Have you been sending book recommendations to friends? Are there books that you can't wait to talk about? Or do you want some social time to relax and think about something entirely separate from regular life? That’s what a book club is for! Whether virtual or in-person, book clubs now are continuing to do what book clubs do—give people a reason to come together to read and discuss, question, and enjoy books in ways that are largely the same as always, even if it’s over Zoom.
So, the first thing to think about when starting a book club is WHY. Why do you want to start a book club, and what do you want to get out of it? Is this book club meant to be educational or social? Do you want to build community or provide programs for your members? Maybe you want to start a book club to meet new friends, attract new members, or explore new books you haven’t read before. Of course a book club can--and probably should(!)--be a mix of all these elements. Knowing your goal for the book group will help you make decisions that go along with setting one up.
You can find a complete guide to starting a book club on Jewish Book Council’s website, but the most basic questions to answer are:
Here are a few tips and words of advice:
And, most importantly, find excellent books to read through the Jewish Book Council (JBC)! There are monthly book club picks, individual book guides that you can download for free, annual reading selection guides, a searchable database of thousands of books, including books with discussion questions or books around a particular theme. You can also check out authors’ recommended reading lists on PB Daily or JBC’s own reading lists.
Wishing you much success and great reading!
Miri is the Associate Director of the Jewish Book Council. She works to develop resources to serve book club readers better.