Why Every Mom Should Join a Book Club

Moms have a tendency to go out of our way for everyone else and neglect ourselves a little. A recent post described the guilt we feel when buying things for ourselves rather than for our kids. And often, if we are able to get away for a little while, the topic of kids comes up too easily. This is where being part of a book club comes in handy!

Perks of being in a book club

Getting yourself a little something. Most book clubs assign a book on a regular basis. For the club I’m in, we read a different book each month. This means even if I can’t justify buying myself a new pair of shoes or a new top, I know I have to get myself a new book every month. You don’t necessarily have to spend any money. Frequently, book club selections can be found at the library. But still, you are getting something for yourself to enjoy. 

Conversation that doesn’t revolve around your kids. You will know there is one evening a month (or however often your book club meets) you get to be around other adults. And the good news is, even if they are all moms too, you have something other than kids to talk about! Whether you enjoyed the book or not, your group has something to discuss other than diapers, soccer schedules, and bedtimes. And if you’re struggling for conversation, a quick Google will usually provide you with Book Club Discussion Questions.

Exposure to new types of literature. If you are the kind of person who doesn’t remember the last time they finished a book, joining a book club gives you a reason to make time to read more. And if you’re already an avid reader, you’ll find yourself occasionally reading things you might not have typically selected for yourself. If you insist it’s nearly impossible to find the time to sit down and read, look into audio books! Amazon, iTunes, and even libraries have a wider variety of books available to listen to than you might have realized.

How to start/join a book club

Finding a club to join

Several local library branches and bookstores have book clubs that are free to participate. Call or check the website for your local library system to find out when the meetings are.

Check on Facebook or Meetup for book clubs near you. Book Clubs are popping up in unexpected places more and more. For example, Reformation Brewery in Woodstock has a monthly Books & Brews, which a different genre/topic is assigned and discussed each month. There are even online book club discussion groups that don’t even require you to meet in person!

Starting your own book club

Perhaps you want to start your own book club. All you need to get started is a few friends and a book. Once you find others who are interested, there are a few things to decide on as a group. How often do you want to meet? How big do you want the group to get? Will there be a designated day/time or can it be flexible? Where will you meet? Will each member take turns hosting or will you meet in a public location like a restaurant? How will books be chosen?

The club I am in started with five members at the first meeting. I chose a book I had been wanting to read and invited everyone to my home for wine and snacks. I wrote discussion questions on index cards and spread them around the table to be selected randomly throughout the evening. At the end of the evening, another member volunteered to host the following month and selected the next book. After that, a schedule was set. Sometimes we meet in homes, sometimes at restaurants. Once the plan was even to meet at a movie theater to go watch Book Club!

Things to keep in mind if you decide to start your own book club

Limit number of participants. My group quickly grew to nine members, due to people inviting their friends. Nine may not sound like a lot, but if you are hosting in your home it may be hard to provide comfortable seating that allows for easy discussion.

Put some thought into the books that are selected. Yes, part of the point is to read new things, but some books are not going to go over as well or open themselves up to a discussion as well. My personal suggestion is to stay away from biographies, collections of conversations, poetry, parts of a series, and non-fiction in general (unless agreed upon by the group). Also, keep in mind new release books may be expensive to buy and hard to find at libraries. To make things easier, Cobb County libraries even have book club kits available to check out.

Be present and prepared. This is your time away from the kids. Put away your phone, grab a glass of wine, and enjoy the discussion. It helps if someone has a copy of the book with them to refer back to. If you are hosting, have a list of questions or discussion topics prepared. 

Don’t be offended. Not everyone is going to like every book. Don’t take criticism of a book personally, especially if you are the one who chose it. And some people may have seriously disliked a book you adored. That’s OK. This time is for discussing characters and plots or relating the book to personal experiences. Such conversations might even lead you to give a book another chance.