100 Tips, Tools and Resources to Take Your Book Club to the Next Level

Being in a book club can be a great way to expand your horizons, feel smart, connect with friends and even just get out of your house for a few hours doing something productive. If you’re going to put in the effort to read the book and come up with things to discuss about it, you may as well get the most out of your experience. Here are some suggestions and resources that can help you build a better book club that’s more fun, more intellectually challenging or whatever other aspect you want to emphasize or improve about your group.

Tips

Follow these tips to get your book club off on the right foot.

  1. Choose a focus. If you love sci-fi, romance or Oprah’s selections consider focusing your group on one of these categories so picking new books is easier and everyone in your group will be on the same page.
  2. Find a comfortable and convenient place to meet. Whether you meet at your home or at a local bookstore, make sure you choose a location that is easy for everyone to get to and provides enough space for everyone to chat comfortably.
  3. Come ready with questions and thoughts. Don’t just show up at your book club and expect conversation to flow. It’s easy to get off track or have difficulty finding a place to start. Prepare a few of your ideas or questions ahead of time just in case.
  4. Choose a moderator. It’s up to you whether you rotate group leaders or whether only one person will lead your meetings but make sure you have someone who can guide the meetings so there will be a little structure.
  5. Be consistent. Have your book club meetings at regular dates and times so there won’t be any mystery about when they’re going to take place and members can schedule other events and their reading around them.
  6. Get creative. There are a number of resources to help you choose books that may be off the beaten track or that may help you explore specialty interests.
  7. Keep in touch. Don’t wait until the last minute to get in touch with your group. Send out regular emails keeping everyone up to date on the goings on of the group.
  8. Use other reading groups for inspiration. If you’re looking for some ideas for your group why not find inspiration from other groups? Check out the internet or other local groups to find some new ideas.
  9. Invite guests. Don’t limit your members, invite others who may be interested in a particular book to join your club or those who may be able to provide insight to talk with you at your meetings.
  10. Recruit your friends. It can be a great way to see your friends and read at the same time if you form a book club with your friends.
  11. Find other you share tastes with. Starting or joining a book club with others whose tastes differ greatly from yours can be a recipe for disaster. You may find yourselves fighting over what types of books to read or what to discuss at your meetings. Finding those with similar reading interests from the start can be a big help in getting things to run smoothly.
  12. Make it fun. Book clubs don’t necessarily have to be all work and no fun. Cook dinner, meet in interesting places or anything else you and your group finds fun. Just make sure to keep things interesting and exciting for everyone.

Blogs

These bloggers talk about their own book clubs, suggest good reads and talk about their love of reading.

  1. Book Club Classics!: From guides for discussion to suggestions for reading material, you’ll find a great number of resources on this blog.
  2. Book Club Girl: Located in Maplewood, NJ, this blogger shares the books she loves, tips for other book club members and much more.
  3. Mother Daughter Book Club: Thinking of starting a book club to spend more time with your mother or daughter? This blog can provide good books to read together and helpful information on getting started. The author, Cindy Hudson, currently lives in Oregon.
  4. Book Club Queen: Stay up-to-date with the newest hot books to read, find author interviews, and get information about local book clubs from this blog.
  5. The New Yorker Book Bench: If your reading tastes lean towards the literary high-brow then you’ll enjoy following along with this book club blog and using it’s discussion points for your own group.
  6. Book Addiction: For ideas on what to read next, pay this blog a visit, you’ll find numerous book reviews of popular titles. The author once lived in Chicago but now resides in Florida.
  7. Seaside Book Worm Blogger: From choosing what books to read to talking about the details of running a book club, you’ll find plenty of pertinent information here to boost your book club.
  8. A Life in Books: Follow along with this Georgian blogger as she reads her way through the weeks of the year, providing reviews and suggestions as she goes along.
  9. The Book Depository: Here you can follow along with the suggestions of other book clubs, enjoy reviews of books and get links to interesting sites for literature lovers.
  10. She Is Too Fond of Books: Check out this blog for interviews with authors and book reviews, some of which may intrigue to you add the books to your book club reading list. The author blogs from Boston, MA.
  11. Book Divas: This blog and comprehensive site are home to reviews, videos, interviews, suggestions and much more to help you get in-the-know about literature and book clubs.
  12. Books on the Brain: If you’re in need of ideas for reading or just want to read some book reviews, this blog can be a great place to find information about popular titles and decide if they’re worth reading.

Articles

Give these articles a read for suggestions, advice and guidance on building a great book club.

