Skip to main content

How to Start a Book Club

colorful books open with pages out

Do you love books? Are you always recommending titles to friends? Do you want to meet other literary fanatics? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might want to start a book club. These reading groups decide on a book and meet periodically to discuss progress and what’s happening in the story. Here’s a step-by-step guide for how to start a book club and how to run a book club. Plus, we share book club discussion questions and our favorite book club books. Read on! 

What Is a Book Club?

A book club is a reading group that reads and discusses an agreed-upon book together. After finishing the chosen book, book club members meet to talk about the plot, characters, themes, and opinions. Book clubs are a great way to socialize with friends, get new perspectives, keep your mind sharp, and just have fun.

How to Start a Book Club

Wondering how to start a book club? Here’s exactly what you’ll need to do:

1. Recruit your members. 

Members will affect what you read, when you meet, and how conversation flows. Invite people with a legitimate interest in reading and willingness to commit. Ask neighbors, coworkers, friends, or even people from your local bookstore if they want to join. Ideally, your book club will have six to 16 members, but there are no rules—just gather enthusiastic readers who make good company. 

2. Set your goals.

Once you have a group of readers, host a preliminary meeting to determine how the book club will operate. Decide what you want to achieve, what books and topics you want to explore, how often you’ll meet, how books will be chosen, and where meetings will take place. When all members have a hand in forming the book club, they’re more inclined to participate and stick around. 

3. Pick your first book. 

Next, pick out your club’s first book. The initial selection is important, as it’ll set the tone for the future. Opt for a safe choice, like a popular New York Times Best Seller, or choose a book that gets people thinking and offers a reflection of self or society. Usually relatable, these kinds of stories will lend themselves to an engaging discussion. After members are settled in, branch out to lesser-known titles and take chances. 

Need book club book recommendations? Check out our favorite books about motherhood.

4. Host your first book club meeting. 

After everyone has read the book, it’s time to meet. Meeting every four to six weeks should give people plenty of time to read—and be sure to send a reminder about a week before your meeting. Then, it’s simple: gather at a member’s home, a community center, library, park, coffee shop, or another place with enough space, and chat about the book. Many books come with reading guides and questions to help guide discussion, or you can come up with your own ideas. Invite members to share their thoughts, favorite passages and quotes, what they liked and didn’t like, predictions, and more. 

5. Remember to have fun. 

While books are the base for your book club, the memories will come from time spent together. Keep selections exciting and amp up the gatherings by including refreshments, themes, book signings, or movie adaptation showings. By breaking up the roundtable-style of your standard meeting, things will stay fresh and fun.

group of people meeting for book club

How to Run a Book Club

Figuring out how to run a book club can be daunting. To find out what’s best, experiment with different structures at your meetings. Some groups will have a more casual vibe where each member brings up aspects that grabbed their attention. Others will follow a more structured setup where one member may lead the discussion with questions and observations. Try a few structures and see what works. It’s perfectly OK to let the setup evolve as the wants and needs of the group change—let things happen naturally. 

Book Club Questions 

These general book club discussion questions are great conversation starters: 

  • What did you like most about the book? 
  • What did you like least about the book? 
  • Who was your favorite character, and why? 
  • Did the ending surprise you? 
  • Who would you cast in the movie adaptation? 
  • How would you rate the book?

Summer is just around the corner. Add these five books to your summer reading list.

How to Find a Book Club

If you don’t want to start your own book club, there likely are other ones in your area you can join. Simply search “book club near me” in a search engine or check these places: 

  • Local library
  • Neighborhood groups
  • Community center 
  • Independent bookstore

Best Online Book Club 

There are online book club options available, too. The best online book clubs include: 

Book Club Books 

best book club book list

Looking for the best book club books? Here are some premier page-turners to get your book club going: 

person sitting in chair reading a classic book with a cup of coffee

Need More Book Club Books? Try a Classic! 

Now that you know how to start a book club, it’s time to jump right in and get reading! You can’t go wrong with a classic book for your first pick. Certain books are classic literature books for a reason—they were good reads then and continue to touch hearts now. Here are the best classic books to read ASAP.