I started my own Book Club about 7 years ago when I moved to a new town and was desperate to meet people. Since my first novel was published in 2014, I’ve visited (live and via FaceTime) dozens of Book Clubs across the country and I know these three things for sure: First, Book Clubs are where all the good stuff gets discussed. Second, no two Book Clubs are alike. Third, we all want a peek at what everyone else is doing.
Here at Book Club Hacks, I share Secrets and Shortcuts I’ve stolen (with permission, of course!) from my favorite Book Clubs (and those I’ve met through my Tall Poppy Sisters, as well). To have your Book Club featured here, drop me a line at email@example.com.
This week I asked: “What do you do with the Book Club member that never reads the book?”
My Book Club friends and I came up with five great solutions for this problem (if you even consider it one! Many tell me they don’t care who reads the book, as long as you show up. And you bring food.)
1. Let her pick next month’s selection.
Often the member that refuses to finish any of the books just needs a chance to pick her own selection. Let her. Even if that means you’re stuck reading the Fifty Shades Trilogy. Again.
2. Invite the author to crash your book club.
When I get an invite to a new Book Club, the hostess will often pull me aside to tell me the rogue members of their book club “were on their best behavior. Because I told them you would be here!”
3. Put her on the spot.
Rachel MacAulay of Old Bridge, New Jersey, told me her Book Club doesn’t let their non-reader off their hook. She still has to read one of the discussion questions. Out loud.
“She reads the question when it’s her turn and attempts to answer if it’s a part she read.”
4. Don’t sweat it; but don’t hold back.
Many Book Clubs tell me the book is just one part of Book Club. Jenni Gudgeon of Fife, Scotland says: no big deal, but just know “you will hear spoilers.”
5. Serve more wine.
If all else fails…
“We’re pretty casual and just offer them more wine. Before the evening’s over, they are almost certain they DID read the book.” -Barbara Conrey, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
And in what might just be my personal favorite hack: Ginger Dayle from New York says: “In the socializing before we talk about the book, I give her details from an episode of “South Park”…I ply her with extra wine to make sure she says something embarrassing like “I always thought Cartman’s mom was ‘The Kite Runner.’”
So tell me, Book Clubs, do you have any special techniques for dealing with non-readers?
Generally it’s not a problem with my book groups, and we ignore the issue when it’s a one off. We go ahead and discuss the book including spoilers.
I’ve heard from lots of book clubs that they’re ok with the non-reader as long as spoilers CAN still be discussed!
I like suggestion #5. After a few glasses of wine, who cares?
Seriously! I want to try this!