I am part of the CCLFSMOA book club. There I said it, now I will have to kill you because the secret’s out.
But before your demise I will explain a bit because I am sure you are wondering what our rolls-off-the-tongue acronym stands for. Well it represents the ties that bind, we are the ladies of the Crazy Cat Ladies, Future Soccer Moms of America book club. Ironically enough, as our members joined we realized that we fell into one or both categories and so the name suck, unofficially, only in my head, to be honest.
Book clubs, like the human race, can be a fickle fickle thing. The member numbers might ebb and flow, the wrong books might be chosen *cough* Jacqui *cough*, but somehow we survive. Why? Because we inadvertently have a set of rules.
The first rule about book club is:
1. There is no book club. Well it wasn’t meant to be. I love books and I read them, yes, this might be a shock to people who, at most, only read cereal boxes. But in the course of reading books you find one or two you like, you like them so well you tell a friend. This friend, because she is like minded and awesome like yourself, has read it too. Next thing you know you are swilling some wine and swapping what you love and hate about the plots and characters. Easy peasy.
2. Don’t recruit, it makes you look weak and it sets up expectations. Our book club started with two people who loved the same books, I was looking for additional titles for us to read and a third friend suggested The Historian, (excellent book by the way) she said once we were done she wanted to join the conversation.
and now there were 3.
3. If in a public setting you mention your non book club book club and how much fun you are having, people will start to volunteer to join. Success! More schedules to coordinate and more titles to consider. Which is okay. This shows genuine interest in what you are doing resulting in like-minded readers joining your troops.
4. Only set the bare minimum number of rules. Rules kill fun, rule-plagued anything moderates the amount of fun you can have. Scientific fact. It’s a buzz kill no matter how much wine is shared. So we kept ours simple:
a. We rotate who coordinates the meetings – keeps things from becoming a “cheerocracy.”
b. We vote, since each person brings along a unique perspective you don’t want to get stuck with only a select few choosing books. Then, if the book sucks *cough* Jaqcui and the Elegance of a Hedgehog *cough* then you aren’t always held accountable. Eventually the blame fades.
c. A book club is a social club, make sure that the places you suggest to meet are fun, have alcohol or are kid friendly (if some hapless members are toting one around *cough* me *cough*).
d. Always choose the next coordinator, unless you want your next book club meeting to be six months from now. Because that is roughly the amount of time it takes for someone to remember that you’ve all forgotten.
e. Rotate the types of books you read. For a while we were heavy up on the teen lit, it ticked some folks off. Try stepping outside of the box, biography, short stories, thriller, some teen lit, or a classic. That’s how you might discover: Empty Mansions, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, The Light Between Two Oceans or The Shadow of the Wind.
Beyond that, just have fun. The coordinator suggests dates, places to eat/converse, and books for consideration.
Presto! Book club accomplished.
Now forget everything I told you because the first rule of book club…