Are you a bookworm? How to start and run your own 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? Starting your own book club can be fun and interesting. Here are some tips to get you up and running.
Think about what your intentions are for your book club. Before you start looking for prospective members, sit down for a few minutes and ask yourself the following questions.
• Why are you starting a book club and 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 primarily read? Fiction? Non-fiction? One particular genre, such as romance, bestsellers or biographies? Will you rotate through themes each month, like Asian literature, travel books or classics?
• Do you want to lead the club? If so, for how long, and how much time can you devote to organising 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?
• When will your first meeting take place? How often will your club meet afterward? What about the summer holidays and Christmas? 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.
How to host
If you and several friends are already interested in forming a book club, congratulations! Your book club is already well on its way. When prospective members contact you for more information, explain the purpose of the book club and the number of members you’re looking for. Interview them briefly about the types of books they like to read, and why they’re interested in joining a book club. Let them know when and where the first meeting will be held, and ask them to bring two book suggestions to the meeting. (Additional materials, such as reviews of their suggestions, are always helpful, too!)
The Meeting Place
The location of your book club meetings; a restaurant, library, or your living room will influence the number of members in the club and vice versa. If it’s in your home, you might want to keep it to eight or less. Ideally, no one member will have to host every meeting of the club. Club members are often willing, and usually eager to host a meeting of the club at their house. Still, no one should feel obligated to host a meeting in their home. Aside from hosting, there are other ways members can get involved when the club gets together. If you’re hosting in someone’s home, decide if refreshments will be served. Try an appetiser or dessert recipe. If your library has a meeting room available, you may want to open up the club to 12 or more members. Other options for larger book clubs include meeting areas at bookstores, churches, YMCAs, restaurants or hotels.
Your first meeting
Now comes the good part: meeting with your book club! Invite members to the first meeting at least two weeks before the date you’ve selected. Whether you contact them by phone, e-mail or the web, let them know when and where the first meeting will be held. Recommend that everyone has read at least one chapter and has at least one question they’d like the club to discuss. Before everyone arrives, take a look at these ideas to help make sure everything runs smoothly. You and the other members will be deciding on a few important issues:
• Who will lead the book club meetings?
• Will it be the same person every time, or the person who suggested the book?
• Is there a price limit to the books you’ll be reading? Paperbacks only, for instance?
• 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?
Choosing a book to read
So many books, so little time! You asked everyone attending the first book club meeting to bring two book suggestions, so expect and encourage everyone to share their choices. Your group may be able to reach a consensus on the first book everyone will be reading. If, however, you haven’t reached a decision after 30 minutes or so, try one or more of these techniques:
• Take a vote. After everyone has presented their suggestions take a vote on each title. If you have a tie, have another vote.
• Simply take turns. Go alphabetically, by birthdays, or by whatever order you decide. Whoever’s turn it is selects the next book to be read.
• Take a blind vote. This is a little more time consuming, but allows everyone to cast their vote anonymously. Distribute several small slips of paper to everyone at the meeting. Vote on each title under consideration by passing around a large bowl and having everyone put in a slip with “yes” or “no” written on it. The title with the most “yes” votes wins.
• Leave it to providence. Still have those slips of paper and a bowl handy? Use them to write down the title of each book, then put them all in the bowl and have someone pick one (or more).
Starting the conversation
Having discussion questions before your book club meets will help facilitate a good discussion of your book. As you read each novel, jot down page numbers and passages that moved you. That way, you can easily share them with the group later on. Don’t feel you have to talk about each question! If the group doesn’t have a lot to say about a topic or doesn’t seem interested in the question, move on to a question that gets them talking. Or better yet, see if any one in the group has a question they’d like to discuss.
Discussion questions for any book
If you can’t find discussion questions for the book your group is reading, try using these general questions below to get the group talking. Encourage each member to ask his/her own questions, too!
1. The circumstance that sets the book in motion is called the inciting moment. What was the inciting moment of this book?
2. Describe the character development. Who did you identify with? Did your opinions about any of the characters change over the course of the novel?
3. How does the author use language and imagery to bring the characters to life? Did the book’s characters or style in any way remind you of another book?
4. What do you believe is the message the author is trying to convey to the reader? What did you learn from this book? Was it educational in any way?
5. Why do you think the author chose the title? Is there a significant meaning behind it?
6. Is there a part of the novel you didn’t understand? Are you confused by a character’s actions or the outcome of an event?
