Starting a Crime Fiction Book Club
(Courtesy of ReadingGroupGuides.com)
What to do when there's no reading guide available... Click here for a general Crime Fiction Reading Guide.
From small groups that gather in living rooms and libraries to the millions who tune in to find out Oprah's picks each month, book clubs are everywhere. If you'd like to start your own group with other crime fiction book lovers but aren't quite sure how to begin, here are some tips to get the discussions flowing.
The easiest way to start a book club is to contact a few friends who share your love of mysteries and thrillers and suggest you read one together. Pick a book you think you'll all enjoy and set up a date to discuss it. If you’re short on potential members, have each person bring a friend to the next meeting. Soon you'll have a regular group going.
If you can't find friends who are interested in forming a crime fiction book club, try suggesting it to coworkers, neighbors, or parents at your child's school. Another idea is to check with your local library or bookstore to see if they sponsor their own reading groups and if there is one devoted to mysteries and thrillers If not, inquire if they would be interested in hosting one. Together you can create a list of books to discuss, and stores and libraries often provide a meeting space. You could also put up a notice on the bulletin board at your church or gym. Online book clubs are another option, and they often grow out of chat room groups, bulletin board posters, or members of an e-mail mailing list. Anywhere that people meet and talk is a place to consider looking for reading group members.
Attendance can be an issue with some reading groups. You'll want to choose members who are able to commit to reading the books and coming to the meetings. Make sure your members are dedicated to the idea of a book club, and aren't just looking at it as a social opportunity. You'll need to decide ahead of time if members who haven't read the book are still welcome to attend, as they may not have a lot to add to your discussions.
The ideal group size is between 6 and 12 members. While commitment is important, not everyone will be able to make it to every meeting. Fewer than 6, and some days you might not have enough for a good discussion. More than 12, and you risk not allowing everyone to be heard. You'll have to decide how open you want to make your group and what your process for inviting or accepting new members will be.
Once you've gotten your group going, you'll want to lay down any ground rules, discuss how often and where you’ll meet (members’ homes, restaurants, etc), and consider how you'll make your reading selections. You could have the group vote on books, or each member could take a turn making a selection. In addition, books could be determined for a several-month period or done meeting by meeting.
It might be a good idea to appoint a secretary who keeps track of your book lists (both what you've read and what you plan to read), sends out reminders about your meetings, coordinates hosting schedules, and contacts a local bookstore about getting enough copies of the book for your group.
People join reading groups for many reasons: the reading of good books and the discussions they inspire, exposure to new ideas and differing viewpoints, and an opportunity to socialize with other book lovers. Whatever your reasons for starting one or joining one, as long as you remember to keep it fun and keep the focus on books, you're sure to find your reading group a rewarding experience.