Book & Quilting Clubs
Book ClubIs a Reading Group for You?If you find yourself bringing up your current read several times a day or if you have told some friends that they “just have” to read a book when you’re through or if you find yourself relating strongly to characters or themes as you read, then you probably would love a reading group. Reading groups are meet-ups for readers around particular books. The sole purpose of the meeting is to connect with other readers and to dig deep into stories. These conversations illuminate the human condition and push us to examine our lives through the lens of someone else’s story. Part of the fun is even finding out that we understood a part of the book in a completely different way than other members of the group.Great reading groups share developing friendships, beyond the surface conversation, good advice, gained wisdom, and a quest for faith, hope, and love.Can I Join an Existing Reading Group?Sometimes groups will post sign-ups at bookstores and libraries. It will be up to your personality type as to whether or not you’d be comfortable with a group of strangers as opposed to starting your own group with friends or acquaintances. Think about what you want to get out of the group. Do you want to meet new people who like the same kinds of books? Or, do you want to relax with some good friends to discuss your latest read?How Do I Go About Starting a Reading Group?Start with your friends. Ask around and see who might be interested in a Reading Group or Book Club. If you want to broaden the group, put a sign up sheet on your church bulletin board or at your local bookstore library, or at work.How Long are Meetings and How Often Should We Meet?Meetings are typically between one and two hours long. You might have a gathering time before the meeting begins and then refreshments after the discussion. Or, you may want to dive right into the book discussion and have all of the hang-out time afterward. The schedule is up to you and your group.You’ll want to allow enough time between meetings for group members to read the book. Some groups meet once a month and others meet every six weeks or so. Whatever you decide, plan to hand out an information sheet at your first meeting with your meeting dates and titles of each book.Where Should We Hold Our Meetings?If you are comfortable playing hostess, invite the group to your place. Some groups rotate meeting at each member’s house. If you aren’t comfortable opening your home, think about a church meeting room, a bookstore, a library, or a coffee shop.
- A general sense of respect for each group member is extremely important. Remind everyone to be respectful and to share in the conversation.
- Read and consider discussion questions in advance. Note that the first question is often a general question designed to get the discussion going. Feel free to change the order of the listed questions and to create your own questions.
- Create a Facebook or Yahoo Group page to stay in touch between meetings. You might even post a question every week to keep people on target to finish their readings.
- You may want to begin the first session with introductions and a brief get-acquainted time.
- Try to stay on track as best as you can. Remember that you are the facilitator and can move the conversation along or make sure that one person doesn’t dominate the discussion. Here are some suggestions if you get sidetracked: “Let’s get back to the original discussion”; “I see several people have been very quiet, let’s hear from you”; “Let’s move on with the discussion. Would someone else like to comment?” Ask the question "Why?" or "Why do you believe that?" to help continue the discussion and give it greater depth.
- Remind group members that all questions are valid as part of the discussion. Encourage participation by saying that there are no "wrong" answers and that all ideas will be appreciated. Invite group members to share thoughts, personal stories, and ideas as their comfort level allows.
- Remember that, as a leader, you do not have to know all the answers. Some answers may come from group members. Other answers may even require some research. Your job is to keep the discussion moving and to encourage participation.
- Some questions may be more difficult to answer than others. If you ask a question and no one responds, begin the discussion by venturing an answer yourself. Then ask for comments and other answers. Remember that most questions have multiple answers.
- Be sure to close the meeting on a positive note. Have everyone share the one thing that will stick with them from reading that book or one take-away they gained.
- Consider sharing leadership if your group is receptive to it. Each member can pick a book for the group and be the one to lead the discussion.
- You are not expected to be a "perfect" leader. Just do the best you can by focusing on the participants and the lesson. God will help you lead this group.
- Enjoy your time together. Let us know how it goes!
If you just join your first reading group or you have been a member of the same reading group for years, here are some suggestions for you to get the most out of the discussions.
- What you receive from the discussion will be in direct proportion to your involvement. Be an active participant!
- Read the book and review the discussion questions prior to the meeting. You may want to jot down your own questions as you read, along with answers to some of the discussion questions.
- Be supportive and appreciative of your group leader as well as other members of the group. You are on a journey together.
- Have fun and enjoy the experience!