How To Start A Book Club

Table setting with a fruit platter, breakfast burritos, nautical table decor and the book "A Woman In Cabin 10"

I’m excited for today’s post because it’s about something that I absolutely love – Book Club! Starting a book club was something that I thought about doing for a while. It’s no secret that I love to read, and my friends read similar books.  We always talk about a really good book we are reading, or we borrow each other’s books for our next read. Last summer I finally decided to start a book club, and now I wish I would have started one a lot sooner. I look forward to it every single month. It’s a great way to make sure we all get together to catch up, plus there’s always so much good food and wine! I wanted to share with you how I started my book club, and I’ve included some tips if you are looking to create your own! 

1. Ask Your Friends And Family To Join
I asked my closest friends if they would be interested in starting a book club. Also, I opened it up to them to ask anyone else they wanted to invite as well. Tip: I would suggest limiting your book club to 10 people. We have 5 in ours. It’s nice because we can all fit around the dining room table or on the couch and chairs in the living room, so it’s comfortable. Also, I feel we are all involved in the conversation. With over 10 people I feel there would be too many side conversations.

2. Choose A Book To Read

This was a little tricky for us in the beginning, but I think we’ve narrowed down how to do it now! At first I asked each person to suggest a book, and then we would all vote on one of the books to read. This got a little hard because sometimes there would be too little or too many book suggestions, and it would be tough to choose. Now, we decided that the person who hosts book club for the month will choose our book to read for the next month. So much easier! This way ensures each person gets to choose a book they want to read, and everyone knows when it’s their turn to choose a book so their’s no confusion.

3. Choose A Location
You will want to host book club at a place where everyone can fit comfortably. Usually it’s at someone’s house, but you do not have to limit it to that. Since I started book club, I decided to host the first month. So far we’ve hosted book club at each of our houses. It’s nice to take turns hosting, so one person feels they don’t have to host every month. Tip: You can also host book club at a restaurant, cafe, book store, etc. Try different locations for a new and fun atmosphere! 

4. Set A Date And Time
As far as a date and time, we decided the person hosting for the month will let us know a couple of dates and times that works best for them, and then we will all respond with our availability. We’ve held our book clubs after work during the week and even on a weekend. Choose what’s best for your group. Times vary depending on the day we choose, but we’ve held it in the evening and mid-morning. Tip: We’ve been meaning to do this, but I think setting an exact date (ex. first Saturday every month) will be a lot easier. Sometimes it gets to the end of the month, and we are just starting to plan a day to meet. It’s hard to all have availability late notice since we’ve made other plans or have work meetings since we didn’t know when book club would be. Setting a specific date and sticking to it each month makes it easier for everyone to make other plans. 

5. Decorate/Have A Theme (Optional)
Last month we read The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware, which is based on a cruise ship, and had a nautical theme. My friend, who hosted, put out the cutest decor to get us all in the vibe! Little anchors and cute tealight holders wrapped in twine made it that much more fun and festive. You definitely don’t have to go over-board on this; a centerpiece, table runner or a little take away gift is plenty! Tip: If you are looking to give your guest something you can make these really cute DIY bookmarks for everyone. See the ones I made for my friends here

6. Food & Drinks
If you are hosting book club you do not have to prepare all the food and drinks yourself. Our book club does a pot luck each month. The person hosting makes the main dish, and everyone else will coordinate sides and drinks. Examples of what we’ve done so far include: Stuffed Shells, Salad and Garlic Bread, Pizza and Salad, Soup and Homemade Bread and Breakfast Burritos and Fruit Salad. There’s always dessert and wine too! Tip: You can make food and drinks to coordinate with your theme.

7. Questions/Conversation
For our first book club I researched book club discussion questions online in hopes to break the ice and get the conversation going. I never ended up asking any of the questions, and we still have yet to have a discussion about our books. lol Some people end up finishing the book and some people don’t, so we don’t want to ruin the ending. It’s okay though! Even though we don’t have deep discussions about the book, we all get together and that was one of the main reasons in starting a book club. Tip: I’ve read that some book clubs divide their time during the night. For example, the first hour is social time while eating, and then the second hour they talk about the book. I thought this was a good idea!

8. Other Ideas
Movie night! For book club instead of discussing the the book, choose to watch the movie instead. My book club group will be doing this for The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls soon. I absolutely love this idea! We’ve also discussed instead of reading a book for the month, maybe all getting together to watch a documentary one night. Sometimes we’re all too busy to read a book every single month, so this would be a nice break.

Table setting with nautical decor and the book "A Woman In Cabin 10"
A fruit platter and breakfast burritos on a table with a table runner and nautical table centerpiece
3 Bloody Marys in Mason Jars next to the book "The Woman In Cabin 10"
3 Bloody Mary's with olive and pickle garnish
Table setting with nautical decor, 3 bloody mariys, breakfast burritos and fruit salad for a book club

The book we are reading now is, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng which you may remember is on my winter reading list, here. I would love to hear what books you’ve read lately! Also, let me know if you are in a book club. I would love to hear in the comments below! For more inspiration you can follow me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest.




  1. Emily
    March 7, 2018 / 3:43 pm

    Great idea! In Knoxville, a local restaurant started hosting a women’s book club every Tuesday night. They have menu and drink specials just for the people that join and they recommend books via social media. Your post made me remember this and I’m excited to try it out!

    • Ashley
      March 7, 2018 / 4:15 pm

      That sounds really neat! Let me know how it goes. I’m interested in knowing what other book clubs read and how they operate. I always look for suggestions to bring to mine!

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