  1. Fought Over Any Good Books Lately?: This article explains why some book clubs just don’t gel and suggests some ways you can help avoid tension in yours.
  2. Build a Better Book Club: If you’re looking for a way to connect with your kids, this family-geared article explains how to create a great book club with your kids and other parents.
  3. How to Lead a Book Club Discussion: Here you’ll find some basic tips on leading the discussion for your book club so you won’t end up sitting in silence.
  4. 6 Tips for Creating Book Club Discussion Questions: Having trouble coming up with questions to ask about your reading? This article can help get you started with some good suggestions and ideas.
  5. Tips to Keep a Book Club Fresh: Don’t let your book club get stale, this article can instruct you on how to keep things interesting for all involved.
  6. Dos and Don’ts of Book Clubs: Here you’ll find some basic pointers on what to do, and not to do, when you’re starting a book club.
  7. How to Run a Reading Group: Learn how to take charge of your book club with some advice from this article.
  8. Book Group How-to’s: Here you’ll find some book club basics to get you started.
  9. Selecting the Right Books for a Book Club: Since no one wants to get stuck reading a dud of a book or something that only one person is really interested in reading this article on how to choose books can be a great way to avoid a boring book club.
  10. How to Build a Successful Book Club: Learn some new ways to get your book club up, running and fun for all involved in this article.
  11. How to Structure a Book Club Dinner Meeting: If you want to make your book club meetings into more than a discussion, this article can help you make dinner and discussion a snap.

Web Resources

These sites are great essential resources for those in book clubs.

  1. Book Clubs Resource.com: From tips on running a book club to reading group guides, this site is home to numerous helpful resources for book clubs.
  2. Generous Books: With this site you can set up automatic reminder emails for your members, discuss books in an online forum and much more.
  3. Good Books Lately: This site is home to tips and tricks, advice, links to helpful sites and a question and answer service that can be very helpful.
  4. Reader’s Circle: If you want to discuss the book you’re reading with others outside your book club, try out this online group. You can also use it as a great resource for ideas about discussion topics.
  5. BookBrowse: Here you’ll find loads of suggestions for reading material as well as book club advice, author interviews, reading guides and more.
  6. Mostly We Eat: These book clubbers do talk about books, but the site is dedicated to the food they cook as well.
  7. LitLovers: On this site you’ll find book club ideas, reviews, discussion aids, recipes and a variety of tools to help you read better and faster.
  8. Bookclub-In-A-Box: If you really are struggling with your book club discussions, try out this site. for a fee you can buy pre-written discussion questions and guides to go along with your reading.
  9. Book Group Expo: Bring your book club to this mega-meeting of book clubs to get inspiration, meet other book lovers and just have a great time.
  10. Book Lust: Nancy Pearl provides reviews and suggestions for reading in her wiki, and visitors can discuss their favorite selections on the site as well.
  11. The Book Club Cookbook: Here you’ll find a collection of great recipes and cookbooks that you can use when making dinner for your book club meetings.
  12. Teen Reads: Get your teen into reading with suggestions and discussion tips from this young adult-geared site.
  13. FictionDB: If you want more information about a book or author, check out this online database.

Book Clubs

If you want to get ideas for your book club or join another online, give these sites a look see.

  1. Borders Book Club: If you’ve got a Borders nearby, this book club may be ideal for you and your friends.
  2. Oprah’s Book Club: Perhaps one of the most popular and well-known book groups, Oprah’s book club can be a good place for many to find new books to read and get to learn a little more about the authors and the story through the show.
  3. Masterpiece Book and Film Club: Enjoy both books and movies through the suggestions provided by this online club.
  4. Al’s Book Club for Kids: Get your kids involved in book clubs as well with this Today Show led group.
  5. A Closer Look: Join this club for monthly selections, discussion guides and interviews with authors.
  6. Barnes and Noble Book Clubs: Here you’ll find great suggestions for new reading as well as an online discussion forum about the book.
  7. Books and Bars: While you may not be able to join this particular book club you can combine your love of reading and bars in your own book club.
  8. Target Bookmarked: Find out what books Target book club members are reading and get information and discussion about it online.
  9. Improve My Mind Book Club: Want your book club to do more than just entertain you? Then this club may be for you, as the suggestions are designed to help you with personal development.
  10. African American Literature Book Club: Focus your book club reading on African-American authors with the suggestions provided by this club.
  11. Unshelved Book Club: This book club takes a unique approach by having the discussion of the book take place in a full-color comic strip.
  12. Online Book Club: Here you can meet other book lovers, discuss selections and read reviews.
  13. The Big Read: Join this government sponsored project that selects classic books to read.

Discussion Guides

If you need a little help getting ideas for your book club discussions check out these helpful sites.