7. Do you think the setting, both time and location, played a large roll in this novel? Could it have happened anywhere, at anytime? If so, how would the novel have changed?
8. In your opinion, is the book entertaining? Explain why or why not.
9. What is your favourite passage?
10. How did this book touch your life? Can you relate to it on any level?
Growing your Book Club
Once your club is up and running, you can use message boards to create an online component to your club and post meeting reminders. Discuss who’s bringing what snacks or simply encourage each other to read the assigned chapters! If you and several friends are already interested in reading, your book club is well on its way.
If you are looking for new members, you could post signs in your library and local shop, take out an ad in your local newspaper or invite people online. Whether in person or over e-mail, when new members contact you for more information about joining your book club, interview them briefly about their experience with books and why they’re interested in joining your club. Let them know about the current members and where your book club will meet.
(Article source: Oprah)
10 inspirational books for women over 60
Sometimes reading a good book is the best way to get some good insights and perspectives on the emotional, personal, financial and spiritual journey that women are embarking on past the age of 60. It’s fun and enriching to hear the words of authors who are sharing this same experience.
Here is a selection of 10 inspiring books for women over 60:
Smart Women Don’t Retire – They Break Free, by Gail Rentsch.
This book discusses an important career transition that many women over 60 are going to make – the move from full-time work to something new and different, whether that means “retirement” in the traditional sense, or part-time work, or volunteer work, or self-employment and creative pursuits, or some combination of all of the above. This book offers some good ideas and insights on how to make your new life work for you after your career of full-time work has ended.
Yoga for Age 60+, by Meena Vad.
One of the most popular fitness activities for women over 60 is yoga, which exercises the body, focuses the mind and renews the spirit. Yoga for Age 60+, by Meena Vad offers tips and guidance for how to practice yoga safely in your own home.
Tales of Graceful Aging from the Planet Denial, by Nicole Hollander
This book asks, “If sixty is the new fifty, when do I get to be thirty again?” Author Nicole Hollander explores the irony and self-deprecation of getting older, with suggestions on whether to accept senior citizen discounts, navigating female obsessions, and how to make your fifties and sixties your most creative years.
Fifty is the New Fifty, by Suzanne Levine.
Fifty is the New Fifty, by Suzanne Levine offers ten concise, humorous lessons about realities of what life at our age is really all about, and encouragement to women to invent the life that they want for themselves – while avoiding the biggest risks and pitfalls along the way.
Suddenly Sixty, by Judith Viorst.
Judith Viorst has written a book of poems called Suddenly Sixty about the “Shocks of Later Life.” The poems’ titles include “It’s Harder to Be Frisky Over Sixty,” “A Wedding Sonnet for the Next Generation,” and “Being a Grandparent is the Best Revenge.”
Younger Next Year for Women, by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge.
Co-written by Dr. Henry Lodge and his patient, the 73-year-old Chris Crowley, Younger Next Year for Women is book of hopeful advice and a guide to aging without fear. The book offers practical advice on how to avoid 70% of the problems of aging and 50% of the serious illness and injury. Getting older doesn’t have to lead to inevitable decline – it’s possible to stay vital and continue getting lots of pleasure from life.
The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin.
Would you like to be happier? The author of The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin, set out on a yearlong project to deliberately try to be happier, by having more fun, feeling more organised, and taking a methodical approach to being more content. This book shows you how it’s done.
Better Than I Ever Expected – Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty, by Joan Price.
It’s hard to find good information about sex after age 60, but this book makes an effort to start the conversation. The author offers advice and encouragement for how women and men can enjoy their sexuality and have the best sex of their lives, even after age sixty.
A Life After Sixty, by Maria Mezari.
The author of A Life After Sixty is a woman named Maria Mezari who came to America from Greece, struggled to provide for her son as a single mother, and now that she is sixty, has written a book about her journey of fulfilling her dreams and goals.
I Feel Bad About My Neck, by Nora Ephron.
This memoir by Nora Ephron (acclaimed screenwriter of “Sleepless in Seattle,” “You’ve Got Mail” and many other movies) is a humorous and poignant collection of essays about the lessons she learned from life after 60, everything from how to choose the right hairstyle to how to cope with the death of good friends. Sadly, this was one of Nora Ephron’s last published works, as she died in 2012 at the age of 71.
(Article source: Sixty and Me)