Tips on how to start a book (wine/cake/coffee) club!

Hi everyone

Following on from my Book Club competition, I have been asked by quite a few people,

‘how do I start a book club?’

So here are my top tips!

First and foremost, book clubs are meant to be fun, so remember that hard and fast rule at all times.  And certainly from the entries I’ve received to my competition thus far, it appears that a lot of fun is being had whilst reading books with friends!  One book club who have entered tell me that their husbands have nicknamed their club as the ‘Dine & Wine Club’!


1. Who should I ask to be in my book club?

I would start by asking your family & friends if anyone is interested. You maybe surprised at quickly you can gather together a few like minded people within your own network.  Use a book club as an excuse to meet up with old friends or family members, to stay in touch regularly.

Failing that, you can expand your reach by reaching out to your network on facebook or twitter.  Right now there could be a friend who is thinking about setting up a book club too, but wondering where to start!

And if social media isn’t your thing, why not try a small advert in your local newspaper, or on the noticeboard of your local supermarket, library or bookshop and pretty soon you will gather together a group I promise you.

2. What’s the magic number?

Rule of thumb seems to be about eight to ten people but I’ve heard of clubs that are much smaller and much bigger!

If you are a chatty lot, too many might mean that some people never get a chance to have their say & too few could mean that the book discussion isn’t rounded enough with different viewpoints.

Plus for me, if you have at least 10 in your club, every time you meet there’s likely to be one or two who can’t make it, so if this is the case, you will still have a decent number for the meeting.

3. Where should we meet?

There are lots of places you can meet, the possibilities are endless, but here are a few to get you going! :-

  • Check with your local library, they may have a meeting room you can use for the meetings.
  • Your local pub, any excuse eh?
  • At home – alternate meetings in each members house.  You can set rules yourselves beforehand as to what snacks/nibbles/drinks should be served.
  • The local community centre/parish hall.
  • A hotel or cafe – Coffee and cake with a good book chat, perfect!

How often should we meet?

I would suggest once a month, that gives everyone enough time to read the book chosen and also it’s often enough for you all to bond as a group but not too often that you will get bored!

What shall we read?

You can give everyone in the club a turn each to select a book, so everyone gets their say.  Or you can select the books for the year ahead in advance at your inaugural meeting.  There are lots of book club suggested read lists too from celebrities favourites like Oprah and Richard & Judy that should help you make your mind up.

Why not join some of the great online bookclubs for inspiration – Goodreads, Easons, BordGaisBook club to name but a few.  You could have themes for different months – maybe include an autobiography?

Lastly – sorry can’t help myself – you can read the multi-award winning Beyond Grace’s Rainbow, written by a new Irish author called Carmel Harrington – ahem – I believe it’s a great read – it’s got dozens of 5 star reviews – everyone’s talking about it – ahem – no matter what age you are – you will never look at rainbows in the same way again – just saying…….. have I talked you into it? 😉

Should we have rules?

Rules smules I say!  But maybe a few guidelines would be a good place to start – like for e.g. how often to meet, how to pick books, where to meet etc….. But remember what I said at the beginning – make sure this rule is always adhered to – FUN must be had at all times.


How do we get the discussion going?

A lot of publishers/authors will provide a book discussion sheet for you to use in your book club.  I have prepared one for my book Beyond Grace’s Rainbow and if you would like to receive a copy of same, please fill in the contact form below and I will email to you!

But if not, here are some general questions that you can apply to most books.

  • What did you think about the character ………?
  • What did you think about the storyline?
  • Was the characters believable?
  • Who was your favourite character?
  • Did the book resonate with you emotionally?
  • Would you read more from this author?

I hope these tips have helped, if you do set up a book club, please get in touch and let me know how it’s going!  If you are in Ireland, North or South, don’t forget there is a book club competition running at the moment & two book clubs will win a visit from myself to one of their meetings.  I’ll even be bringing giveaways.  Here are the details again in case you haven’t seen the comp earlier.

Happy reading everyone,

Chat soon,

Carmel x

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