  1. ReadingGroupGuides: This site is a great online community for book clubbers. It also contains over 2,450 guides to help you get the most out of whatever book your group chooses to read.
  2. Vintage Reading Group Guides: Those reading classic novels with their book clubs will appreciate these guides geared towards older titles like those by Faulkner and Nabokov. Of course, some guides for newer titles are offered as well.
  3. Book Movement: Designed just for book club members, this site offers a searchable database of reading guides.
  4. Book Letters: Check out this site for loads of book guides that give background information and questions to ask about the book.
  5. Book Club Discussion Questions: This About.com site provides some discussion questions for best selling books.
  6. General Book Club Questions for Study and Discussion: If you can’t find a place to start, these simple questions can be used to get a conversation started about any book.
  7. Book Club Questions: This article provides some basics for discussion leaders to follow when coming up with discussion questions and topics.
  8. Book Discussion Center: BookSpot offers a range of links to larger reading guide sites as well as to guides for specific books.
  9. Book Muse: Powell’s offers Muse Notes to subscribers that can help spark discussion and give thoughtful commentaries, author bios, leader’s tips, and suggestions for further reading.
  10. Pink Monkey: If you are having trouble understanding a book or need some discussion questions, check out these helpful study guides that focus predominantly on classic novels.
  11. Book Group Corner: While not free, these reader guides from Random House provide questions, author background and more to help your book club get more out of the titles you read.

Recommended Reading

For some great suggestions on what to read next in your book club, these sites can be essential resources.

  1. Bookselling This Week: Stay on top of what’s hot and what all the other book clubs will be reading soon with this bestsellers list.
  2. Reading Woman: If you’re looking for a book that’s outside the beaten path to read with your book group, this site can provide some great ideas.
  3. Amazon.com Book Club Suggestions: Get ideas on what to read next and enjoy great deals on books at the same time with this helpful site.
  4. Reading Group Choices: Here you can find suggestions for books that other book clubs have read and a number of specially tailored recommendations.
  5. 100 Must-Read Books: The Essential Man’s Library: Book clubs aren’t just for the ladies. These suggestions are designed to appeal to male readers looking for great books to read.
  6. 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die: While you won’t have time to get to all of these titles, this list can be a great place to start looking for books that can really inspire, educate and move your book club members.
  7. New York Times Best Seller List: Find out what’s the latest and greatest in the literary and popular fiction world with these listings.
  8. Books to Read.com: Here you’ll find some great tips on what books your book club may want to read.
  9. Books Well Read: Get some advice on what to read next by comparing your taste with others on this site.
  10. 110 Best Books: Create the perfect library and expand your literary knowledge with your book club by checking out these suggestions.
  11. The Modern Library: 100 Best Novels: Get some entertainment while getting cultured at the same time by reading these books with your book club.
  12. 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of the Century: Love non-fiction? These are some great suggestions for books you simply have to read.
  13. Publisher’s Weekly Best Seller List: Find out what’s selling well and what you may want to add to your must-read list.
  14. Book Forum: Here you’ll find out what other book clubs are reading so you can see if there is anything that sparks your interest as well.
  15. 10 Classic Books You Should Have Read in High School: If you haven’t read these books yet, consider adding them to your book club’s reading list.

Publishers

Many publishers offer a wide range of free resources for book club members. Here are a few to check out.

  1. Reading Group Gold: St. Martin’s Press maintains this book club friendly site, that contains a wide variety of suggestions as well as providing readers with guides and author interviews.
  2. Random House Book Club Center: Looking for suggestions in a particular category? This site provides ideas for reading with themes like “banned books” and “coming of age” to help you better choose your books. You’ll also find a great selection of reading guides as well.
  3. Simon & Schuster Book Club Reader: Created just for book clubs, this site from Simon & Schuster gives stellar reading suggestions and provides club members with all the resources they need to have great lively discussions.
  4. Harper Collins Reading Group Resources: This site is home to book suggestions, reading guides, tips for book groups and much more.
  5. Houghlin Mifflin Reading Guides: If your book club needs some help getting a discussion going, check out these free guides. You can sign up to have updates about the book and the information sent to you as well.
  6. Beacon Reading Group Guides: Here you’ll find both fiction and non-fiction titles suggested to read as well as helpful questions and conversation starters.
  7. Macmillan Book Guides: This site is home to numerous book guides that can help assist your book club discussions as well as some great suggested reading in fiction.
  8. Viking Penguin Book Club: With a variety of featured books, accompanying book guides and information about the authors, this site is a great resource for any book club looking for guidance.
  9. Hachette Book Guides: If your book club is reading a book by this publisher, check out their free online book guides to help you get your discussion moving.
  10. Hyperion Books: From scheduled online chats with the author to free discussion questions, this publisher provides a number of great resources for book clubs.
  11. Fulcrum Publishing Book Club: Check out this site to get help choosing books and discussion questions and author interviews to provide conversation starters for your group.
  12. ArcaMax Book Club: For a little reading on your own, sign up for this publisher’s emails that send daily parts of classic books right into your inbox.
  13. Bloomsbury USA: With this site you’ll be able to get a monthly suggested book as well as an accompanying reading guide to go along with it.

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