote to organizing meetings, refreshments and discussions? If not, will other members be willing to take on these responsibilities?
- What are the minimum and maximum number of members your club can accommodate? (This may be dependent upon where you’re meeting—see below!)
- When will your first meeting take place? How often will your club meet afterward? What about the summer months, and during the winter holidays?
Now that you have a clear vision of what you want for your book club, it will be easier to find others who want the same experience. So it’s time to let people know that you are setting up a book club – you can simply invite friends (perhaps by inviting a small number of people, and asking each to bring another friend along) or you could put up a notice in your local bookshop or library – or ask the staff of a local bookshop like Charlie Byrne’s to send interested readers your way! Once you have members, you need to decide where to meet, and how often.
Here are a few more things to consider before the first meeting:
- Who will lead the book club meetings?Will it be the same person every time, or will it change, depending upon the person who suggested the book?
- Is there a price limit to the books you’ll be reading? (Keep in mind that Charlie Byrne’s offers a 10% discount on book club orders placed through our shop!)
- Who will keep a record of all the books read, when they were discussed, and who suggested them?
- And if you are meeting in person: Where will subsequent meetings be held? In the same location, at the home of that meeting’s leader, or in a community room somewhere else, like a library or bookstore?
- Will refreshments be served? Who will provide them? Will they be connected to the theme of the book being discussed?
Then it’s time to choose the first book! You can ask everyone to bring along two suggestions, and then open it to group discussion; you could take a “formal” vote, or leave it to fate: pop each title into a bag, and select one at random!
Also, literary prizes often have excellent shortlists in addition to the winning title, so you might want to consider choosing a book from the shortlist of the Man Booker Prize, which is announced in October; the Costa Book Award (formerly The Whitbread), announced in January; or the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, announced in June.