A guest post by Danielle from Bookish Notions
A few months ago I decided to start a teen book club at my local Chapters. I had never been in a book club before but dove in anyhow. Why? Because I love reading teen books and wanted an outlet where I could share my excitement with other YA book lovers. It may have started off pretty rocky—my first meeting consisted of just me with my notes and my sad little box of Timbits—but I stuck with it and word is starting to get around (much to my delight!).
What I have come to realize from my book-clubbing experience is that in its own small way, a book club is a community and I love watching that community take shape. Our simply named “Teen Book Club” is not exclusive so every month there are new faces mixed in with some returning members. It is wonderful to watch people sit down at a meeting as strangers and then walk off talking like friends.
Book clubs are also a great place to learn. Even if you think you know everything about a book, there is going to be someone with a different perspective. Here’s an example:
At last month’s meeting we talked about Lauren Oliver’s Delirium (a book which quickly jumped into my list of favourite reads) and the conversation turned to a discussion of choices. In the novel, Lena is given a list of potential spouses and then matched up based on how she ranked her choices, just as every other member of her society has done. I said that Lena and the other characters are given the illusion of choice when it comes to marriage because the government narrows the list to their ideal matches and then Lena chooses from that small pool.
“But,” said one book-clubber, “how do we know they have any choice at all? What if the government has already decided for you and the rankings are just for show?”
Boom. My mind was blown.
That is why I love being a part of a book club. It’s a new experience every time—and that’s exciting! If you are not currently part of a book club, I highly recommend you seek one out! Can’t find one that appeals to you? Start your own! Pick a genre or age group, grab a couple of friends and just dive in.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Decide on a time for the club to meet and keep it consistent so that it’s easy to remember.
- At the first meeting, come up with some ground rules. Can anyone join or is it exclusive? Will you meet at the same place every month? How will you choose what to read next? etc.
- If you are the host, make sure to have some discussion topics or questions prepared to get the ball rolling. Stumped for ideas? Search online to see if the publisher or other book clubs have created discussion questions, such as this guide for Delirium.
- Snacks are always a good idea. Always.
- Have fun with it!
If you live in the Guelph area and love reading YA, come to my book club! We meet the last Wednesday of every month at the Guelph Chapters. Details here.