Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Book Club Etiquette

Book clubs provide an opportunity to share your love of reading and enhance your understanding of books through sharing your impressions with others. Books clubs can also be a great way to meet people and learn something new. However, book clubs can sometimes get off track, and members can end up talking about everything except the book. Sometimes you will find that one member has dominated the entire discussion while others felt left out. These problems and more can be avoided by establishing a few simple guidelines for book club etiquette. Over the years I have found that the following tips are useful in keeping a book club running smoothly and making sure that all participants feel free to contribute.

Tips for book club etiquette:

  • Read the book before arriving to the meeting. Some groups allow participants who haven’t quite finished to participate, but don’t make this a habit. Make a good faith effort to finish the book every time.
  • Be prepared to discuss the book. You can do this by jotting down a few notes while reading the book. Take note of passages and quotes to discuss. Write down page numbers and any questions you may have.
  • Turn your cell phone off or at the very least set it to vibrate.
  • Be a good listener. Don’t engage in side conversations when someone else is talking.
  • Be open-minded. Instead of complaining about a comment, provide thoughtful criticism.
  • Be courteous and respectful of others even if you don’t agree with someone or if you didn’t enjoy the book.
  • Don’t dominate the group. You may have many ideas about the book that you just can’t wait to share, but try to give everyone a chance by taking turns.
  • Focus on the book. Sometimes discussions get off course. Remember that you are in a book club to talk about the book and keep your input relevant.
  • Before inviting someone new to the group, talk to the group leader or discuss it with the group first.
Attending a book discussion should be an enjoyable experience. Following these tips will help your group stay focused on the book. Keep in mind that some groups are more informal than others; feel free to tailor these guidelines to suit your group. The goal of meeting to discuss a book is to have fun and learn something new. So keep your guidelines simple, and remember the most important tip of all:
“What happens at book club, stays at book club."

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