Pictured here: A fabulous book club from Reading, PA. I had the distinct honor recently to be invited to this group’s FIRST ever Book Club. (They chose my latest novel, THE TRUTH ABOUT THEA! #swoon. They instituted a strictly casual dress code (PJs welcome!) I have never been so comfortable at a Book Club. Definitely a hack to consider for ALL you Book Clubbers. (To have your Book Club featured here, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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).
This week I asked: “How do you manage the Book Clubbers who talk A LOT with the Book Clubbers who don’t?” My Book Club friends and I came up with four fabulous hacks – but I’d love to hear yours!
- Penny for your thoughts.
This fabulous hack comes comes from Lisa Munley of TLC Book Tours out of Cypress, California, who told me that at a recent Book Club her hostess handed out one penny to each member. “Then she asked us to look at the year on the penny and tell the group something interesting that happened to us during that particular year. Then, for the discussion, when we had something to say, we had to give back the penny. We couldn’t comment again until everyone had used their penny.”
- “Back to the Book!”
Constance from Boston, Massachusetts, has a gentle command for members who go off topic – particularly with respect to two main areas. “Two topics we always try to limit: people’s amazing offsprings’ achievements and our parents’ ailments.” Constance notes that while the book discussion usually goes off without a hitch, members might go a little off topic while waiting for everyone to arrive, and “sometimes a member will dominate what I call the non-book discussion” and when they persist she gently reminds: “Back to the Book!”
- Advocate for the quiet members.
My friend, Barbara from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, notes that sometimes “it is so easy to become intimidated by those who go on and on and on,” and so she looks out for the others by patiently waiting for a lull in the conversation and then saying “I’d really like to hear from some of our quieter members.”
- Pass me the fish!
One of the liveliest Book Clubs I’ve ever attended – in terms of discussion and personalities – had a fun custom: they passed a rubber fish to whomever was speaking and that person had the uninterrupted floor. If it was time to move on, the hostess simply grabbed the fish, passed it on, and commanded: “Listen up! She’s got the fish!”
All right, Book Clubs, let me hear from YOU. You’ve got the fish!