15 Ways to Freshen Up Your Book Club

Do you feel like your book club has gone a bit stale? Are your members starting to drop like flies? Are you wondering why your once fun book club has turned into a chore? Here are 15 ways to freshen up your book club.

1. Match food and drink to the book you are discussing

Nothing goes better with a book discussion than nibbles and something great to drink and what better way to brighten your book club then by adding a food theme. For example, if your book club was reading a novel set in a quaint English village, you could discuss the book over cups of tea and scones with jam and cream at a café or someone’s home.

2. Read the book and then see the movie

Read a book that is just being released as a movie and then see the movie together, followed by book club. Nothing sparks a debate like a discussion about a book verses the movie adaption. It can create so many things to talk about such as the book version of a character verses the movie version–did they get the casting right? What bits of the book were done really well onscreen and what changes were made that were questionable? With so many movies these days being based on books, you can never run out of material. If you want to save some money you can always review an older book and watch the DVD instead of forking out for a cinema ticket.

3. If you were casting the movie …

Add some fun to your book club meeting by discussing who you would cast in a movie adaption of a book and why. You could even come to the meeting dressed as your favourite character!

4. Do some further reading

Whoever suggested the book might like to do some research about the author and bring this information to the next meeting. Discuss how what you know about the author’s life may have influenced their writing. Find some author interviews online or look and see if the publisher has some ‘Further reading’ material available on their website. Sometimes they may also have Q and A’s. Discuss how this extra information adds or detracts from your understanding of the book.

5. Alternative endings

Have you ever read a book and the ending is not what you hoped for? Then why not debate alternative endings to a novel? You can do this even if you thought the author created the perfect ending.

6. Mix it up!

Is your book club always reading the same kind of books? Why not freshen up your conversation by reading outside your comfort zone? If your book club usually reads fiction, try a non-fiction read on a thought-provoking topic or a biography about a controversial public figure. Different books will lead to different discussions.

7. Guilty pleasures

Sometimes book clubs can be very earnest places where everyone chooses literary reads. Why not have a go reading a “guilty pleasure” book? Whether that’s a romance book, the latest blockbuster or a YA novel–whatever your group deems as a “guilty pleasure.” Then you can base your meeting on the discussion of a genre as a whole using the book as an example.

8. Meet the author

Consider choosing a book by an author in your local area. See if you can get in touch with them via social media or their publisher and arrange for them to come to your meeting and give an author talk. Many authors starting out are happy to do this. Alternatively, for an author with a bigger profile, read their book and then go along to an event where they are talking. This might be a Writers’ Festival, a talk at your local library, or a literary lunch.

Clean out your bookshelves and organise a book swap at your next book club meeting

9. Organise a book swap

Use your meeting as a book swap. Bring along a couple of books you have read or no longer want and pass them on to other members (that’s if you’re a person who lends your books!). It’s also a great way to clear some room on your book shelves.

10. Show and tell

Bring along your favourite book and have a quick show and tell at the start of the meeting explaining why you love this book so much. Or you can bring in the book from your collection that holds the most sentimental value and share this with the group.

11. Location, location, location

Mix up your meetings by getting together in different locations. Try an outdoor picnic, a trip to the beach, a book club meeting combined with a high tea, a dinner meeting or a weekend brunch.

12. Bring a plus one

Hold a meeting where you bring a family member, friend, or your partner along. New people can help to freshen up the conversation—and who knows, they might become regular members. This is an especially good idea if you are in an all-female book club and decide to invite some of the men in your life.

13. Banned books

Ever since there have been books, there have been authorities banning them. Most books don’t remain banned forever. Catcher in the Rye, American Psycho, Beloved and even Harry Potter were all banned in certain places at one point in their literary life. Why not read a classic banned book and debate whether it’s still as controversial in current times? Just Google “banned books” to find a list.

14. Literary quizzes

There’s a bunch of literary based games and ice breakers on the internet that you can use to kick off your meetings. From ‘Which five authors or literary characters would you invite to a dinner party and why?’ to ‘Guess the novel by the line’ quizzes. Again, just Google to find.

15. Leave it to fate

Why not leave it to fate to choose your next book club read. Simply write down 10 different genres from thriller to erotica, Young Adult to Scandi crime on 10 pieces of paper, fold them and put them in a bag. The genre you draw out is the next one you read. You can do this with 10 book titles as well. Who knows, you might discover your next favourite read.

If you’re not in a book club but would like to start one, see How to Start a Book Club in 8 Easy Steps.