Let’s talk about books

Travelling is the perfect time to catch up on some reading, but when you’re making space for books in your luggage its good to know the choices you’ve made are good ones.
20130519-115632I’ve found a great way to do that is to be a member of a book club. And if you can’t find one to join, do what I did and start your own! Mine has been running for over 3 years now and I think the key to success is keeping it simple. Here’s a few thoughts on how to do that:

  • Meet on a fixed day. If you go for say the first Wednesday of every month, then you don’t have to remember dates or engage in regular diary juggling to find dates everyone can do.
  • Pick a neutral location. Meeting in a pub or cafe means there’s no pressure or work involved in hosting it in members’ homes. Best to ask the pub landlord or cafe owner first, but they’re unlikely to say no unless you pick their busiest night, which wouldn’t exactly be ideal for chatting about books anyway!
  • Keep it informal. We’ve tried using book group questions that you can find online, but I think the best discussions come from just asking what everyone thinks of the book and then letting the conversation flow.
  • Choose your reading list collectively. About every 6 months we all bring reviews of recent books or ideas of older ones we fancy reading. We chuck them all on the table and collectively decide which to put on the list.
  • Keep the books fairly short. Meeting monthly keeps the momentum going really well and means if you miss one it’s not too long until the next. But it can be challenging to fit in a lengthy read, so we aim for around 300-350 pages.
  • Mix it up. The newest bestseller or Booker Prize winner is always tempting but there are stacks of books that have been around for a while that are well worth dipping into. A book club is a great way to make sure you don’t always default to the same types of books and authors.
  • And finally, respect everyone’s views. They might not coincide with yours but hearing how differently people can read a book is half the fun!

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